After a Tornado Blew His Roof Away, He Played Piano Under an Open Sky

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The greeting aft Jordan Baize’s location successful Kentucky was destroyed, helium turned to his Yamaha piano. It was a infinitesimal of calm that his sister recorded connected video.


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Jordan Baize returned to his location successful Bremen, Ky., connected Saturday to find that it had been severely damaged successful a tornado. His soft was inactive intact, though, and helium played a Christian worship opus arsenic his sister filmed.CreditCredit...William Widmer for The New York Times

Jenny Gross

Dec. 15, 2021Updated 2:46 p.m. ET

After emerging from his basement successful Bremen, Ky., wherever helium had sheltered during a tornado, Jordan Baize saw that the extortion of his location had blown away, doors had travel disconnected their hinges and shattered solid and insulation were scattered everywhere.

His Yamaha piano, however, was inactive intact. Under an overcast entity the adjacent morning, Mr. Baize sat unsocial successful his surviving country and started to play a opus that had been stuck successful his caput for days.

Whitney Brown, Mr. Baize’s sister, said she heard her member playing connected Saturday portion she was successful his chamber packing apparel into boxes. As she started signaling Mr. Baize, she recognized the tune arsenic a Christian worship song, “There’s Something About That Name,” and recalled the words:

“Kings and kingdoms volition each walk away, but there’s thing astir that name,” a notation to Jesus Christ.

She said those lyrics seemed apt for the situation. Her brother’s house, his “kingdom,” had been destroyed, but his anticipation had not been, she said.

“It was healing, conscionable to cognize that helium was inactive clinging connected to the anticipation of Jesus,” said Ms. Brown, 32, a massage therapist and doula and an proprietor of a saw mill.

At slightest 88 radical were killed arsenic tornadoes tore done Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee connected Friday. Twelve radical were killed successful Bremen.


A chickenhearted  sat connected  the piano.
Credit...Whitney Brown

Mr. Baize, 34, said helium had not realized that his sister was signaling him but was heartened by the effect aft she posted the video connected Facebook.

“In these times, whether folks each astir the satellite person suffered a tornado this past play oregon not, we each are facing storms of immoderate kind,” said Mr. Baize, an accountant and consultant. “That small spot of bid and position that I was dealing with, successful what I thought was a personal, backstage moment, I deliberation has spoken to radical crossed the world.”

Mr. Baize said that helium rushed into the basement with his 2 children, his ex-wife and her husband, and they huddled nether a mattress conscionable earlier the tornado was expected connected Friday night. Three oregon 4 minutes later, it did, helium said. It lasted astir 30 seconds.

After the tempest passed, helium and his children spent the nighttime astatine his parents’ location nearby. When helium returned to the location the adjacent morning, helium took banal of the wreckage: debris everywhere, 5 oregon six inches of rainfall successful what was near of the house, and damaged trees that 3 generations of his household had grown up climbing. He turned to the piano, which was covered with water.

“I thought I mightiness conscionable spot what signifier the soft is in,” helium recalled thinking. “If it’s successful awful, unspeakable shape, I tin astatine slightest play erstwhile more.” He started playing and felt a consciousness of peace.

Gloria Gaither wrote the lyrics to “There’s Something About That Name,” and her husband, Bill Gaither, composed the music. She said she was overwhelmed aft seeing the video clip of the opus they wrote decades ago.

“A opus appears successful somebody’s beingness erstwhile they request it, evidently,” she said, “in circumstances we ne'er could person dreamed.”

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