Pianos in parks?
Last August Bob Oblack was taking a bunch of trash to the dump in Woodburn. Once he got there, like most of us, he looked at what was inside the dump mostly because he heard music. While he saw trash, he also saw what looked like the back of an upright piano.
He stopped the gentleman driving the truck next to him, which included a man playing a piano in the back of the truck. He asked what he was doing, and the man said, "Pushing this piano into the dumpster."
Oblack was "…in shock and saddened to see such a beautiful looking and sounding piano getting ready to be pushed into a dumpster."
The man responded that yes, he was going to throw other pianos away. As they got to talking, the man told Oblack that there were other pianos slated for destruction. When Oblack asked where he was from, the man said, "Molalla; we work for Evergreen Restoration, next door to the Spot Tavern."
Oblack got together with Ken Fetters and Dave Johnson to discuss an idea he had of placing these pianos in parks so people could actually go to the park and play them whether just for fun or practice or entertainment.
"Music is Art. How do we get one of these pianos affiliated with your [Fetter's] mission of supporting and promoting local artists here in Molalla?" Oblack said.
Fetters, who knew the owner of Evergreen Restoration, David Nichols, spoke with him and got the idea of Pianos in the Park going. He worked with Nichols, City Manager Dan Huff and a local artist, who will soon paint a mural on the piano to enhance its beauty as well as protect the wood.
Nichols agreed to donate three pianos to the city. And artist David Alexander, the muralist, agreed to paint the pianos, so being outside they would stay in tune and good tone. Oblack and Leota Childress donated the paint and Alexander will paint scenes from Molalla, such as the river and fishermen, trees and other familiar Molalla sites.
The organizers aren't certain when the first piano is going to be ready. But once it is, they need to work with Nichols to deliver it. The group has plans to put the first piano in Fox Park's Pavilion. Once that first piano is complete, they will start on the second one, which will go into the Gazebo at Long Park.
The third piano, which will get painted after the second one is delivered will go to the Gazebo at Adams Cemetery. So during ceremonies or just on a quiet afternoon, anyone can play these park pianos to entertain others or just themselves.
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