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Pianists brought in to Denver International Airport to help soothe passengers

Danny Showers piano at DIA
Posted at 9:59 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 10:08:15-05

DENVER — Amid the hustle and bustle of passengers coming and going sits Denver International Airport's newest piece of art. Blink and you might miss it, but if you listen, you’ll definitely hear it.

DIA doesn’t sound like it used it. Just last month, the airport changed it’s tune.

“You just hear, like, wheels squeaking and people walking around,” said Grant Dampier. “The buzz of voices in the background.”

Dampier is here to pick up his nana, who’s flying in from Indianapolis. He didn’t know he was also catching a show.

Sitting next to Dampier is Danny Showers. He’s the entertainment for the day. Well, he's playing the entertainment for the day. For the first time since before the Great Hall construction began, you can find a piano. That’s where Showers takes his seat.

“People respond so favorable to playing music, the Christmas music and everything,” Showers said.

For five hours each day for the past 10 days, Showers and other pianists have been playing for some of their largest audiences. Showers estimates approximately 1.4 million travelers will come through the Great Hall during that time. He’s performing for those coming and going.

“We walked in and saw the Christmas decorations, and we’re able to kind of enjoy the atmosphere a little bit more,” Dampier said. “We got a performance we don’t see all the time.”

The music brings a calm to the bustling and chaotic venue. Even with the hundreds of passengers passing by, you can still hear "Jingle Bells" being played.

“Being a traveler myself, I know how numb you can get from hauling the suitcases, looking at the boards, going from point A to point B and really not feeling it,” Showers explained.

His music is like a magnet, drawing people closer to the piano. The travelers, with phones in hand, stop and listen. Despite the masks on their faces, you can still see the smile through their eyes.

“Entertainment to me comes from the heart,” Showers said. “It’s generated through the body, and it comes out on the fingers.”

He’s just here for the holidays, but it’s more than a paycheck for him.

“Every song they applaud, that’s better than any paycheck," Showers said.