The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 26, 2013

Students jazzing up piano for Jazz Stroll

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Several Waller Middle School students are jazzing up a piano for Main Street Enid’s Jazz Stroll Friday.

Two pianos were donated by Miles Music, destined to be street pianos. For Jazz Stroll, they will be rolled outside so the public can walk right up and play as they enjoy downtown and the Jazz Stroll.

“At first, we were going to do black and white,” said Alanna Brehm, one of the 14 students working on one of the pianos.

Part of the group, however, wanted a more colorful creation, so they compromised and are painting colorful notes on the back of the piano. The front, top and sides will be painted black and white.

Alanna Brehm, Ethan Blodgett, Kendall Carpenter, Molly Cummings, Colton Dillon, Jesse Elledge, Stephanie Esquivel, Lizzet Hernandez, Kaylee Huckins, Kyra Johnston, Caleb Miles, Trenton Musa, Dylan Smith and Derek Washburn — the students painting the piano — divided into three teams for the work.

One team got busy applying primer and base coat, another team worked on the design and a third team is doing the painting.

The 14 are advanced art students, and their art teacher, Pam Gilbreath, is overseeing their work.

Main Street Enid’s Jazz Stroll is planned in conjunction with Tri-State Music Festival.

Street pianos have been installed in cities all over the world, said Kelly Tompkins, executive director of Main Street Enid. The concept was discovered by accident in Sheffield, England, and has since been popularized by artist Luke Jerram’s project, “Play Me, I’m Yours.”

“These are community pianos, a gift of music and art, in a public space for anyone to play and enjoy,” Tompkins said.

Enid Art Council board member Toni DeKock first mentioned the idea of street pianos to Tompkins.

“There couldn’t be a more perfect event for street pianos in Enid than Jazz Stroll/Tri-State,” Tompkins said.

A second street piano will be covered with chalkboard paint so community members can add their own art and be part of the project. Additionally, the second piano will allow Jazz Stroll participants to play duets.

Tompkins said the pianos likely will be placed in front of Cherokee Strip Conference Center during Friday’s Jazz Stroll and May 4’s Tri-State Million Dollar Parade.