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One Tank Trip: Keys For The City

Published On: Aug 17 2011 10:54:41 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 07 2010 06:47:49 AM EDT

Boyertown has its bears.

West Reading has frogs.

Philadelphia, the Phanatic.


And Lancaster?


When we started talking about this, people started saying "Well you guys are crazy. They're going to fall out of tune immediately. They are going to be vandalized." said John Gerdy of the Lancaster-based non-profit "Music for Everyone."

He said it's not about a concert at Carnegie Hall.

This is about the streets of Lancaster, said Gerdy. Yeah, they're going to be out of tune, but it's not about being in perfect tune. It's about the tune in your heart.

You can play until your heart's content on any one of the 20 public pianos scattered about Lancaster's downtown.

To set up "Keys for the City," John thought they'd have to pay for most of the pianos, but was astounded when people just started donating their old ones.

Eleven are under cover. Nine are out in the elements with a portable plastic cover for the rain.

Each one has its own personality.

Including the one that's covered in who knows how many pennies, said Craig Welsh. Do we have a count on that?

But what if you're shy about your musical talent? You are out in the open for all to hear.

Well, Gerdy taught us a little trick.

You may still not sound like Mozart, but it's all in the keys that you pick..

If you don't know anything about playing the piano, you know what you do, said Gerdy. Press the sustain peddle right here and do nothing but play the black keys.

The piano project, modeled after a wildly successful one in London, hopes to demonstrate the power of music.

People that didn't know each other, might not even make eye contact with each other, come by and come around a piano, said Gerdy. Whether it's just banging on it a little bit or playing some Chopin. This is about bringing people together.

Pianos pack quite the creative punch.

So how do you follow it up?

Saxophones for the city?, asked Welsh. Drum sets. That's better. Yeah, drums for the city.

We'll find out next summer..