by Chris Tobin
Piano man Adrian Mann had a big surprise last week.
The former Timaru resident, now living and operating a piano business in Dunedin, sent off an email to rock legend Queen’s Brian May, inviting him to pop along to check out his giant-sized 6m long piano, the world’s longest.
Not expecting a reply, Mr Mann was shocked when the Queen guitarist emailed back.
“I was stunned, the email came through early on the morning. He said he wanted a photo which I sent him.”
May replied: “Wow. Amazing! Bri.”
Interest must have been piqued within the ranks of Queen and their entourage because late that day Queen keyboardist Spike Edney walked into Mr Mann’s showroom/workshop in central Dunedin.
“Initially he wanted to know how the piano worked and how it got it to happen. He played for 10 minutes and then I played. He enjoyed the sound. We took a video as well.”
Just before Queen featured at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, Sir Elton John was in town playing the stadium. Mr Mann invited Sir Elton to call by during his previous visit to Dunedin but not this time.
However, Sir Elton’s keyboardist Lindsay Vannoy dropped by and tinkled the ivories on the piano behemoth.
“We had a great time playing Elton John songs,” Mr Mann said.
He built the giant-sized piano, named the Alexander piano, when a pupil at Timaru Boys’ High School.