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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

High school exploits become urban legend for Michigan State's Jon Misch

EAST LANSING — Some stories grow more impressive (or embellished) with each retelling.

Such is the case with Jon Misch’s second-most famous stint on the piano.

While the Michigan State linebacker became a YouTube sensation with his rendition of a Chopin number during the talent show during bowl week in 2007, it’s not the first time he’s wowed people as a concert pianist.

While still in high school at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s — in fact, on the same day he helped lead the Eaglets to a district football title — the Waterford native volunteered to become an emergency fill-in on the piano, and save a wedding scheduled that afternoon for the chapel on the Orchard Lake campus. One of Misch’s teammmates happened across the tearful bride, who explained that her wedding couldn’t start until the pianist she’d hired showed up. There was one easy solution.

“I got a call from one of my captains, and he was like, ‘Hey, Misch. They’re having a wedding here, and the pianist didn’t show up. If you could come and play for them, I bet they’d appreciate it,’ ”

Misch remembered. “So I came over, and was like ‘Hey, I heard your pianist didn’t show up, and I’d like to play for you, if you want.’ ... I’d played for weddings before, so I put together a regular repertoire for a wedding, and they paid me $100.”

That’s where the story has started to become urban legend. Yes, Misch was still in uniform, and hadn’t showered yet — “I was all covered in dirt and everything,” he said. “It was funny.”

But some parts of the story have grown in to tall tale proportions.

“I’ve only told (the story) a few times, but now it’s gotten misconstrued a little bit, because now they’re saying ‘He came in, and he played everything they asked him to, for free. Yadda, yadda, yadda,’ ” Misch said. “I didn’t ask for any money, but they did pay me. Don’t let anybody tell you that I didn’t.”


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