International Music Project Finds Home in Monterey County
Art Student Receives the Chance to Participate in “Street Piano” Project
ZACK YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY
As Alysia Drube, a senior and Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) major sat in her Service Learning class, Professor Deborah Silguero asked students if anyone would be interested in volunteering to help paint “street pianos” for an international project titled, “Play Me, I’m Yours.”
“Me! Me! Me!,” retorted Drube as she quickly accepted the voluntary position. “I’ve been doing art my whole life,” Drube said. “When I was three I said, when I grow up I want to be an artist.”
“Play Me, I’m Yours,” an international project founded by British artist Luke Jerram, has been touringtheworldsince2008and this March found yet another home for 11 “street pianos” in Monterey County.
The Monterey Symphony is host to these free-play pianos, which will be in place from March 9 to 26 and are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. According to the Play Me, Im Yours website, the Monterey Symphony’s mission with these street pianos is to “engage, educate and excite community through the performance and continual discovery of symphonic music.”The project has been featured in New York, Los Angeles, and will move east after its stop in Monterey County (MoCo). Once the project is finished, pianos used within MoCo are donated to local community groups.
Jerram’s vision also aims to bring awareness to the freedoms an individual has to play music in public places. “The piano, I’ve discovered, is a very approachable instrument. Its a piece of furniture that people can gather around. People can sit on it, they can lean on it or even as I once witnessed, do a handstand on it,” stated Jerram in a BBC Radio3 program.
Jerram found it was a good way to inspire communities, as the project-responses were highly positive. He decided to put forth an effort toward the need for social issues to be confronted and the legal ridiculousness of having to attain a music license. Jerram’s mission is to connect the world with this one instrument.
Drube received the opportunity to paint one of the 11 pianos, which is now located in the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. She chose a Steinbeck theme to compliment the piano’s home, as she applied images from various Steinbeck book covers and geographical outlines of Monterey County.
The Steinbeck Center located in Salinas will be one of the 11 stops to go watch, listen, or play the piano at times ranging from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Some locations may have different operating hours. A list of the ten other locations can be found in the information chart on this page. Drube’s Steinbeck “street piano” will come to the Cal State Monterey Bay campus campus April 30 at a VPA class Capstone event, serving as part of Drube’s capstone. The piano, along with other visual public art projects, will be displayed.
In the BBC Radio3 program Jerram addressed concerned for companies throwing out 300-400 pianos and aimed to use public arts to join people together.
To date the “Play Me, I’m Yours” project has 750 pianos across 35 cities originating in the United Kingdom and spreading to cities like Sydney, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, and now locally. Street Pianos are continuing to spread as upcoming locations, Cleveland, Munich, Omaha, and Boston will be planting pianos within the city.
Jerram described the piano as “A tool for expressing the pinnacle of human creativity.”
A live feed of the “street piano” located at Old Fisherman’s Wharf can be seen at streetpianos.com/ monterey2013. A close-up video of Drube’s Steinbeck “street piano” can also be seen at the same site.