On the banks of the River Kwai in Northern Thailand live a small group of old injured and distressed elephants in a sanctuary called ElephantsWorld. English pianist Paul Barton treats the elephants, many of whom are blind, to classical piano performances, and they listen!
Paul believes music has a powerful effect on these elephants. Elephants are voracious eaters, and it’s nearly impossible to tear them away from their food. Paul remembers an astounding moment with an elephant named Pla-Ra:
“Pla-Ra was behind the piano with a mouthful of barna grass and I started to play Beethoven,” said Paul. “Pla-Ra was chewing, and as soon as I played the first chords, he stopped eating with stalks of Barna grass protruding from each side of his mouth, and that’s the way he stayed until the end of the piece.”
When music interrupts an animal’s meal, you know something amazing is happening. Sometimes the elephants even want to play along!
Back in the States, cows flock to a lone trombone: