WILLIAMSVILLE, NY — At 11, Will Deinzer could play the role of Franz Liszt Gnomenreigan, or “Dance of the Gnomes”, on the piano. It’s an incredibly difficult piece that only certain adults can perform, let alone a child.
Now 17 and a senior at Williamsville North High School, Will is still a piano prodigy. So what to do with all that talent? For him, the answer is simple: raise funds for a cause close to someone he loves.
Will’s piano journey began with a keyboard for Christmas in 2012.
“I started to play around with it a bit,” he recalls. “I didn’t have any teaching at the time, so that was just nice of me.”
It soon became apparent that he had a real gift.
“I was able to learn a few little pieces on my own,” he said. “Then once I started taking lessons, I really felt that because I learned pretty quickly.”
Before long, he was mastering pieces that would be impossible for most pianists. Of all ages.
“His fingers can do anything,” said Steven Bianchi, Will’s longtime piano teacher.
Bianchi says if Will’s acting looks and sounds impressive, it really is.
“Only professionals can play these pieces,” Bianchi said. “These are not pieces that amateurs will sit down and practice.”
Will is aware of his talent.
“I try not to compare myself to others,” he said. “Just in a lot of things, I think that’s not a good mindset.”
The pandemic gave Will plenty of time to work on new tracks, but no audience to hear them. As people gathered again, he had an idea.
“I chose to fundraise for the Summit Center because my brother has autism and they helped him a lot when he was little,” he said. “They’ve been doing things like speaking, social skills, a bit of professional coaching lately. And then during COVID they helped him a lot because obviously COVID was very difficult for everyone but especially for him and the way his mind works it was a difficult time but they helped him through it so I wanted to give back, and I thought the best way to do that was a concert.
He made the website for profit. Turns out he’s good with computers too.
“No model, I just built it myself,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. I took an online course.
Will is currently applying to colleges, nearly 20 of them, for computer science. Why computer keys, when he could easily have made a career out of piano keys?
“I considered this for many, many years,” he says. “But I’ve come to realize that I’d rather it be a hobby and something I can enjoy in my spare time, than have my career revolve around it. Hopefully I can teach for a while. my free time and then I can do performances and all that.
Will’s benefit recital will take place on Saturday, October 8 at 2 p.m. at Denton, Cottier and Daniels, a piano store at 460 Dodge Road in Getzville. You can find information and buy tickets on Will’s website: www.willdeinzerfundraiser.com.
The money he raises will help the Summit Center in its mission, providing services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. The nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser is its annual Walk for Autism, but the center has sought to expand its efforts beyond that.
“We really wanted to stretch it throughout the year to raise awareness not just during Autism Awareness Month, but the rest of the year as well,” said Abby Werth, development associate of the Summit Center. “We were so excited that he reached out and we are able to do that with him.”
The Summit Center says it is always looking for passionate people and creative ways to raise funds.