ALAMEDA, Calif. (KTVU) - He’s not even a teenager but 12-year-old Christopher Nguyen is something to hear on the piano.
“I like to play classical music. My favorite composer is Chopin because I understand how he writes music and how he structures it.”
Christopher is a regular volunteer at the assisted living facility known as the Water’s Edge Lodge in Alameda.
Resident Mary Kelly says “we all know him and we all look forward to him playing every single time he arrives.”
He comes here because his mom Maggie Hoang says it’s important to give back. “We used to live in Alameda, “she explains, “we moved to San Leandro but we work around here and its closer and we want him to volunteer to make people happy.”
AEC Living COO Stephen Zimmerman says “he is amazing staff loves it they stop what they are doing to hear him and we just love having him here it’s been a real blessing.”
Christopher started playing at the Lodge five years ago. Resident Adelaide Swartz says “he was just a little kid and we were spellbound by his playing he played without any music played by ear and we were just thrilled to have him.”
Early on his mother says they knew he had a gift. Hoang says “he started when he was 5 years old when he was just playing around with the keyboard we have at home and when we were in the car he just called out music notes. And my husband he knows music, I don’t he went home and he tested him and said he is calling out music notes and he is correct.”
He started taking lessons and his skill was undeniable. At age 7 he started playing at the Lodge.
The reaction was immediate, resident Sarah O’Connell says, “I think he's a genius a musical genius we couldn't believe here is this little boy playing these wonderful things on the piano.”
Michael Smith called him astounding, saying “I first saw him three years ago when he was 9 years old and he walked in here and blew the doors off the Chopin catalogue and I thought whoa what's going on here.”
As for Christopher he says playing in front of an audience makes him happy saying “it just lets me know that people admire me people admire how I play.
His main goal is to become one of the greatest concert pianists of all time. And by the way he also wants to be a doctor.