Ardmore teen trumpet player surprises elderly couple with porch concert

ARDMORE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- How does a 14-year-old boy put a smile on the face of a couple in their 80s during this time of uncertainty? With music.

"Music is my gift and now more than ever I can use it to bring light, joy, hope, and smiles to people," Aidan Peterson said.

Music has always been a part of Aidan's life since he was very young. He began playing trumpet when he was 5 years old.

The 8th grader at The Shipley School is a member of both the Honors Combo and the Delaware County Youth Orchestra. He also plays with the DeLaSalle String Band Orchestra.

Aidan is a Taps bugler for the military. He also plays cello bedside for patients at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

On top of all that, he's a trumpet major in the Pre-College Division at Julliard.

But with everything currently shut down due to cities trying to curb the coronavirus outbreak, Aidan has been looking for ways to keep on playing.

"Since everything closed and I can't play concerts anymore, I've been trying to find ways to still bring people music," Aidan said.

Family and friends on social media have been challenging the teen to play different songs. He posts his musical responses on his mom's Facebook page.

Here's one for "Under the Sea:"

But on Monday, the teen didn't wait for a challenge. He wanted to play a song for a specific reason - for a specific couple.

Joe Coppolo is 89 years old. His wife Barbara is 85. They live in neighboring Bryn Mawr.

Barbara works at Harcum College along with Aidan's mother.

The families' closeness goes beyond the short commute between their homes.

"They are good friends and very much like grandparents to me," Aidan said.

Like many who are doing their best around the Delaware Valley to help those considered most vulnerable to the virus, Aidan's mom was bringing soup to the Coppolas.

Aidan went along for the short trip, but the 8th grader did not come emptyhanded. He brought with him his trumpet, one of 40 instruments he can play.

"I asked if I could play for them from the porch because I know they love hearing me play and Joe was a trumpet player at one time," Aidan said.

Aidan began playing the song "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" - made popular in the 1920s by The California Ramblers.

Aidan said he is familiar with music from an era way before he was born thanks in part to his time with the DeLaSalle String Band Orchestra.

"They perform a lot at nursing homes," Aidan said.

So how did Joe and Barbara like their private concert?

"They absolutely loved it! They were singing along," Aidan said.

Video shot by his mom shows exactly that. The Coppolos were singing just like the Ramblers from the 20s, with accompaniment by a 14-year-old virtuoso.

Aidan said he does this type of thing all the time - playing to make people happy.

And if Joe and Barbara are any indication, this very talented teenager will be spreading smiles all over the neighborhood in a time when people need it most.

"I want people to know that kindness costs us nothing and that it's really simple to use our gifts to help others," Aidan said.

In an update, since originally posting this story, Aidan asked if we had a song for his social media challenge. Of course, we did. We asked Aidan if he could play the first 20 seconds of the Action News theme.

It took mere minutes for his response to our challenge.


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