Pressure : 30.21 in
Dewpoint : 50.0 °
Wind : South
Kearney piano brings street serenades to life
You may have seen street musicians performing before, but there is one street in Kearney where "you" are the one performing. It is the symphony of the street. The noises come together to form their own unique melody.
That is what you expect to hear on the streets. Hang around Central and 21st Streets outside the Tru Cafe in Kearney, though, and you will hear a much different sound.
Roberta Loescher, co–owner of the cafe, put this piano here. While visiting Denver, she saw an art exhibit that included a number of pianos on the streets for anyone to play. She brought the idea home with her, and started her search for a piano.
"A lady called me down at the cafe and heard that I was "the" lady looking for a free piano and so we graciously went to her house and loaded this piano up, brought it down here and painted it," said Loescher.
Roberta's daughter painted the piano with a bright sunflower, musical notes, and a simple invitation to everyone.
"Your keys to the city. We invite you to play this piano at your leisure. No cost. Anyone can do it anytime," said Loescher.
And they do play. From small children to grandparents, many people just cannot resist a quick musical time–out.
"The reaction has been phenomenal. People stop in their tracks to read what is said on the front and it is fun to watch the people that walk by and turn around and if they think so one is watching, they will come back and play the piano," Loescher said.
Glenn Jares of Grand Island could not pass it up. He started taking piano lessons when he was 12 and played the organ in his church for more than 35 years.
"If I had music I would probably be playing like Liberace (laughs), but no music, that is what comes out of my head," said Jares.
This piano sits out here all the time so anytime, day or night, regardless of the weather, you could hear any piano man, woman, or child singing in the rain, blowin' in the wind or walking on sunshine.
Roberta said many who stop to play are really good.
"We have heard some absolutely fabulous piano players and it is amazing that they are not somewhere playing for money," said Loescher.
You would think, she has also heard some not–so–great wannabe pianists. If she has, she is not saying.
"No one is bad. As long as they enjoy playing, that is what counts," Loescher said.
In the short time the piano has been on this street corner, Roberta has heard a variety of songs.
"I think we have heard them all. From the Husker fight song to this morning we heard a Christmas carol," said Loescher.
The piano does serve a greater purpose, too. To bring out the artist buried deep inside all of us.
"I think it is telling people that it's o.k. You can be an artist and it is accepted, even in the middle of Nebraska. That we are an art community and it is just one more way to say, 'Come on. Let's have some fun and enjoy this'," said Loescher.
And that is just what people are doing with their street–side seranades... Roberta hopes the music never stops and everyone pays attention to what's written right above the keyboard.
"You are the music while the music lasts. I like that a lot," said Loescher.
This is the one street in town that is sounding a little bit different and a whole lot better.
Roberta said they do cover the piano if it looks like it is going to rain, but people are always welcome to play it.
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