'He’s an inspiration:' Blind pianist brings music to Edmonton hospital
For years, Justin Whaling has been visiting an Edmonton hospital four times a week to play the piano for patients and visitors.
But what you’d never know from his spirited performances is that he can’t see.
“Totally blind,” Whaling told CTV News, “since birth.”
Despite that, he says that he discovered the piano at only three years old, learning songs entirely by ear.
Encouraged by his grandmother and a special piano teacher, he’s kept at it and built up his repertoire over the years.
“I know over 200 songs,” he told CTV News.
Both of his early supporters have since passed away, but the gift they helped nurture will stick with him for life and help spread the magic of music to others.
“It’s just wonderful to watch the joy Justin brings to so many people,” hospital volunteer Jim O’Neill said.
Affectionately known as the piano man, Whaling’s weekly visits help make the day a little brighter for anyone passing through.
“He’s an inspiration,” one woman said. “If you’re going through difficult times, like everybody has difficult times, it brings a smile.”
His performances don’t just help hospital visitors – Whaling says they make him feel special too.
“I feel like a star, right here on this piano,” he said, “this beautiful, wonderful piano."