AUGUSTA. GA (WJBF) – A leap of faith is what led to an Aiken pianist crossing paths with legendary film actor Charles “Buddy” Rogers in Hollywood.
“And I had uh great training growing up there before I moved to Hollywood to deal with the eccentric people that I met here,” said John Vaughn.
John Vaughn is a local pianist and award-winning composer. Before he left Aiken for the chance of a lifetime, he honed his craft with a local mentor.
“I took lessons from a lady named Eloise Cardwell. And she had been a colleague of Albert Einstein and her husband were his tax consultant and that’s how I think they formed their friendship and they did things on the colorization of music and… she kind of like instilled that in me somehow.”
Music enthusiasts believe music has a healing component to it. Or, at least Vaughn does.
“I’ve had several people in the hospital wake up from comas to my music,” said Vaughn.
That would give anyone a wave of confidence, but a guest at the Wilcox Hotel where he played the piano pushed him to take that confidence and spread his wings.
“Well, I was playing in this lobby right out of high school at the Wilcox where I’m sitting now. And a lady came in and said you need to be playing in Hollywood. I was like okay. And so I literally made a plan and I moved there,” said Vaughn.
Upon his arrival in Hollywood Vaughn began playing at the Beverly Hills Hotel. One day, playing sheet music that he got from home, his playing caught the ear of Charles “Buddy” Rogers.
“He looks down and sees the sheet music and says oh my god that’s me. And I said this lady gave me this sheet music because she said I’m going to need it. And he started to tear up. And he said oh Hollywood needs you. And he was going to be honored that day with a lifetime achievement award. And he says can I play for it. I said of course. He asked me do I have a suit. And I said yeah I have a suit,” said Vaughn.
“It’s a pleasure now to introduce to you the man with a very appropriate nickname Charles “Buddy” Rogers. Right here,” said Jean Hersholt.
Even with his major achievements in Hollywood Vaughn has found his way back home to seranade the ears of his community.