Street Pianos give Boston musical touch

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“I like it, but I wouldn’t like it in a concert hall,” Shelton said.

Ortiz and Shelton’s piano playing constantly drew people outside of the bookstore until a crowd had gathered. The performance was rewarded with rapturous applause and a continuous stream of praise and compliments. Though they played cheerfully, Ortiz and Shelton both agreed on one thing: The piano was in desperate need of some tuning.

At the graphically-designed dark-blue-and-white piano outside of the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, Benjamin Gelber, an undeclared Northeastern freshman, and Olivia Perez, a freshman biology student at Northeastern, remarked how exciting it was to meet new people at the pianos.

“I’m taking a sociology class that deals specifically with Boston, and my professor mentioned the exhibit to me, just that we go out and play [the pianos] if we can,” Gelber said. “I think it just surprised me how many random people seemingly knew how to play the piano.”  

Outside the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, three women from Hong Kong sat around the piano listening to one of their cousins play. Yoyo Wong, a 21-year-old finance major at Boston University, said she would really like to see the pianos stay.

“You can connect people and it also influences others to play this piano,” Wong said. “The atmosphere is good.”

Almost as if to emphasize her point, a man walked up to the three women and asked them if he could play the piano. Joanna Wong, 19, a student at MCPHS University in Boston, stepped aside and let the man play.

Meanwhile, the piano outside the Boston Architectural College on Newbury Street drew people to its location with the strangely intriguing and beautifully intricate faces painted on it. Several groups of friends, couples, families and lone individuals stopped to try their hands on a few chords.

Across Boston and Cambridge, people gathered around the pianos to share something they all have in common: Their appreciation for music.

Street Pianos will be on display throughout Boston until Oct. 10.

Photo by Josh Svoboda

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