Urban Pianos on the Road
Published Friday 14th September 12
Rotherham folk are getting in tune with their melodic side thanks to a grand idea that sees pianos being 'customised'!
The ultimate aim of the Rotherham Urban Piano project is to create a new tune for Rotherham that will be performed later this month at a special concert on customised pianos in Rotherham Town Centre, which will take place on Saturday, September 29.
Funded by the Arts Council England, the project was initially inspired by the piano that was 'customised' by Ben Kealey of the band 'Kasabian'.
That piano is now in the new gallery at Rotherham Borough Council's Riverside House but since then many local people have generously donated their old pianos, which are to be used in workshop venues across the borough.
Composer Joshua Goodman has also been meeting local groups as well as holding a stall at the Diversity Festival at Rotherham Show. The stall featured one of the Urban Pianos and Joshua spent two days collecting ideas and suggestions for a melody to represent Rotherham.
He said: "I had a wonderful reception from the general public and there was a fantastic level of interest, which has given me plenty of material.
"I was amazed, but not surprised, at just how creative Rotherham people were with the piano we had on display. The first thing people said was 'am I allowed to touch the keys?'.
"People think pianos are very special and difficult to play. They are very special indeed, but actually it is very easy to make a beautiful sound with very little knowledge or musical experience."
Joshua is now creating a melody that can be played by one person or two less confident people together, so people of all abilities can join in.
The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in the Imperial Buildings has already had lots of visitors to play the piano on show there while the Get Sorted Academy of Music will be offering free tuition in piano playing and in teaching the melody to anyone who wants to get involved.
If anyone would like to register to play an Urban Piano or book tuition with Get Sorted, (free for this project) please call Lizzy Alageswaran of the Gallery Town Project on 01709 823636 or email.