Johnny Carson asked the audience if anyone could play the piano – This man raised his hand, and his life changed forever

David Tolley’s life took an unexpected turn when he attended the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on December 19, 1985. When classical pianist Horatio Gutierrez couldn’t perform due to a hand injury, Carson asked if anyone in the audience could play the piano. Tolley, seizing the opportunity, volunteered.

His impromptu performance of “Memories” from the musical Cats captivated the audience and propelled him into the spotlight. Overnight, Tolley received numerous offers to perform at events and even landed roles in films.

Today, Tolley is an associate professor at Delaware State University, but his journey started with that fateful night on Carson’s show. His talent has taken him to work with Steven Spielberg and create original music for Disneyland parks.

Tolley’s story reminds us of the power of seizing unexpected opportunities.

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