I arrived in Vancouver approximately ten days ago really flat and a huge part of my turn around has been all of the pianos that I have found from one end of the city to the other. The Keys To The Streets program has been running for the last two summers in Vancouver and has bought much joy to the locals, myself included.
The first I saw of this was when my friend took me to a park in Coquitlam and there was a piano on the dock for people to play. Small children gathered around and thumped on it gleefully. I sat down and played a couple of songs and then was on my way. This was the first time I had sat down and played at a piano in many years given that they are not very portable for travel. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the piano. While I love my ukulele, there is something within my soul that awakens when I sit at a piano and I play and sing.
So when I got to Vancouver and found my first piano in Chinatown I was super excited. I sat down and started to play a few songs and felt immediately calm and happy. People crowded around from the surrounding businesses and stopped along the street to watch me play and for the first time in a long time I felt the performer within me coming back. And thus began my quest of the ‘pianocrawl’.
Along more of my walks, I found a piano at the Science Centre, a piano along the river front and one underneath the Cambie Street Bridge. This piano was my favourite and the best sounding by far. While sitting along the waterfront, I observed some of the most amazing musicians sit down and play this piano. From classically trained pianists, to jazz pianists…. there were some amazing talents. Not only was I fortunate enough to witness some of the magic, but I was also granted the ability to play music with some of them.
The first time this happened for me, I was playing for a while and when I was done a guy asked if I wanted to jam. He was a piano player and we tried to figure out what songs we both knew and harmonized and ad libbed things. It was a whole lot of fun and I remembered how much I loved jamming with other musicians.
The second day this happened, a group rocked down to the waterfront to use the piano with their other instruments. While they were getting things organized, I played a couple of tunes with the drummer and double bass player. People crowded around and were excited about the music in their streets. When they were ready, I relinquished up the piano to one of the best jazz pianists I have ever seen sit down and play music with the band. I sat and listened happily. The music had gotten into my body and my soul and I felt alive.
Over the course of the week I was in Vancouver, every time I walked past a piano, I sat and played it. I played five pianos in total and I made videos of many different songs that I have played. You can find them on my Facebook music page at following link. There will be more uploaded over the coming weeks.
This whole activity has inspired me to find a band and start working again as a musician in the coming months when I have settled into my new life. It has also inspired me to start writing more music again. For more updates, join and follow along with the music Facebook page, otherwise I am sure there will be more updates coming about through the blog when it starts. To check out some more of what is happening in Vancouver check out the hashtag, #keys2streets. There have been some incredible musicians recorded around the city!