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A young man’s impromptu performance of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ at a Norwood antique shop went viral. Now he’s getting the piano for free

John Thomas Archer (left) poses with Mark Waters (right), owner of ReMARKable Cleanouts in Norwood. Archer went viral for a performance he gave on a piano at the shop Saturday and will take home the instrument as a gift.ReMARKable Cleanouts

A Mattapan man’s impressive performance on a piano at a Norwood antique shop over the weekend went viral, and he will take the instrument home as a gift now that the store’s owner has tracked him down.

John Thomas Archer, a 23-year-old architecture student, was shopping at ReMARKable Cleanouts at Winsmith Mill Market in Norwood on Saturday afternoon when he spotted an old piano inside the antique store.

“It’s against my desk and people are constantly pounding on it, so we put a ‘Do not play’ sign on it,” said Melissa Rediker, who works at the store. “He said he knew how to play it and asked if he could, so I said sure.”


Archer sat down at the piano and started playing “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey — the first song he ever learned on the instrument.

He said he didn’t really notice when customers started to gather around him.

“When I play piano, I tune things out and just focus on what I’m creating,” he said. “It’s my way of releasing thoughts and emotions in a creative way.”

Rediker recorded the performance on her phone and uploaded it to the shop’s Facebook page. She said she wanted to stop and talk to Archer after he was done playing, but the store was so busy she only had time to say thank you as he left.

“The customers loved it,” Rediker said. “A lot of them stopped to watch and were humming along.”

The video quickly went viral, gaining more than 12,000 views on Facebook and over 360,000 views on Twitter as of Wednesday afternoon.

Viewers commented on the posts that they were stunned by the performance, with some even offering to buy Archer the piano if he didn’t already have one.

Rediker and the shop’s owner, Mark Waters, decided to do just that. They sent out calls on social media to help identify this “mystery piano man,” and found out it was Archer with help from WBZ reporter Juli McDonald.


Archer said he first learned about the video around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

“My girlfriend sent me a text that the media was looking for me,” Archer said. “I didn’t know so many people would be affected by watching me play. I am just baffled.”

Archer went back to the shop Wednesday morning to meet Waters, who wasn’t there for Saturday’s performance but saw the video and said he was “stunned” by the young man’s talent. Archer also gave the Internet an encore during the visit; this time playing “All of Me,” by John Legend.

“He has so much talent. It’s nice to see him get the attention that he well deserves,” Waters said.

Archer calls himself an “amateur piano player who is getting better,” and said he has a keyboard but not a piano. He’ll get to take the instrument from ReMARKable Cleanouts home as a gift once the shop can find someone to bring it up to his fourth floor-apartment.

“He’s a good young man and I’m glad he gets to have the piano,” Waters said. “If it brings joy into his life, that brings joy into into my heart.”

Caroline Enos can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.