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Sunday 15 September 2019
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Pianist reclaims record

THE magical fingers of Hungarian born, Charles Brunner, has done it once again, this time enduring an amazing 101 hours and seven minutes of excruciating pain and cramps in order to regain a world record, he held three times before.

Brunner once again holds the Guinness World Book of Records, record for the category of the longest piano playing individual marathon. He has now surpassed the current world record which was set at 70 hours and 57 minutes by American Patricia Jones, who defeated Brunner’s previous record.

Brunner made this remarkable achievement at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Port-of-Spain over a period of four days, beginning at 8 am, last week Tuesday and ending just after midday on Saturday.

The rules were a bit different since his last performance, which took place at the Trinidad Hilton, in 2006. At that time, Brunner was allowed 15-minute breaks after every eight hours of play however for this attempt, he was granted five minutes rest after every hour, which could have been taken during any point of the challenge. Brunner’s first, and longest run, saw him play the piano for 21 hours non stop, a personal best and an amazing feat by any standards.

Brunner was also not allowed to repeat a song until four hours of playing had elapsed. Luckily, he was well prepared with a multitude of love ballads that could be played for a complete ten hours without repetition and some without manuscripts. Several prominent members turned out to show their support for Brunner including Hilton’s General Manager, Ali Khan, and former minister of Community development, culture and gender affairs, Joan Yuille-Williams.

Brunner began playing the piano at the age of four under the influence of his father, Gyorgy who was also a pianist. He is also a musical professor, possesses three diplomas in music and held the title of musical director on the Royal Caribbean International Cruise Ship, for the better part of the 21 years.

Although officially Brunner broke the world record on Friday morning, he told Newsday he felt as though he was obligated to go on, despite all the pain and suffering, to ensure that another world record would be secured for Trinidad and Tobago for many years to come.

“There were times when I couldn’t feel my body at all, my hands were badly swollen and cramped up, and I couldn’t feel my body at all. But it was worth it in the end,” Brunner said.

He said he is very proud of this accomplishment, because it was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do in his life. Added to this, he said he believed that he maintained a high quality of performance while he was playing, creating a very relaxing atmosphere in a very difficult situation.

“There were times when pilots and air stewardesses from Canada would make eight to nine trips and they were amazed to see me still playing,” Brunner said, “they absolutely could not believe it. It was a pretty nice and good feeling,” he added.

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