Pop-up piano will be anchored in DT Chilliwack

Chilliwack's soon to be public piano was donated by a couple who was downsizing in Langley.

A public piano is coming soon to Downtown Chilliwack. Royal Hotel GM Leonard Wiens (at piano) instigated it with help from Matthew Stinson

A public piano is coming soon to Downtown Chilliwack. Royal Hotel GM Leonard Wiens (at piano) instigated it with help from Matthew Stinson

Chilliwack is about to get its first public piano to add to the atmosphere downtown.

“It has become a real community effort to make this happen,” said Leonard Wiens, general manager at the Royal Hotel.

Sometimes playable pianos get a new lease on life when they are painted and installed in downtown streets, such as with the Vancouver program known as Keys to the Streets.

“I saw something about that program, and thought, ‘Why not here in Chilliwack?’

With Keys to the Streets, 10 pianos in Vancouver were re-purposed in this novel way last summer and installed in public places to inspire creativity. The street piano concept has also hit Montreal, Toronto and New York City.

“There are so many things that make our downtown unique, and this can only add to the ambiance,” Wiens said.

These pop-up pianos in Vancouver offer folks a way to relax and enjoy the street vibe with a little live music, said Wiens.

Players can come by, sit down and tickle the ivories at will.

Chilliwack’s apartment sized upright piano was donated by a couple who was downsizing in Langley.

“The plan is for it to sit outside the hotel on the sidewalk,” said Wiens.

They’re going to use a custom-made dolly on casters to transport it. The plan is to secure it on Wellington Avenue near Mill Street, and to bring it indoors when need be.

“We think it’s going to be a neat project, and will undoubtedly bring more interest to our downtown core.”

The piano has been temporarily housed down the street at Cyrus Centre Chilliwack. They are contributing to the cause by painting the piano artistically. It was personalized with the help of Cyrus youth residents.

“I’m sure it will nice to have a piano on the street. Sure there will be some Chopsticks or children trying it out.

“But at other times it will be someone who can really play.”

They will sit down at the keys and offer an impromptu concert to the enjoyment of passersby, playing Mozart or other famous composers’ works, he suggested.

They’re working on getting a cover to protect the piano, and they installed an anchor into the sidewalk.

“The City of Chilliwack has been very supportive of the project, providing the space for the piano to be anchored on Wellington Plaza.”

Community members and businesses have really stepped up as well to help bring the project to fruition.

“In terms of cost it’s been minimal and several have contributed to the cause,” said Wiens.

Here are some of the generous donors who’ve contributed:Walt’s Metal Work built the dolly to transport the piano, and a steel fabricating company in Abbotsford contributed the steel. Fortins Home Hardware contributed the paint, while Pioneer Buildall contributed the casters.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com
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