A son who surprised his father by secretly learning jazz piano for 10 years after laughing when he told him about his ambition at the age of 17 has revealed how his new hobby helped raise his ‘sad and lonely’ grandmother cheer up while locked up.
Olly Ginelli went viral in May when he surprised his father on his 70th birthday with a rendition of his favorite song live on BBC Breakfast.
TV producer and general manager of Newcastle upon Tyne’s WhizzKid Entertainment Malcolm Gerrie had no idea why he was invited to the show until hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty introduced his son, who played the jazz classic Summertime.
Now filmmaker Olly has shared a 10-minute video showing the arduous months of practice he put in leading up to his big show – including a sweet attempt to bring some joy to his isolated grandmother.
In the short documentary, shared with InstagramOlly shared how, unable to rehearse on open mic nights because of the coronavirus lock, he performed virtually for his friends through Zoom.
After a call from his stepsister telling him that their nan had been on the phone in tears as she struggled with loneliness, London-based Olly jumped into his car and drove over to her.
“My husband is a very proud 89 year old Italian lady, I float to Essex where she lives and I call her like it’s old age,” he explained.
While on the phone with her, Olly said to her, “I have a little surprise for you,” and urged her to look out the window.
Olly shared a 10-minute video revealing his arduous months of practice leading up to his big gig – including a sweet attempt to bring some joy to his isolated grandmother
When she saw her grandson, her voice broke and Olly quipped, “She’s already crying, now I have to keep it together!”
Olly then put his keyboard on the lawn and played Summertime for her – while his delighted nan dug into the doorway.
After being praised by the neighbors, Nana told Olly that Summertime is also her favorite song, and she read a letter she wrote that said, “I miss family and friends.”
She added, crying, “That’s what I wrote just before you came. I was really bad. ‘
After a call from his stepsister telling him that their Nana had been on the phone in tears for struggling with loneliness, London-based Olly jumped into his car and drove to see her – which made her very emotional
Olly then put his keyboard on the lawn and played Summertime for her – as his elated nan dug away in the doorway
Then she teased her unshaven grandson and asked, “You’re not getting a big beard, are you?”
The video culminated with Olly’s big BBC Breakfast performance, which was watched by 2.3 million people.
Olly explained to the hosts that thirteen years ago his father “had a short time of faith in him” and said, “Dad, I don’t know if you remember, I was 17 and I told you I planned on jazz piano when I was older and you were with George Fuller and you just laughed.
“You both just laughed at me. You probably forgot the next minute, but as a young 17-year-old it set me up on what’s on live TV right now! ‘
Olly admitted that the conversation “ sat with him, ” so when he was 20 he decided to master it secretly and surprise him for his birthday to prove him wrong.
After being praised by the neighbors, Nana told Olly that Summertime is also her favorite song, and she read a letter she had written, “I miss family and friends.” She added, “That’s what I wrote just before you came. I was really bad. Shown with Olly pre-lockdown
He shared how he learned to play the piano on and off for the next decade, in order to surprise his father one day with his skills.
Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed that he practiced in different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University – all in the full documentary.
“It was a year and then it was three years and then it was five years,” he said. “Come to 2020, I just thought, I have to do this. If I learn one song, my father is 70 this year, I have three months. ‘
When the block was imposed in March, Olly said it removed all distractions and was finally able to focus on completing his “project.”
Asked how he thought his dad would react, Olly said, ‘The fact that it’s going to be live on the BBC, I can’t imagine what his face is going to do.
During a conversation with Olly’s father on BBC Breakfast, hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty present his son, who revealed he had been working on his special day somewhere
“I hope he responds well, I hope he’s impressed. My father has no idea that I spent 10 years on and off the piano because he laughed at me. ‘
Stunned, Malcolm exclaimed, “What a bad father! I used to be a teacher at a school and I’ve worked in music and television all my life, and to laugh at someone’s ambition I think I’m going to jump into the River Tyne! ‘
He added, “Wow, I’m so overwhelmed and so proud of your son, this is the best 70th birthday present anyone can give.”
Olly then took it away with a jazzy rendition of George Gershwin’s Summertime – one of Malcolm’s “all time favorite songs.”
Olly shared how he learned to play the piano for ten years, with the aim of one day surprising his father with his skills
Determined to master jazz piano, Olly began learning to play as early as 2010 – secretly
Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed that he practiced in different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University
His father was overwhelmed and admitted, “It was just the best present, I was really impressed.
“Every little one thrives – I’ve worked with Jools Holland all my life and I think Jools has a bit of competition, son!”
Olly jokingly challenged his father to learn to play the flute for the next 10 years.
When lockdown was imposed in March, Olly said it took away all distractions and meant he could finally focus on finishing his ‘project’ – and he performed on the show (photo)
Olly’s father Malcolm was overwhelmed and admitted: ‘It was simply the best gift, I was really impressed’
Olly’s latest film has already been viewed 3,897 times on Instagram and has received dozens of responses.
A fan wrote, “A great watch – goosebumps and tears. And more importantly, that hairstyle 12 weeks before Dad’s birthday. ‘
“What an absolute hero,” another raged, one of them saying, “Yes mate! Brought a tear to my eye! Awesome. Well done man. ‘
TV producer and director of WhizzKid Entertainment Malcolm Gerrie from Newcastle upon Tyne had no idea why he was invited to the show until Olly revealed his surprise