Sheeran, in a surprise appearance at the Tobin Community Center on Saturday, joined the Boston Music Project youth program’s recital to perform songs from his new album ”-” (Subtract), including “The Hills of Aberfeldy” and “Eyes Closed.”
“You guys are fantastic, thanks for letting me play with you, I heard you love ‘Eyes Closed,’” Sheeran told the young musicians in a clip he shared to Instagram.
Sheeran played his guitar and sang at the recital, which the program’s website says is meant to ensure “long-term social and musical success” for the students.
Clips show Sheeran walking onto a stage in front of a much smaller crowd than his massive stadium shows.
The musicians had two days to learn the music and 90 minutes to rehearse before Sheeran’s surprise visit, according to Kiss 108.
The singer chatted with younger fans, signed T-shirts, gave away a guitar, took selfies and invited those in the crowd to his concert at Gillette Stadium.
Boston Music Project executive director Christopher Schroeder told Boston’s NBC affiliate that “you couldn’t tell” Sheeran had a busy schedule. He told Kiss 108 that the performance “makes it real for the kids in a lot of ways.”
“You practice your scales, you practice your music, but, sometimes, kids ask ‘But, why? Why do I have to practice this?’ Just to develop that skill to be able to communicate with another person through your instrument and to develop the skill to be able to read music in a short amount of time,” Schroeder said.
He continued: “It created this beautiful moment where an artist like Ed Sheeran comes to town and, within two days, we were able to put a full concert together featuring him and some local artists like Miranda Rae, as well as some of the incredible teaching artists that we have at Boston Music Project.”