It’s hard to believe that the Pianos on Parade have graced the streets of St Paul (and one place in Minneapolis and at the airport) for almost two months. This weekend the grand experiment in public music-making ends as Keys 4/4 Kids roll the boxes back to their warehouse and repair shop in St Paul.
For Project Manager Kelsey Shanesy, it’s been a learning experience.
“We have learned many things!” she laughed when I tracked her down this morning. “We have learned that the pianos under overhangs fare far better than the ones that do not have overhands, that just have tarps.”
Part of the experiment was seeing how the 20 pianos dotted around the city would survive the elements, and it turns out that Mother Nature chose June and July 2011 as a time to set all sorts of record-breaking weather, none of it piano-friendly.
“We had a very tough summer for them,” says Shanesy. “If it wasn’t pouring down with rain it was, you know 98 degrees and humid, neither of which is very good for a piano. But many of them fared very well and they are going to continue to be working pianos.” She paused briefly before adding “And a few of them are now completely done. They have reached the end of their lifecycle with this project,” she laughed again.
Despite the odd piano corpse here and there Shanesy says the project appears to have been a big success.
“I’m really sad that we couldn’t leave it out longer,” she said, “Because it really seemed like at the end it really seemed to take off.”
Shanesy (below) says while the weather didn’t co-operate there was no human vandalism. Earlier in the summer she said she hoped the instruments would create moments of spontaneous community, and that seems to have happened time and again.
She says last weekend she attended a charity fundraiser where a young man played all 20 of the pianos, and also a concert at the Landmark Center piano where people gathered to “send good energy” to the victims of the Japanese tsunami.