The Sing for Hope Piano Artists often say they feel like they’ve all become a family. For three of our artists, this is not just a feeling: when they finish painting under the same roof, they return home to eat dinner under the same roof. Meet Sing for Hope parent-daughter trio, Peggy, Robert, and Megan Padovano.
Sing for Hope sat down with Peggy and Megan in our Piano Studio to hear about what it’s like to create and to Sing for Hope as a family.
SFH: How many SFH Pianos have you designed?
PP/MP: This is our second.
SFH: What brought you to Sing for Hope initially?
PP: Somebody in the Staten Island Museum told my husband Rob (a professional artist/graphic designer) about Sing for Hope. His current SFH Piano is his 7th or 8th piano. The first piano he did on his own, but I assisted him on each piano after that. I started out doing the grunt work… the sanding, the priming.
Pictured: A young girl plays Robert Padovano’s SFH Piano at Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2016.
SFH: Sometimes the sanding is the hardest part!
MP: Yeah it is.
PP: Then one day Rob said to me, “You know, I really think you can do [a Sing for Hope Piano] of your own.” So I said, “but I’m not an artist like you’re an artist and Megan’s an artist.” Rob said, “Look, I’m telling you, you’re great with a brush, you have great attention to detail. I traced all of mine out. You can do it.” So I did. If it wasn’t for his tremendous faith in me I wouldn’t have thought to do one of my own.
And Sing for Hope as an organization attracted me, too: We went with Rob to the assemblies when his SFH Pianos were donated to schools, and I saw everyone’s reactions and the kids… I love kids. When my first SFH Piano was presented to the assembly of these teeny weeny kids, they were so excited about this. I wanted to cry. It made me so happy and they were just so delighted that I said I have to do this all again.
MP: It was so fun! They were first and second graders.
SFH: So that’s why you come back?
PP: Well, I believe in the organization, and I grew up in a big Irish family that was very poor and I know what it’s like not to have. When Sing for Hope gives to kids in a similar position, it’s so much more appreciated. And it’s inspiring because I was in that position when I was a kid and I know how much I appreciated every little thing that people did for me, every gesture and every generosity.
Pictured, LEFT: Peggy and Megan Padovano in the Sing for Hope Piano Studio in 2017. RIGHT: Their completed SFH Piano at its permanent home at Staten Island’s PS 78.
PP: [At the assembly,] one of the teachers got up and started a song from “Frozen” and all the little kids were singing with her. They hadn’t even known she could sing, and it was so beautiful. It made me feel really, really good to leave something behind in their hands.
Like Rob’s art… he does a lot of painting. He has plenty to leave behind and I didn’t feel that, other than my kids, that I had anything to leave for people. And now I have two Sing for Hope Pianos to leave behind with my name on them, and that’s pretty cool.
MP: And it’s nice to come back year after year and get to know a lot of the same people. We’ve built relationships for years now with the other artists.
PP: We have made some nice friendships!
PP: We are very appreciative of the fact that Sing for Hope accepts us as a family because we do a lot together as a family. Rob’s also a musician, and my son is a musician. They play guitar together. So we have the art and the music in our family, which I think makes us so rich. We are rich beyond. [she says to Megan] we’re lucky; it’s great.
Pictured: The Padovano family in Tappen Park in 2015. Photo by “The Staten Island Advance.”
MP: I can be a little bossy, but it’s because I know your vision and I want it to come to be…
PP: And I respect her opinion because she’s a true artist in every sense of the word.
SFH: So when are we going to get you to do your own SFH Piano, Megan?
MP: They ask me every year, and I’m like, ‘I’ll think about it.’ And then I get really intimidated because it’s time-consuming, and everybody here is so talented.
MP: [If I did my own] I’d have to come up with something really good. If I’m going to do it, I want to make sure that it…
PP: That it represents you.
PP: Then I have to find something that I could do on my own so that she can do her own. Something that I don’t need any help with. We’ll see what happens…
MP: Or… you could be MY collaborator this time. 🙂