Something truly beautiful has taken over the sights and sounds of our streets. Just the other day I was rushing out of the Passport Office to dash out to that store that Tracey refers to as "Sinners" before I headed out for pho lunch meeting. Stuffing my "50 shades of whatever" into my purse I was stopped in my tracks by beautiful piano playing.
Here, outdoors under the awning of a government building on the fringe of the city there was this colourfully painted piano. A guy was sitting there just playing. No audience and just by himself for the sheer pleasure of enjoying a moment of tinkling the ivories. It was a beautiful sight to see and hear. Clearly the guy just plunked himself down with a 7up can sitting on top of the piano with a couple of work folders resting on the bench he was sitting on. I felt like I was invading a very private moment of his so I tucked myself behind a concrete column and just listened for a few minutes and then he just upped and left. That was it. I looked around. No one was there. Very impromptu. Very casual. Very cool.
Last night I was out (yes, again) downtown on Bloor Street. After the catching a documentary with my friend Katya we enjoyed a Indian meal. We were stuffed with butter chicken and saag paneer and the summer night was just so spectacular that we wanted to just wander along the busy street. We heard piano playing as we walked past the Royal Conservatory of Music building. Another painted piano and another random pianist with no audience against the hustle and bustle of late night revellers. It was like a scene from one of those contemporary movies... The world is rushing around and here's one person filling the air with the most beautiful melodies.
There are 41 pianos situated on the streets of Toronto (remember the moose a few years back?). Why 41? Well, the Pan Am Games and Parapan Am Games will be here in 2015 and to mark the three-year countdown each piano represents one of the Pan American countries that will be participating in the games.
Play Me, I'm Yours is part of a worldwide project that was conceived by artist Luke Jerram .
The pianos have been placed in various locations and are meant to be played by the public, but only until the end of the month. Then, there are hopes that the pianos will be shipped to other Canadian cities to continue raising the awareness and excitement of the games.
Robert Lowrey, a well-known piano retailer, had to seek out used pianos that could stand the summer heat and humidity. He hand selected each of the pianos and had them ready for the public use. Artists created each original works of art and each piano has it's own designated "guardian" who will keep an eye on things throughout the month.
So, if you stumble upon one of the pianos, feel free to sit down and play away! Doesn't matter if you can pump out a wicked "chopsticks" or a breeze through one of Chopin's etudes, you are most welcome to take your public stage!
Here's the list of where all the pianos are located: www.streetpianos.com
There are a tons of blogs and youtube clips of people finding the pianos and playing away. From young and old, everyone seems to be enjoying this lovely cultural addition to this city!
Here's one video I've found that just took my breathe away...now I may just start going back to my piano lessons again!