“Music and creativity are still central to my life, and it is a desire to enjoy and foster these elements within a community. It was only natural that I would gravitate towards this kind of opportunity,” says Jia Jung, who has served as a dedicated PIANO BUDDY each year of the project since 2013.
It was in spring of 2013 that Jia was surfing the pages of Time Out Magazine where she found an article about The Sing for Hope Pianos and information on how to get involved. After filling out an application, she soon became the Buddy at Prospect Park – Grand Army Plaza and has been ever since.
Tasks of a Sing for Hope Piano Buddy are simple, yet an absolutely essential part of the project. Community members, like Jia, commit to uncovering the piano each morning, covering it at night, and making sure the piano is cared for (especially in the unfortunate case of inclement weather). In the few years of the project, Jia sometimes found that when it unexpectedly began to rain in the middle of the day and she bolted outside to cover her instrument, other concerned community members had already neatly placed the tarp (or “rain jacket” as Jia likes to call it!) over the piano. “It’s always comforting to know the entire community can rally around these beautiful instruments and ensure they go on to live lives in their permanent homes after their time on the streets.”
Some of Jia’s favorite perks of this job are that she gets to play her piano every morning before work, every evening after work, and meet all the amazing people that stop by. She’s made friends in her neighborhood and from around the world. She’s seen boys play in tuxes on their way to prom, students patiently practicing their sonatas, and composers diligently writing into the night. When asked about the most rewarding part of being a Piano Buddy, Jia states, “meeting people and observing their interactions with the piano are the very best parts of being a Piano Buddy. As a sort of guard of the instrument, you feel an extra special connection to it all.”
Jia even went above and beyond to create blogs each year of the project, detailing her amazing experiences. To view Jia’s blogs from each year of the project, please visit her website for 2013, 2015, 2016, and soon-to-be-updated 2017.