Michael McBride of Washington, D.C., Metro's Art in Transit program, says many who auditioned to perform at station entrances may not make the cut

10:42 PM, Jul 17, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- The Washington musician who calls himself "the unknown pianist" has been tickling the ivories at Metro stations for 25 years now, often without permission.

"Just get locked up a lot," he said.

Now, apparently tired of keeping one eye on his keyboard and the other on the lookout for Metro police, he wants to play by the rules.

So on Tuesday, he waited in line at Metro headquarters for several hours with a few dozen other musicians for the chance to be selected to play at certain Metro station entrances.

Michael McBride is manager of Metro's Art in Transit program. While careful not to criticize any of the people who auditioned, or even acknowledge the wide range in abilities, he did say that many of those who came out will not make the cut.

The musicians selected have to perform for free and are not allowed to sell merchandise or solicit donations on Metro property.

While not exactly thrilled with some of those conditions, many of the musicians say the Metro gig is not about the money, but the experience.  

"Once you start playing, people say, wow, where's that music coming from? And they come over and it's like real personal," said the unknown pianist.

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