Lafayette Teacher Tickles Ivory For Online Audience

Billy Joel spelled it out for us.

Nothing connotes a night on the town like a piano man. In these times of shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s still a way to achieve that ambience.

Bob Athayede is on Facebook Live providing classic cocktail piano to the masses, here every weekend evening doing what the piano man does.

"So I do it three nights a week," Athayede told KCBS Radio. "My wife requires me to wear a coat and tie and slacks. I try to get away with Casual Sunday when I can wear any shirt I want."

The Contra Costa County resident is a long-time teacher at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette and a veteran of the East Bay music scene. He’s been playing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night since the shelter-in-place orders went into effect.

"You’re gonna hear all kinds of music," Athayede said. "I’m going to play a lot of the great American songbook. I’ll play some Beatles tunes, pop tunes, Billy Joel tunes, whatever. People are tuning into Facebook Live and asking for requests."

Bob Athayede sits at his piano.
Courtesy Bob Athayede

People tuning in to an East Bay piano player doing his thing. In fact, he’s hearing from students all over the world.

"It gets kind of funny," Athayede said. "There are students that I have from 1976, in San Lorenzo, a kid named Tommy wrote me and said ‘Hey Mr. Athayede.’ People ask for tunes so I try to play what I can and learn some others."