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David Scribner
Berkshire Music School Executive Director Tracy Wilson with a piano painted by Keith Bona, on the school lawn in Pittsfield. Wilson's skirt, by the way, is embroidered with musical notes.

Berkshire Music School launches Painted Piano Project to celebrate Leonard Bernstein

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By Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 News

Pittsfield — Sixteen pianos, all decorated by artists representing their various communities, are on public display around Berkshire County to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein and to recognize area libraries’ summer reading theme of “Libraries Rock” with its subtheme of Summer of Music. Pianos will be on display starting July 18 through Saturday, August 25.  Sunday, August 26th, Berkshire Music School will hold a live auction to sell panels from the various pianos or the entire piano, with all proceeds going to the school’s education programs.

Planning for the Painted Piano Project has taken place over two years by the Berkshire Music School, starting with learning about celebrations planned around the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth. BMS has a history with Leonard Bernstein as he played a benefit piano recital in1942 in the Berkshire Museum’s auditorium.

The second guiding factor in planning the project was the fact that BMS receives calls weekly of people wishing to finding a home for an old piano or wondering how to dispose of one.  All of the pianos were donated to the Berkshire Music School, having determined that they were no longer viable instruments and would be properly disposed of.

BMS then sought grant funding to pay artists and connected with the Pittsfield Artscape Committee to hand select artists who would represent the various communities. All-Ways Moving Company came on board to transport the pianos around the county and additional sponsorship has been provided by Greylock Federal Credit Union, MountainOne, Adams Community Bank, Laurin Publishing, Berkshire Bank Foundation, and the cultural councils of Pittsfield, Northern Berkshire, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Sheffield, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, as well as from Berkshire Athenaeum, Cultural Pittsfield/Artscape and private individuals. The town of Adams gave permission to use the Adams Memorial Middle School as the venue to store pianos and make space available for artists to paint, and Adams Arts Advisory Board hosted the hours for working artists.

Pianos are being cared for by local libraries or cultural organizations with responsibilities to include covering the pianos during bad weather and hosting any pop-up concerts or activities.

To listen to Tracy Wilson play the painted piano on the Music School lawn, click on video below:

 

The artists and locations of each piano:

Town of Adams: Richard Haskins at the Train Station, Hoosac Street; Henry Klein, “Waved Piano”, at the Firehouse Café, 47 Park Street.

Town of Great Barrington: Adam and Ezra Gudeon at the Mason Library, 231 Main Street.

Town of Lee: Mario Caluori at Lee Library, “On a Mission”, 100 Main Street.

Town of Lenox:  Joanie Ciolfi, Lenox Library, “Bernstein and the Berkshires”, 18 Main Street; Andrew DeVries, Highwood Gate, Tanglewood grounds, “The Rite of Spring”

City of North Adams: Keith Bona at North Adams Public Library, “Also sprach Zarathustra”, 74 Church Street; Danny O at Gallery 51 (Main Street), MCLA

City of Pittsfield: Keith Bona at Berkshire Music School lawn, “American Symphony”; Marge Bride at Park Square, “Celebrate Pittsfield”; The Funky Phoenix at Pittsfield Commons, “Positive Pittsfield”; Michael Rousseau at Palace Park (North and Fenn Streets).

Town of Stockbridge: Terry Wise at Red Lion Inn (west lawn), ‘Blue Willow”

Town of Sheffield: Sue MacVeety at Bushnell Library, “Sheffield is Alive Now and Then”, 48 Main Street

Town of West Stockbridge: Eli Merritt at Stanmeyer Gallery and Shaker Dam Coffeehouse, 3 Main Street

Town of Williamstown: Robert Lafond at Milne Public Library, 1095 Main Street

The live auction with professional auctioneer John Economou, will take place on the lawn of the Berkshire Music School, 30 Wendell Avenue, on Sunday, August 26 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The evening will take place under a tent with heavy hors d’oeuvres being served; tickets are $25 and reservations must be made in advance by calling BMS at 413-442-1411. Wine and beer will be available to purchase. People will be able to bid on panels from each piano, or the entire piano. Anyone interested in purchasing an entire piano must make their intentions known by calling BMS Executive Director Tracy Wilson at 413-442-1411, ext. 12, no later than August 20.

Photographs of the painted pianos can be found on the Painted Piano Facebook page. For more information, call BMS at 413-442-1411 or visit their website at berkshiremusicschool.org.


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