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Tom Townsend is a piano player and co-founder of Pianos for People (, a nonprofit that gives away free pianos and lessons to the underserved.


In the fall of 2018, he was shot through the jaw during a botched carjacking attempt.


After multiple reconstructive surgeries, including a bone transplant and skin grafts, he was sent home to recuperate.


Needing to reflect on his experience through some kind of creative act, he began asking musicians to come by and do one song each with him, and visit on the subject of music as a healing force.

With the talent and passion of Director Matthew Boyd Williams, the sessions became a series of videos, and the list of visiting artists grew to include musicians from St. Louis, and as far away as New York, Philadelphia, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Pianos for People teaches those they serve that the piano is more than a piano. Songs are more than sounds. And music is a force that fosters healing, inspiration, and hope.


That philosophy behind Pianos for People has now come full circle, to serve Tom himself.

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