Phil Thompson’s piano videos often celebrate nature, and where better to do that than in the midst of a cherry orchard. The pop pianist, whose YouTube channel has eclipsed one million views, has performed Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on a Hill” in an ice castle and Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” in a grassy courtyard surrounded by palm trees.
For his arrangement of a medley of Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons” and John Lennon’s “Imagine,” he decided to shoot in the midst of a cherry orchard, and Googling “cherry blossoms” led him to Traverse City.
“I’d never been here, and it (the cherry industry) is obviously a very big deal,” Thompson said by phone Tuesday, just prior to the commencement of an afternoon and evening of shooting. The shoot took place at the Ken Lardie farm on Old Mission Peninsula, offering views of both East and West Bay.
Thompson, a Twin Cities resident who has played on cruise ships alongside Kenny Loggins and Three Dog Night and opened for Clay Aiken and David Foster, enlisted the help of Stone Hut Studios and Chris Selby of Evola Music. “Chris actually had the idea to use an upright and a grand piano,” Thompson says, with one piano at the bottom of a hill and the other on top. Thompson says after the shoot he’ll be working with Stone Hut Studios to finalize the video (“I want to support local businesses,” he says), which he plans to post on YouTube by early June.