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The story of the violinist in the Publix parking lot on Thompson Bridge Road
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Nicolae Giani plays his electric violin Saturday, May 16, 2020, in the parking lot of the Publix on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville. - photo by Kelsey Podo

As Nicolae Giani closes his eyes and plays his electric violin, the tone around him transforms. 

People stop in their tracks to listen as music pours out of the tiny strip of parking lot to the left of Publix on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Others will sit on the plot of grass near Giani to eat food and enjoy his melody on a sunny day. 

“That’s why we’ve got our door open,” Susan Crowe, staff member of The Scrub Closet, said. “We have thoroughly enjoyed it. His music is pleasant, it’s not disrupting anybody.”

Gainesville parking lot violinist plays pop song 'Señorita'

Nicolae Giani plays his violin May 16, 2020, in the parking lot of the Publix on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville.
By: Kelsey Podo

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Debbie Berry, who works at Precision Hair Kutters, said many of her clients have walked up to Giani and given him money. 

“It’s not because they think he’s a beggar, but because they think he’s good,” she said. 

Giani said he has played outside the shopping center in Gainesville for about 10 days. 

Although he appreciates the praise and kind remarks, he said the job is less than ideal. 

Two months ago, Giani was living in California and performed at a restaurant for income.

Once the pandemic hit the state, he said the business closed, and he lost his job.

Since then, Giani has played in different parking lots across the country to support his wife and two kids. His travels brought him to Kennesaw, where he plans to stay with his family for the next couple of weeks.

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Nicolae Giani said he has been performing in a Gainesville parking lot for the past 10 days to support his two kids and wife. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Giani said he chose to play in Gainesville because the store managers along Thompson Bridge Road like him and his music.

Without glancing at sheet music, he guides his bow along the strings in harmony with popular songs played on his speakers. Giani said he has over 15 years of experience with the violin, and has his family to thank.

Before moving to California two years ago, Giani lived in Milan, Italy. He said he comes from a long line of musicians, most of whom prefer the violin. 

“My grandfather, father, sister, uncle — everyone in my family plays,” he said.

While he entertains the public with his music, Giani said he hopes to find a job performing at restaurants, parties or an established venue. 

“I play to make people happy and to support my family,” he said. 

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As Nicolae Giani plays his electric violin May 16, 2020, people around the Publix shopping center on Thompson Bridge Road roll down their car windows to listen. - photo by Kelsey Podo
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