ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Milosz Gasior may struggle to hold a conversation, but this Pinellas County high school student keeps people listening for hours.
Milosz is a a piano virtuoso with autism and he speaks through the music. He is honored to be a part of the Pinellas All County High School Band, an ensemble made up of the best musicians from across the district.
"It's a chance for all the top students in Pinellas County to get together and perform these great pieces that are played by colleges and professional groups around the world," explained Robert Thomas, the 11-12th grade coordinator for All County Band.
The concert band held its first practice on Wednesday and Gasior showed off his piano skills leading Thomas to call him a virtuoso.
"He grasps concepts musical concepts very quickly and is one of the better students I’ve seen in a while with his ability," said Thomas.
Milosz is a piano major at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. He is the first autistic student in the program, and the first autistic member of All County Band.
"Happy," said Milosz when asked how this makes him feel.
Milosz was diagnosed with severe autism when he was two-and-a-half years old. His mother noticed music calmed him down, and started teaching him simple notes on the piano around the age of seven.
"He didn't have the attention span to sit even 15-minutes at the piano, so he would sit for a couple of minutes and we bounce on the ball. He would sit for a couple of minutes and then we would run around the neighborhood," Bozena Gasior said.
She believes the structure and routine of music developed into a passion for her son. Milosz thrives on learning every note to perfection.
"He's quite good at it, and he just enjoys it," said Bozena Gasior. "But I have to tell you, he's a titan of work."
Milosz practiced about six hours a day prepping the advanced piece for All County Band, and now it is his time to shine.
"I am just so happy that he is included. And then he can be a musician like any other musician that sits out there," Bozena Gasior said.
The All County Honor Band concert is Saturday, January 22, at the Mahaffey Theater.
LINK: See Milosz play the piano on his YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCclNKxGYtHjOd4r4Et14A1g/featured.