See – and Hear – Why This Man Is Called the 'Homeless Mozart'

David Allen Welsh Plays Piano as 'Homeless Mozart' in Vancouver
David Allen Welsh

12/04/2013 AT 07:30 AM EST

David Allen Welsh says he's been on the streets and in shelters since the time he was 6.

He's 50 now, and the years show in his face and his numb, frostbitten fingers. But when he sits down to play a second-hand piano in a Vancouver thrift shop, all that goes away.

"It's a joy that surpasses all understanding," local resident James Maynard told CNN affiliate KATU.

Maynard sits and listens in Second Hand Solutions, the second-hand shop where Welsh plays.

Welsh has never had a lesson, and doesn't read music. "I don't know how to play music, but I like what I hear in my head," he told KATU.

In this video, Welsh plays a composition called "Aerial Aquatas," which he refers to as "my 'Amazing Grace.' "

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