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Farnell Middle custodian uses amazing musical talent to comfort colleagues ahead of reopening

Andres Blanco taught himself to play piano, guitar
Andres-Blanco.png
Posted at 5:32 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 07:54:35-04

WESTCHASE, Fla. — Principal Tim Binder couldn't believe his ears.

"I thought one of the teachers had their phone playing," says the head of Farnell Middle School in Tampa's Westchase neighborhood.

As he walked into the school cafeteria and performance space, the principal couldn't believe his eyes, either.

"Oh my god, that's one of my custodians playing the piano!" Binder laughs.

Indeed, Andres Blanco is a beloved custodian at Farnell. But Binder didn't know he could play like THAT.

"He's very good," says Binder.

Just eight years ago, Andres was still living in his Cuban homeland, where he taught himself piano and guitar.

He turns 60 soon, a humble man of few words, but his tremendous music speaks volumes.

"I support them," Andres says about the teachers and staff that often relax by listening to him practice during the day.

To say there are mixed emotions at schools all over the country is an understatement. There's never been a back-to-school quite like this one.

So Binder welcomes Andres's musical gift now more than ever.

"People are now coming to the cafeteria just to hear him," says Binder. "Especially with everything that's going on right now, it's quite a treat."

Andres can't read music. But he's hoping that won't stop him from his musical dream. When school reopens, he wants to jam with the students.

Principal Binder says they're going to make that happen.