Eight-year-old Dylan Spoering had some time off over summer break and decided he would host a free piano recital on his porch to perform some of the new chords he’d been practicing in lessons. The only difference in this concert and the living room play you put on for your parents is that practically the entire town showed up to hear Dylan rock on the keys.
The fourth-grader, who lives in a residential area of Minneapolis, set up a homemade sign advertising the big event using posters and orange cones. Tommy Rehbein, a local musician, noticed the ad, thought it was adorable and decided to help the kid out by creating a Facebook event to invite more people.
As a result, a couple hundred friends, family members and strangers attended Dylan's recital over the weekend, and it was also livestreamed to 10,000 others worldwide.
Like that, Dylan’s recital became the place to be seen on Saturday afternoon.
“I’d never met the kid, but I figured a few people would show up around the neighborhood,” Rehbein tells Ellen’s Good News. “There were always kids around selling lemonade and doing random stuff. I thought maybe 20 or 30 people would come.”
Little did Rehbein know that a couple of hundred people were interested in attending the show.
The invites started to add up, and local bands also joined the cause, so Rehbein went over to Dylan’s house, introduced himself, and told the boy’s parents their son was about to be a star. Apparently, Dylan puts on shows quite often, so they weren’t too worried.
“I told his parents there might be a bigger crowd than usual,” Rehbein recalls, suggesting he bring over an amp and speakers, as Dylan's keyboard was probably not going to do the trick.
When Saturday rolled around, Dylan dressed in a white button-up shirt and khakis, and played a few tunes from what must have been instructional sheet music, entertaining a crowd perched on his stoop in the rain. They cheered him on with hoots and hollers, and came bearing posters for him to autograph, as if this were Coachella and Dylan was headlining on the main stage.
Afterward, the little boy thanked his audience while holding a rose in his teeth, because he's all kinds of cool now. He then offered fans a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies made by his mom, and some Oreos.
Several local media outlets showed up to cover the event, and news of Dylan’s epic performance spread all the way across the country.
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
“He was really excited,” Rehbein notes. “He is this super, unusually extroverted little kid. He’s always doing things like building a maze in his yard and giving tours, or going to the park and asking people playing sports if he can feel their muscles.”
If you ask Dylan about his national debut, he’ll tell you fame feels good.
“I am already a rock star,” Dylan says. “I like it. I’m on every news station and 10,000 people watched me on the computer!”
It was by far Dylan's biggest show yet, and it all went according to Rehbein's plan to promote a young boy's dream.
“Usually, kids who think outside of the box or who are really creative or not your typical kid -- I think they get told their ideas are silly or other kids might not be nice to them,” Rehbein observes. “I just told him, ‘I’m sure when people invented airplanes, somebody told them their ideas were crazy too.’ I wanted something positive to happen for this kid.”
He adds, “There’s nothing behind it. No ulterior motive. No gimmick, it wasn’t some marketing scheme for Casio to sell pianos. It was just this little kid who made a sign in his yard and people wanted to cheer him on.”
We’ll say we knew Dylan when!