WHERE DID THE PIANOS GO

This week, the streets of New York seem to be missing something. On Monday morning, the Sing for Hope Pianos that had been placed throughout the parks and public spaces of the five boroughs, and enjoyed by countless happy fingers, were loaded onto trucks and carted away. The air was still, because the music had stopped.

Or had it?

The location of the pianos has definitely changed, but the music is far from over. In the weeks ahead, from The Bronx’s Betances Community Center to Brooklyn’s P.S. 34 to countless places in between, New York’s most under-resourced schools, hospitals, and community centers will welcome these colorful instruments into their new homes.

One Sing for Hope Piano will find its new home at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, where girls grades 4 — 12 will create their own musical stories in reflection of the words etched above the keyboard: ,your magic is real. At Bushwick High School, students will connect with themselves and each other in classes with Sing for Hope Volunteer Artists on the school’s first-ever functioning piano, its colors glowing as young fingers trace melodies, tentatively at first, then with growing confidence. And at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, a piano lid’s butterflies, painted by Sing for Hope students, will take flight, and a museum space will be reinvigorated visually, musically, tonally.

The summertime chapter of the Sing for Hope Pianos is actually just one part of a larger story. It’s about a year-round continuum of involvement in areas that are too often ignored, and about the ongoing transformation of our communities. It’s about artists coming together and offering grassroots solutions, and about art’s power to seed positive change in individuals, organizations, and our world. It’s about the creative potential that lives inside each one of us, and our communal responsibility to unlock that potential, give it wings (or paintbrushes, or piano keys) and let it soar. It’s about how, in that soaring, we are all lifted up.

The music of the Sing for Hope Pianos is constant, ever-resonant, ever-varying, ever-developing.

Stop for a moment and listen closely. You can always hear it.

Now take a deep breath.

Plunge in.

And PLAY.

And the music plays on:A Sing for Hope Volunteer Artist Nana Shi shares harmony with patients at New York Memory Center in Sing for Hope’s year-round Healing Arts program. The donated Sing for Hope Piano is by Volunteer Artist Michael Miller. (Photo by Shawn Hoke)

(Article adapted from POP-UP PIANOS: PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEKHA SINGH, ESSAYS BY MONICA YUNUS AND CAMILLE ZAMORA, published by Damiani Press and available for purchase ON AMAZON HERE.)

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