HOOS LIFE: Terrell Jana: The Piano Man
by Ashton Mann
As a high schooler, while attending nearby Woodberry Forest, junior wide receiver Terrell Jana found himself with a lot of free time after his football season That’s when he hatched an idea. He always loved music so he thought learning to play the piano would be something fun to do.
“I just saw the opportunity,” Jana said. “Nobody in my family plays an instrument, and I thought it was time to learn an instrument.”
Jana taught himself how to play the piano when he was a senior in high school. He took advantage of the resources at Woodberry Forest, teaching himself how to play by watching YouTube videos in the practice modules.
“I went to a pretty nice school, which luckily had resources for me,” Jana said. “It had a lab with pianos and stuff like that. And they had, like UVA does, practice modules. It was something that I would do to get away from football. For about an hour a week I would go in there and take some time to myself.”
While the piano is something that Jana likes to keep to himself, he has found himself performing for his UVA roommates.
“I learn songs that they know, and we just play and sing together for fun,” Jana said.
Sometimes he is joined by junior tailback PK Kier who recently learned some songs on Jana’s keyboard.
“My goal was to learn my parent’s wedding song that my dad sang to my mom on their wedding day,” Jana said. “It is called “Crazy Love” by Brian McKnight,” and it was fun playing for them when I got home.”
In addition to “Crazy Love”, Jana’s favorite songs to play on the piano are “Back at One” by Brian McKnight, “Ordinary People” and “All of Me” by John Legend, and “On Bended Knee” by Boyz II Men.
Family is important to the Vancouver, B.C., native and he is glad that he gets to see his parents often.
“They have an empty nest back home and are able to take the time to come down,” Jana said. “They always come down when they can.”
Jana’s parents, who already saw him play at Pittsburgh, plan on attending several more games this season.
With so many the trips, Jana said he and his family have found a couple of distinct differences between small town Charlottesville and big city Vancouver. In particular, the college town atmosphere of Charlottesville sticks out.
“I think the biggest difference is that Charlottesville is a college town,” Jana said. “The community here and school spirit is not something we had back home. Back home, university sports are not as universally adored.”
The wide receiver remembers when he first came to Charlottesville and saw the V-Sabres logo painted on the streets around Grounds.
“There were not any college towns back home,” Jana said. “My first time coming here, seeing the V-Sabres on the ground. That was cool.”
Jana has emerged on the team as one of the top wide receivers on the other end of quarterback Bryce Perkins’ passes. So far in 2019, he has five catches for 64 yards, including a 23-yard reception.
“I’m excited to just contribute to the team as much as I can and be a leader and help my teammates in all facets of the game: offense, special teams, in the film room, and in the classroom,” Jana said.
Playing the piano for his teammates or supporting his team on the field, Jana is committed to support his teammates in any way that he can.