Alison Wu (left) and Stella So play a piano at the Surrey Central SkyTrain Station in 2014.

The keyboards to the city

Pianos On the Street at two locations in Surrey this summer.

Three pianos are hitting two public spots in Surrey this month.

They’re part of Pianos On the Street, a public outdoor piano installation project which will see 24 colourful pianos in spaces across the Lower Mainland.

Founded in 2009 as part of the Piano Teacher’s Federation, Pianos on the Street focuses on connecting communities through music and giving local non-profit associations and community groups the chance to participate in creating public art.

Each piano is meticulously maintained to top heirloom quality and organizers work exclusively with local non-profit associations such as Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Cascadia Society on designing and hand-painting each piano to reflect the diversity of each group and unique neighborhood the piano is installed in.

The project returns to Surrey Central SkyTrain (10294 135 St.) with a project designed by Ryan McClanaghan, Daniel Hawkins and Shane Oleksiuk, who won Surrey’s annual PARKit pop-up park design challenge.

Their entry was entitled Pantone, and featured a playful, colourful design, inspired by traditional theatre.

The Pantone design team received $15,000 to fabricate and install a pop-up park this summer designed around two duelling pianos and two elegantly curved wooden forms to house, shelter and amplify the sound of the pianos.

Bold, uniform colours were chosen to unify bistro tables, the pianos, and a central table feature housing a tree.

Newton is also getting its first piano this year at the PARKit site on 137 Street just south of 74 Avenue.

“I started Pianos On the Street because pianos and music are in my blood, said Sean Pacey, founder of the Piano Teachers Federation and owner of Pacey’s Pianos. “Giving local non-profit organizations the chance to gain public awareness and connect our neighbourhoods to one another through music, is one of the best way, I believe, to bring joy into every community.”

Visitors are invited to check out and play the outdoor pianos. The piano in Newton will be there until end of August, and the display at the Surrey Central SkyTrain Station will be there until the third week of September.

This summer also marks the return of Pianos On the Street’s photo and video contest. To enter, users simply share a photo/video of them playing piano with the hashtag #PianosOnTheStreet on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Photos/videos will be judged by a panel of judges, which includes classic pianist Ian Parker.

For more information, click here.

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