“Hand me that piano.”
The phrase was among those that comedian George Carlin said we are never likely to hear. But a piano is about to become close at hand in downtown Creston, thanks to a partnership between the Creston Rotary Club, the Town of Creston and several individuals and businesses.
Rotary club spokesperson Marilin States said that a brightly painted piano is about to be installed in the Canyon Street Walkthrough, free for the use of musicians of all ages and abilities.
“The project started with one of our members who was in Boston and saw a ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ street piano,” she said. “She took photos and presented the idea to the Creston Rotary Club.”
States appeared at a town council meeting last month to introduce the idea and get support from the town. With the obvious support of council, and a commitment to work with town staff, the Rotary club was able to secure the donation of a piano from a local family.
Artist Brandy Hunt offered her creative talents to decorate the instrument, which will be placed under a roof, but still exposed to weather. Musician Elvin Strand donated his time and expertise to tune the instrument.
“I love it,” Hunt told States when they visited the walkthrough to discuss the project.
The street piano concept originated in Sheffield, England, when a piano was left outside temporarily because the owner couldn’t get it up the stairs. He and a friend saw the opportunity for a social experiment and placed a sign inviting passersby to play it. Later, an artist started installing a series of decorated street pianos in various cities. Today, they are found all around the world.
“It’s a great way to bring art and music to our streets,” States said.
In addition to the town (which has not been asked to contribute financially) and Creston Rotary Club, States said Creston Valley Growing Together, Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce and Creative Fix have been integral to the project. Neighbouring businesses Panago Pizza and Summit Outdoor Sport were supportive of the concept, she said.
“We will even make some laminated sheet music available for musicians who don’t have pieces committed to memory,” she said.
The piano will be rolled out for public enjoyment at a public display of Hunt’s artwork from 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 12. The public is invited to attend and light refreshments will be served.