“Ohh Really?, oh dear, no that’s not good but perhaps there’s a reason, I’ll go and have a chat with them” I heard myself trying to be empathetic with my neighbour’s woeful tale…a part of me, well actually, a great deal of me was completely distracted. A piano outside one of the houses…the new neighbours who had just moved in a couple of days ago clearly didn’t want it anymore; perhaps they didn’t have space for it? I guess they must have been reluctant to see it go. The weather was fine and perhaps they thought they’d leave it out whilst they thought about its fate for a while…who knows?
I must go and inspect this situation close-up, I thought to myself. I love music and my little one (well my teen) plays so I thought…hmm perhaps we could take it off their hands? No we don’t have the kind of space needed for it, it deserves a good space. Perhaps I could convince the nearby community centre to take it in for the kids in the area to enjoy? Perhaps I could ask the centre where I run my charity to give it a home; then all my kids (group members) could enjoy it too, I know 90% of them love any musical activity….and so my mind was off exploring all of the possibilities for this discarded, no longer loved piano.
So off I went to get a closer looked and unfortunately it had seen much, much better days and would have cost a fortune to put right if it was to be used as a ‘proper’ piano again. Yet somehow I wanted to find a solution for it…I can’t help myself, seriously, is this interference? Or is it caring? A very fine line indeed!
What this piano was about to achieve just standing there was something that neither I nor any of the neighbours would ever have imagined. It was like some magic had been brought into the area…it was just lovely!
Every day, someone would be walking by, then they would stop look at the piano, do a quick sweep to see if anyone was around and start playing, I mean really playing, totally engrossed in the moment…unbeknown to them, I and the other neighbours were indeed watching from our windows, I just loved it, what a wonderful distraction!
Once a big sturdy man, all muscles, about 6 feet tall with the type of strut that tells you not to mess with him, serious frown on his face; walked past the piano. Yes by this point I was obsessively at the window I didn’t want to miss a single miracle. As he walked on by, I felt a ting of disappointment…he didn’t stop, he just glanced at it and walked on. A few seconds after wallowing in this disappointment, I saw the butch guy come back, look around and so he began, just him and the piano…playing little dainty (pretty good) tunes, he could play pretty ok. The smile on my face was probably wider than the width of it; I got such enjoyment from watching this as did my girls and some of the other neighbours. The entrancing powers of this piano had succeeded in stopping almost everyone that passed by.
It was 2am on a Friday morning, the sound of tired but happy keys came through my window…someone was playing the piano. I got out of bed and peered out of the window, three guys who were probably on their way home from a night out, were now seriously contemplating the piano, each one studying the keys before gently tapping them to make a sound…a lovely sound. Each one thinking they were better at playing than the other and really enjoying the experience. Despite the time, I had to smile this was the best entertainment ever. It was also such a wonderful perspective on human nature, the power of music and curiosity combined. The same happened at around 3 am on the Saturday morning, this time a mixed group of young people enjoying the piano, a perfect end to their night out.
Early that same Saturday morning, the Piano was surrounded by children, each having their moment with the piano, enchanted by it, playing their tune. Laughing and totally engrossed, even moving it slightly so they could all get around it, two of the boys tried to fix the broken wheel…they were making it theirs. Suddenly a man, who I see regularly, a little unkempt, never with anyone, approached the children, the children stopped, some ran off, unsure of what was about to happen. I too was on alert waiting with bated breath, just in case. But nothing to worry about, he got comfy, started helping the boys fix the wheel and then went on to play a lovely tune…short, repetitive but lovely nonetheless. The now much smaller group chatted to the man, they laughed, he showed them how to play his tune, lots of talking and laughter, I was in complete awe of this piano and its power to bring so much joy and accord by simply being there.
My eldest filmed it and made a short movie showing how the piano in just four days managed to bring the most unlikely people together, the new neighbours were already popular just through this one act of leaving their Piano out (whatever the reason). They had no idea the situation was going to develop in this extraordinary way.
This wonderful Piano was so loved that when it started to rain slightly, many of us rushed out with covers, like a mum shielding her child from getting caught by the rain, lovingly we covered it. It had created such a wonderful atmosphere in the area; we wanted it to last as long as possible. We were all aware that the inevitable would eventually happen…it would be taken to Piano Heaven. I felt that this was its last mission, for it to bring together a community and create the most unlikely friendships, a mission that was accomplished very well indeed.