King's Highway Elementary School
Honoree: Ethan Walmark
Type of Artist: Singer/Pianist
Name of School or Center: King’s Highway Elementary School
Bio: When pianist, singer- songwriter, composer and international icon Billy Joel says this about your child’s rendition of his first hit song in 1973, “I think I like his intro to ‘Piano Man’ better than mine… this kid plays with a lot more energy than me. Maybe he could teach me a few things,” you know he’s not special needs, he’s just special.
In April 2012, Ethan became an Internet sensation when a video of him playing and singing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” went viral. The video received over 1.3 million “hits” and his story was told worldwide, which included a live performance on NBC Television’s Today Show. Ethan is also the annual featured performer at the Westchester, New York/Fairfield County, Connecticut Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which draws more than 15,000 attendees.
Music is in Ethan’s soul; it is part of him. Music speaks to him — and through him. Music allows him to transcend the obstacles in his life, and is one of the few things where he doesn’t have to try twice as hard to get half as much. Music is his gift, and it is priceless.
Ethan began to play basic piano tunes before age one, possibly influenced by his parents daily songs while he was in utero. Needing to hear a song three times (maximum) before he can commit the basic melody and harmony to memory, he can play the classics with as much competence and confidence as he does Rock and Roll, Pop, R&B, Techno, Rag-time, and Broadway.
Ethan lives with his parents Michael and Allison, and sister Eliza in Connecticut. He is in first grade at a public Elementary school, where he is the rock-star-in-residence.