Piano to become permanent fixture at Glendale Community College

An upright piano installed near the administration building at Glendale Community College last month as part of a three-week performing arts project is slated to become a permanent fixture on campus.

The piano was one of 30 placed at public sites around Los Angeles County by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to celebrate 15 years under the leadership of music director and pianist Jeffrey Kahane.

“One of the best parts of having the piano outside on campus is to see students with no other access to musical instruments just playing with it and having fun,” said Peter Green, chairman of the visual and performing arts division at Glendale Community College. “With all the cuts in schools, many students never get to learn to play an instrument, and I see the joy in their faces just being able to play a few notes on the piano.”

As the project's May 3 end date approached, Green passed on to orchestra officials numerous requests that the piano be made permanent.

“They graciously donated it to Glendale [Community] College, so we are in the process of setting up a permanent gazebo to protect it from the elements,” Green said.

The project, titled “Play Me, I'm Yours,” was designed to recognize Kahane while also engaging the community in music-making, said Rachel Fine, executive director with the orchestra.

Each of the 30 pianos was painted by a Los Angeles-based artist or arts organization and each was tended to by tuners and technicians.

Other locations included the courtyard at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena and the Santa Monica Pier.

“Many of the partners involved asked to keep the pianos,” Fine said. “Where we could, we tried to accommodate those requests.”

The project exceeded expectations, Fine said.

“It has allowed us to partner with so many artists and organizations that we never have the opportunity to partner with otherwise,” Fine said. “It was so gratifying.”

Six of the pianos painted by notable artists are now up for auction, with the proceeds destined for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's music education and community engagement programs.

In Glendale, students and staff members are looking forward to the music.

“It has been a wonderful addition to the campus,” Green said. “I have set up several outdoor recitals with my piano students.”

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