- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - When people visit Morton Community Center, sometimes they’ll hear a classical concerto or some Billy Joel coming from the piano in the front hallway.

More often than not, the pianist is David Buck, West Lafayette’s public works director.

Visitors stopped in the hallway on April 3 to listen to him play 2 Part Invention No. 1 by J.S. Bach. Buck’s hands flew over the keys easily, and one onlooker shook her head in wonder.

Buck said he began playing piano in the third grade and took 10 years of formal lessons.

“The thing I thought was fun at first was kind of the math aspect of it and the counting and the code that the music kind of makes with the eighth notes and the quarter notes,” Buck said. “It’s its own language, but it’s all kind of math and counting. I enjoy figuring out that puzzle.”

Buck said his mother, brother and sister also played when he was growing up.

Buck also learned the trumpet and guitar. He played in the pep and marching bands at Benton Central High School, and he continued into college.

“I played (trumpet) in a concert band at Purdue (University) for about three or four semesters,” Buck said.

Buck said he no longer plays the trumpet, and he doesn’t often spend time trying to perfect his technique anymore, out of courtesy to his wife, Shelly Buck.

“When you’re practicing, it gets really hard to listen to somebody play,” he said. “I’ll (practice) when she’s not home, or I won’t focus on playing something 15 times in a row with no issues or whatever.”

He said his wife seems to like the playing.

“She says she does,” he joked.

Musical talent aside, Buck said he’s also an avid golfer, and he loves taking care of his blind miniature dachshund, Bogey. He said Bogey had her eyes removed about a year ago, due to glaucoma.

“Now she can find her way around,” he said. “We can’t move the furniture … she bumps into things. Shelly would like to make her a little doggie helmet somehow.”

Although the piano at Morton center has many keys that stick, Buck said playing during work helps him relieve stress. He has a Yamaha piano at home but one day he’d like to get a small grand piano - specifically a Steinway, one of the best in the world.

“If I win the lottery, I’ll trade the (Yamaha) in,” he said.

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Source: Lafayette Journal Courier, https://on.jconline.com/1DMMHYA

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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