Home » Ceremony Hails Piano Project At SUNY | News, Sports, Jobs – Jamestown Post Journal

Ceremony Hails Piano Project At SUNY | News, Sports, Jobs – Jamestown Post Journal

by Arifa Rana

May 3, 2022
A SUNY Fredonia student plays one of the three pianos that will be placed in Dunkirk, Fredonia and on campus as part of a Central Connection project. Photos by M.J. Stafford
Music and color brightened a gray spring day at SUNY Fredonia last week, as three pianos set for public play and display were unveiled.
Dunkirk, Fredonia and the SUNY Fredonia campus will each get a piano, in a project from their Central Connection initiative. Unseasonably cold weather moved the dedication ceremony inside to Mason Hall but it didn’t cool down the enthusiasm.
The project started with surplus pianos purchased in 1972 by the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, and an idea the school’s facilities manager, Marc Levy, got from a 2018 visit to Montreal.
Levy witnessed people playing pianos in parks and it made him want to keep the surplus instruments at his school. “We thought this would be a great way to keep them on campus, and in the community,” he said.
Though the project was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, painting of the pianos by SUNY Fredonia alumni started in April 2021. It wound up being a joint effort of the School of Music and SUNY Fredonia’s visual arts and media department, Levy said.
The three pianos set for public installment at SUNY Fredonia, and in Dunkirk and Fredonia, were unveiled last week.
It’s not clear where the pianos will be placed, and they’re not quite ready for public display yet. They had to be weatherized to handle the Western New York elements and there is still a bit of work to do on that, Levy said.
However, representatives of Dunkirk and Fredonia were still happy to have the pianos.
“Art in public places… leads to more investment,” asserted Vince DeJoy, Dunkirk’s planning and economic development director. “It’s an economic development project in addition to an arts and culture project.”
“This is something we are excited to be a part of,” Fredonia Mayor Douglas Essek said. He said the Board of Trustees will likely allow Fredonia’s piano to be placed in Barker Common.
“When someone is driving downtown, you’ll be able to hear the beautiful music that’s being played,” he said. Drawing laughter by referencing the cold weather that forced Wednesday’s presentation inside from the nearby Costello Plaza, he added, “It’s a positive that will snowball through our communities.”
Bill Horbett, a SUNY Fredonia alum and president of project sponsor Big L Windows, was another speaker. He announced plans to sponsor four more pianos in the coming months.
Several School of Music students played the pianos at the end of the presentation — a selection of classical music, a show tune and a jazz song. The students — and the pianos they played on — sounded excellent.
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