ACU’s “Piano Man” is back at the keyboard in The Bean after a four-year hiatus. Mike Schuler played began playing in the Bean in 1994 and returned this year after a four year hiatus.
“I love the way I can make people happy through music,” Schuler said.
Schuler came to Abilene from New York City to attend Hardin-Simmons University, where he majored in trumpet and music theory.
“He turned dining into fine dining,” Jeremy Garner (’10) said.
Garner was reminded of a day in The Bean when he walked in wearing a Charlie Brown shirt and Schuler started playing Linus and Lucy, the Charlie Brown theme, and greeted Garner with a ‘Hey Chuck.’
“He gave us all a reason to sit on the right side, he also kept the annoying freshmen who thought they could play piano off of the piano.” Garner said.
Garner said that Schuler gave an ambiance to the college dining experience.
Jenni Williams, student services manager, and Barbara Wilson, campus concierge, agreed that Schuler has improved the morale of students and the environment in The Bean is better because of Schuler.
“The more they see him, the more they recognize him,” Williams said.
The Piano Man can easily be recognized in the suspenders lined with piano keys and a tie adorned with images of pianos on it.
“He got more of a response in casual dress,” Wilson said.
There was no active search to fill the “piano man” position when Schuler contacted chief business services officer, Anthony Williams, to inform him that he was back in town.
Schuler loves taking requests. Napkins line the top of the piano with names of songs written on them that students have requested. Requests vary from VeggieTales to Star Wars. Schuler has over 5,000 songs in his repertoire.
After living in South Padre, Schuler moved back to Abilene to raise his three children in the Abilene Independent School District.
“This is home. This is the best place to raise a family that I know of,” Schuler said.
Schuler can be found playing the baby grand piano, on the west side of The Bean, Monday thru Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. He can also be found playing at the Cypress Street Station and at The Paramount during The Paramount Film Series.