The North Museum Piano was designed by Children from the Youth Intervention Center.
The piano’s community building started at Lancaster’s Youth Intervention Center (YIC) where it was often played through out the day. During the sessions we had great discussion and sharing about the power of music in our own lives. The silver writings on the piano are little vignettes of what the kids shared with us and each other. The individual pianos adorning the large piano reflect the transient nature at YIC. We wanted each resident to leave their mark.
Not wanting to risk residents missing any part of the planning process, they were each asked to design their own individual piano. They were collaged together to represent all of the residents and YIC staff who worked on the piano. Splatter painting was the best part for most of the kids. They took great care in adding their colors and creating their masterpiece. The sessions were often loud and fun with lots of paints and markers and colored pencils in use. There was lots of laughter and we always seemed to run out of time.
The kids were incredibly respectful and receptive to this project. Many had seen pianos from previous years and were really excited to be a part of the project. A lot of the kids and staff enjoyed playing the piano during our sessions, and we liked to think about thousands of others in the community also getting to play it all summer long. The group that came up with the word “escape” for the top of the piano said that they wanted people to walk by and be drawn to the piano. There they could escape, through music, from the worries of their day.
Scot Lasher specializes in painting in oil, acrylic and airbrushing. Current works include large portraits in oil on canvas. Scot has been drawing since he was a small child and picked up oil painting about 15 years ago.
Experience with the piano: inspiration for the project came from Claude Monet’s “Les Coquelicots.” “I wanted to do a similar painting to Monet’s with some changes to reflect Faulkner and Lancaster County,” said Lasher. “The colors used were that of Monet’s palette as well only using titanium white, cadium yellow, vermillion, cobalt blue, emerald green, french ultramarine, alizarin crimson and viridian green. The painting of the piano took about 25 hours to complete and is painted in acrylic paint and covered in 2 coats of urethane clear.”
For those of you who have enjoyed the free, Music Friday concerts in Lancaster Square for the past three years, the summer 2012 Music Friday season will bring you even more free music in downtown Lancaster.
Music For Everyone, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events (M.O.O.S.E.) and the Lancaster County Community Foundation is sponsoring additional music acts on street corners, in alleys and other public spaces throughout the downtown area. While the main stage concert in Lancaster Square will continue to offer music, food, wine and beer, there will be at least ten additional “street spots” throughout the downtown area where various musicians, drummers and singers will be stationed to spread the sound of music beyond Lancaster Square to every nook and cranny in the city.
Along with the main stage in Lancaster Square and the additional street spots, MFE is once again sponsoring ten sites for Keys for the City pianos. Additionally, MFE, MOOSE and LCCF have been working with local restaurants, bars and galleries to encourage them to sponsor musical acts on these Third Friday events.
“The result will be close to 40 music venues – from street corners, to galleries, to restaurants, bars and Keys for the City pianos,” said John Gerdy, president of Music For Everyone. “That’s a lot of free music. Downtown Lancaster is going to be hoppin’ on Music Fridays!”
Get a map! You can’t play ’em if you don’t know where they are. Maps will be available at various retail locations throughout the city.
Dress Up or Dress Down. Either way, you want to look good when tickling those ivories.
If you have a friend or a group of friends who play instruments, meet them at a piano for a jam session. If you are in a band, have your group meet at a piano for a “guerrilla, hit and run” concert performance. Announce it on your Facebook page or tweet your fans 30 minutes prior and see what happens.
Bring a “Bag ‘O Percussion.” Pack a few shakers and hand percussion instruments. Hand them out and immediately, everyone is “in the band.” Get people shakin’em and dancin’ and before you know it, you are in the middle of a Happenin’! Now that’s magic!
Piano players look great in shades. Ray Charles sure did. And you will too!
No need to bring an electric tuner. Other instruments will need to be tuned to the piano, as there is no guarantee it will be in perfect pitch. Remember, this is not about perfect pitch, but a perfect musical moment.
If you can’t play a lick, try this: Use the black keys only. Something slow. Dreamy sort of stuff. As long as you are hitting only black keys, it’ll sound like you know what you are doing. And when someone asks, “Who wrote that song?,” you can reply, “It’s an original, of course.”
Consider the design. Eleven of them to choose from. Enough said!
Take care of the pianos. They are beautiful instruments and works of art. And be respectful of those who may live, work, or sleep close by.
Enjoy the music and the magic!
Willie Marble is a Lancaster-based Blues musician.