If you’ve driven around Lancaster City recently, you may have heard the sweet sounds of Beethoven’s “Für Elise,” Mozart’s “Fantasia in D Minor or someone playing the latest hip hop song. That’s because for the eighth summer “Keys for the City,” an initiative by Music For Everyone (MFE), with the help of presenting sponsor Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, placed 15 decorated pianos at different locations throughout the city. One of those pianos is currently stationed outside of Millersville University’s downtown location, The Ware Center. The pianos will be available to play and enjoy throughout the summer.
Unpainted pianos are donated to MFE and stored at the Benchmark Construction Company Warehouse in Ephrata. The pianos are then decorated by an organization or a group of artists and placed at a sponsor site somewhere in Lancaster. Currently the pianos are thrown away after the summer is over if the artist or the sponsor doesn’t want to keep it, but MFE is in the process of working on upcycling solutions for the pianos that must be discarded.
“Keys for the City” is an initiative MFE founder John Gerdy and a few of its board members developed as a way to bring the community together through music. This year the pianos were installed on May 17, and are available for the public to play any time. For the first time two pianos were placed at indoor locations for the public to play year-round. These pianos will be located inside the Lancaster Amtrak Station and inside Park City Center. The pianos are placed at locations that offer natural cover from the elements, minimal disturbance on surrounding residential areas and some lighting at night.
You can find the pianos at the Amtrak Station, Binns Park, Church World Services, Hotel Lancaster, Lancaster Arts Hotel, Lancaster Public Library, Lancaster Square, Musser Park, Park City Center, Penn Square, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Prince Street Parking Garage, Tellus360, The Ware Center and the YWCA.
The piano located at the Ware Center was decorated by Willow Valley, a retirement community located in Willow Street, Pa.