Piano headed back to Gyro Park

The Osoyoos community’s Piano in the Park is coming out of winter hibernation.

The piano is scheduled to arrive at Gyro Park tomorrow morning, where it will be locked down, set up and tuned.

It’ll then await a grand opening this weekend.

Local pianist Diane Ball will do the honours at 2:30 Sunday afternoon, bringing along some family members — including a few children — for an old-fashioned sing-along.

“(Diane’s) two sisters are in town and she’s going to get a bunch of children that she can have there and get a jam session going,” said Janet St. Louis, the force behind the Piano in the Park.

“She knows a lot of old-time music as well – the stuff we all know from campfire songs.”

The opening, Ms. St. Louis said, was an effort to include a more formal use of the piano this spring. The piano is generally made available to anyone who wants to sit down the tinkle the ivories, but some time might be set aside for scheduled events as well.

“What I’d like to do is have a weekly thing with people who can play the piano and have a jam session,” she said. “I’m hoping to inspire some people to want to do it — whether it’s Sunday at 2:30 or another time. We can organize people to show up and play.”

The piano, installed last June in the shadow of the Gyro park concession, will move a bit further afield this year.

“We’re putting it a little closer to the walkway,” said Ms. St. Louis. “This is going to be more visible. I was shocked to find out one of the people working as a concierge at the Watermark didn’t even know there was a piano there.”

The piano will face Main Street, giving passersby a good look at the sunflower-painted business end and the pianist a good view of the lake.

Like last year, the piano will be locked up in a protective box overnight.

Ms. St. Louis said her group is looking for a few volunteers to help put away the piano at night and reopen its protective box in the morning.

“We’d really like to have one or two more people to help us with that task,” she said. “At night, usually around eight o’clock, one of us will go down to the park and lock it up. In the morning, usually around nine o’clock, we’ll unlock.”

Anyone interested in doing a little piano duty can contact Ms. St. Louis at osoyoosmusicinthepark@hotmail.com.

The local Piano in the Park project was the brainchild of Janis St. Louis, who along with Rusty Copeland and Alan Bleiken — the original Three Amigos — are responsible for the popular Osoyoos Music in the Park program.

“I looked up on the internet and found they’re all over the world,” Janis said of pianos being placed in community parks. “There’s 10 of them in Kelowna. There’s 10 of them in Vancouver, or more.”

She made a a proposal to the Town of Osoyoos through the Waterfront Steering Committee and “they thought it was a great idea and gave me their support.”

The project was completed without grant funding of any kind, the piano donated by the local Turnbull family and other jobs completed by other individuals and businesses within the community.

A plaque attached to the back of the piano details community engagement.




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