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‘He wished there were more pianos to play’: Family, friends remember Ryan Arcand
Published Saturday, March 10, 2018 5:54PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, March 10, 2018 6:57PM MST
When a video of him playing a piano in Edmonton’s Churchill Square was recorded and posted online four years ago, Ryan Arcand became something of a viral sensation. Days after he passed away, family and friends gathered to remember the so-called “piano man.”
“He had dreams and aspirations to be known for his music but he didn’t like all the attention that came with it,” Blake, Arcand’s brother, told CTV News – saying his brother was self-taught, and he always had a keyboard throughout his life.
“He liked it, he wished there were more pianos to play.”
Back in 2014, Roslyn Polard said she found Ryan Arcand sitting before a battered piano near City Hall. She said she was struck by the beautiful music he was playing and recorded the video, which has now been viewed on YouTube millions of times.
At the time, Arcand had been living on the streets, struggling with addiction and mental illness.
“I was excited for him,” Blake said. “I was happy for him that he got the recognition that he got, that he deserved.”
The funeral, on the Alexander First Nation reserve, came days after Boyle Street Community Services announced Arcand’s passing in a post on Facebook.
Jared Tkachuk said the 46 year old died in a supportive housing complex where he had been living for a few months.
Family members describe Arcand as generous: “He liked to help people,” Uncle Lyle Pahtayken said.
Pahtayken said he didn’t accept help with his struggles.
“It is difficult for the family here, but it was a choice he made, but everyone has to accept that, even myself, even though everybody cares.”
At Saturday’s funeral, Arcand was honoured with a song performed by his brother.
“Honouring him with music, like the way he would’ve liked to be honoured.”
With files from The Canada Press and CTV Edmonton’s Angela Jung