Upper Darby music educator goes viral with COVID-19 piano parodies

UPPER DARBY, Pa. -- A musician's role is to entertain and connect people with one another. They see the world through a colorful lens, delivering messages about reality in creative ways. But in a time when every theatre performance has been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, it is easy for some to lose that connection.

That's why local musician Daniel Matarazzo sits behind his piano and sings musical parodies.

It started as a small gag to share with family and friends. Matarazzo reworked Disney's classic Hercules ballad, "Go the Distance," into the perfectly-rhymed buzzword, "social distance." He flipped the script on The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" by suggesting he wants to be "where the people aren't."

And now, with over 4,500,000 views on Facebook, the entire world is singing about a "Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus" to the tune of Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

"If I can inform one person and urge them to stay inside... I'll take it. I'll count it as a win," Matarazzo said.

The Philadelphia-area freelance music director recently concluded a showing of "Footloose" at Upper Darby High School. He was gearing up to set the stage at Cabrini University for "Little Women" before the Coronavirus put the world on pause.

Matarazzo, also a music educator with Upper Darby Summer Stage, is now trading music lessons for life lessons.

His charmingly witty piano pieces are sprinkled with quick historic facts, relatable quarantine humor, and simple instructions on how to keep people safe. He looked to the news for frequently used words such as "mitigation" and "isolation" to pack his lyrics with relevant rhymes.

And such, his one-take videos have crafted quite the persona fit for an internet sensation.

"People are starved for that connection," Matarazzo said, "That human experience that we get when we're all in a room together and we all experience a piece of theatre."

Even being physically distant from one another, Matarazzo has somehow brought the world together. He's received messages from Pakistan, China, Israel, Africa, and especially here at home. He cherishes the notes from healthcare workers who use his performances to take a quick break from the chaos of the hospital room.

Matarazzo hopes to continue producing videos on his Youtube channel and providing that special human experience found in theatre, albeit in a virtual space.

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