Jersey residents encouraged to play street pianos

Half a dozen old pianos are to be restored and put out in public in Jersey, UK, as part of a new event.

Jersey Street Pianos came about after the organiser saw a picture of someone playing an old piano at a train station in the UK.

Martin Coxshall is working with a number of Jersey artists to create seven distinct pianos.

They will be spread across the island from the airport and high street to a boat and market.

“I want to remove that barrier of fear people have of public performance,” said Mr Coxshall.

Piano on Jersey Steet

Piano on Jersey Steet (Photo source: Andy Ellis, Facebook page)


“It’s about letting people know there is no do not touch sign. We want people to get up and touch, to join in and play.”

One has been designed to look like Durrell Wildlife Trust gorilla and Island Games mascot Indigo.

Lesley Lawrence, artist and volunteer at Durrell, said this was the strangest project she had ever done.

“It can sometimes take a long time for an idea to come to you, but with this I’d finished in about two hours.

“It was strange painting a piano but I showed it to Indigo’s keeper and he said it actually looked like Indigo, not just a random gorilla,” she said.

Mr Coxshall said there was a concern about vandalism, but it was worth the risk.

He said: “With smaller houses and less money, acoustic pianos are getting less popular, you are seeing them less.

“I want people to have a chance to play and for there to be a renewed love of the acoustic piano.”
Some of the donated pianos are more than 100 years old

Piano expert Jon Scriven, from Island Music, said collectively the pianos had not been repaired, tuned or cared for in over 100 years.

The Jersey Street Pianos will be out in public from 21 June for about a month.

Piano themes and locations

They will be in the central market, King Street, Liberty Wharf, Airport, Harbour, and on board a dazzle ship in the harbour
Themes include a gorilla, maritime heritage, dazzle, wild west and Mexican day of the dead
The project is costing about £4,000 including paint, restoration, tuning and insurance
Funding has come in part from the Jersey Arts Trust and Economic Development
Special permission was needed to allow more than two people to perform in public around the pianos

Source: BBC

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