GOSHEN—Goshen may soon have some more keys on its street, but not for its doors.
In a project that is being called The Keys of Goshen, Mayor Kyle Roddey has been collecting pianos with the intent to fix, tune, and decorate them for Goshen’s streets.
He says he hopes they bring people downtown and get used for things like piano lessons, concerts, practice, music classes, and by anyone who wants to play.
“I think it will drive new people into the village,” he said.
Roddey put out a call last fall on social media for donated pianos and has collected five of them so far. Most of them do not have benches and some of them have sticky keys or cosmetic imperfections, but he says he’ll try to make them work, and if not, people have offered to donate more.
“They’re a rag tag bunch, but with a little tender loving care we should be in business,” he said.
In coordination with Illuminate Goshen he is working on fundraising between $6,000 to $7,000 to have them repaired, tuned, and painted by local artists chosen by the Goshen Art League.
And while Roddey is the engine behind it, he won’t take credit for the idea.
His sister recently relocated to Denver where they have public pianos on their main drag, the 16th Street Mall, and it sparked Roddey’s memory of when he visited there a few years ago.
“I was already thinking about different revitalization stuff, and I was like ‘Denver has that cool thing,'” he said, recalling how the idea came to him.
He did some research and found other places that were doing it and took notes from them.
A non-profit called Play Me, I’m Yours lists 50 cities across the globe that have public pianos with two in the New York State: Albany and New York City.
Roddey said as far as he knows, these would be the first in the Hudson Valley.
The exact locations have yet to be decided, he said, but thinks three will be in the downtown and two in Goshen’s parks: Salesian and Erie Street.
They could be out as early as mid May but safely by June, he said, and will only be out in the warm months. At night, and in case of inclement weather, each piano will be adopted by someone responsible for covering it.
To bring the project into the next stage he and Illuminate Goshen, the project’s financial sponsor,are hosting their first fundraiser at Limoncello on March 18 from 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and piano music. Admission is $25.
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