A publication of the Department of English & Philosophy at Drexel University

Heart & Soul: The University City public piano project

The University City District is trying a whole bunch of new ways to get the community more involved. For the next ten days, we can delight in musical expression with

“Heart & Soul: The University City Public Piano Project.”

Eight artistically designed pianos will be distributed across U.City, from 30th Street Station to 33rd and market all the way up to Clark Park. The Drexel based piano is covered head to toe in knitting, hand stitched in rainbow colors. Other pianos are modeled after Scott Joplin’s ragtime-era 1920’s billboards, Van Gogh’s starry night, a rocket ship with colored keys, a race car, natural flowers and symmetric black-on-white patterns. They are all tuned, aesthetically interesting, and ready for playing.

See the full map and descriptions at http://ucnet.com/ucd/ucdevents/

Date: June 7-17
Locations: 30th and Market, 33rd and Market, 37th and Market
36th and Walnut, 39th and Walnut
32 and Powelton – Drexel Park
40th and Locust, 43 and Baltimore – Clark Park

At the launch party last night, all eight pianos were displayed at 30th street’s new outdoor park, the Porch. Professional classical pianists took turns at the head race car piano. At a heckler’s call for Piano man, two pianists improvised the song on the spot to loud applause. It turns out that as much as we appreciate raw skill, we like what we recognize even more.

Free ice cream, with unique flavors like birch beer vanilla and bourbon vanilla drew the largest line. While talking with the owners, we realized how incredible an ice cream bar would be. White Russian’s use milk and are popular, whiskey truffles are huge sellers in duty free stores. It’s an idea waiting to blow up.

Free New Deck Tavern IPA and wine lubricated the atmosphere well. HughE Dillon, whose photographs of the event can be found at PhillyChitChat.com, told us how he’s become a self-made man over the last three years of blogging every day. A friendly lady taught me and Penny, my roommate, the differences between the way guys and girls flirt. When girls touch, they let their touch linger, while guys touch briefly to maintain the tension.

Children loved climbing aboard the pianos and although most people were hesitant to sit down for long, it was great fun to see people cheer on even the least skilled musician.

I really hope this takes off, and we see spontaneous dance parties emerge on the street.

If you are a pianist and interested in gathering a crowd before you perform, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help organize a crowd for you.

More photos courtesy of Jeremy Buck:

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