The Newton Street Pianos are back! For the 2nd year running, as part of the month long Newton Festival of the Arts, street pianos have been installed all over the city. This year there is one for each of the13 villages (and here’s one for Village14). Each piano was painted in wildly different designs by local artists.
Once again this year we had a long stretch of rain after the pianos arrived but it looks like it will be good weather this weekend. If you play, go find your nearest piano and play a few tunes for passers by – they will love it and so will you.
Our Upper Falls piano (pictured above) is one of the more mysterious ones – i love it. The guys who hang out at The Depot where the piano is situated (Chestnut & Oak) tell me that the artist and the model came by one afternoon to see the finished product being played.
Tonight I had a fabulous piano experience. I saw a young guy by himself happily playing away at the Upper Falls piano. I snuck up on him and listened for five minutes or so before startling him with my applause. It turns out he’s visiting from Germany for a year. He lives out in Carlisle and he’s been sorely missing playing piano. A friend told him about the street pianos and he came to Newton just to play. After I left him, I had a brainstorm. My daughter’s been playing piano for a few years. When she first started we bought her a fairly cheap keyboard for practicing. This past years she got a much better one and the old one’s collecting dust in a closet. I ran home, grabbed the keyboard and headed back. I jumped out of the car and said “I have a present for you, but you’ve got to promise you’ll still come back and play our street piano too”. As I was jumping back in the car the totally incredulous young guy yelled “wait, wait”. “please let me give you a big hug”. He got a piano. I got a hug. The street pianos once again were working their magic.
Many, many thanks to all of the dozens of people involved in making the street piano project happen, to the artists, the neighborhood tenders, the tuners, the folks who donated the pianos, and to all of the impromptu piano players across the city, and most especially to Maria Arvelo the mastermind and whirlwind behind it all.
From what I’ve been hearing, another really special piano thing’s been happening at the Waban piano over the last few weeks. Local resident Chris Pitts is a very accomplished musician with all sorts of contacts in the music world. He’s lined up wildly accomplished players each Saturday at the Waban Square piano. I haven’t been yet but friends who have were stunned by what they heard. This Saturday (May 20) at 1 PM the feature is Alexei Tsiganov and Nina Ott & Chris Lopes Trio. – “Russian born Alexei Tsiganov will perform at 1pm. His jaw-dropping artistry and innovation embrace a multitude of styles including Classical, Latin, Modal, BeBop, and more.”
See you there.