There’s nothing like music to add a touch of magic to your day.
The sun was shining and the laughter of children rang out as Business & Arts NL launched its eighth public piano at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market on May 25. This latest placement perfectly illustrates the goal of the #ComePlayWithMeNL public piano program – to bring the business and arts sectors, and the entire community, together through music.
The scene at the beloved space was fun and lively as Saturday shoppers perused the stalls of local handcrafted goods, while the mouthwatering aroma of dishes from all over the world filled the air. Food and family, music and friends – the perfect home for the new instrument.
After Pete Soucy, Business & Arts NL’s Director of Collaborations, filled the crowd in on the history of the public piano program, Kate O’Neill, Partner at Cox & Palmer, took to the mic to say a few words on behalf of the piano sponsors. Since 2011, O’Neill said, Cox & Palmer’s “BRAVO! – Supporting the Arts” program has showcased and supported the arts in the province. Their sponsorship of the latest public piano is an extension of that support.
“Business & Arts NL’s public piano program encourages friends and strangers to come together through music. We are pleased to include it as one of the many organizations we support. Music has long brought together people in this province, and we are very hopeful that this piano will help to create music and friendships for many years to come,” she said.
“We are sure that the piano and the music that is played on it will delight vendors and visitors…and we are absolutely delighted to be a part of it.”
Pamela Anstey, Executive Director of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market, said one of the things that was always top of mind for market staff was “making this a very public, cultural, fun experience for everyone who wants to come here.”
“And I think that in the adding of this piano, that we are one step closer to making this a more fun and vibrant place even than it already is. This is so exciting and we are so stoked about this,” she added.
The Fitzpatrick family (siblings Linda, Laura, Stephen and their father Cyril) donated the piano and lovingly dedicated it to Violet Fitzpatrick.
“When she married Dad, not only did she bring her green thumb with her, but along the way, Dad couldn’t help but become a farmer too. Together they tilled, toiled, planted, weeded and harvested fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers from my mother’s garden for many, many years,” Linda shared with the crowd.
The artist behind the piano artwork is Julie Lewis of SassyTuna Studio, whose bright, beautiful and whimsical design perfectly captures the spirit and fun of the market. (We’ll have more with the artist in an upcoming post.) From the smiling carrots on the piano legs and the jumble of happy tomatoes that grace the bench, to the rainbow burst of colour along the back, the instrument suits the space to a T.
After it was officially unveiled, Mick Davis and band blew the roof off the place as they christened the piano with Little Richard’s “Lucille,” followed by a few other rollicking tunes – a rocking performance that mirrored the lively atmosphere of the market. (Click here for video.)
Next up, Janna Whelan, Melissa Saunders and Lindsey Wareham, lawyers with Cox & Palmer, flexed their musical muscle as they sat and used six hands to play one piano. (Click here for video.) Afterwards, several other market goers took turns tickling the ivories to the delight of the crowd – the perfect ending to a fun-filled event.
Business & Arts NL plans to unveil three more pianos in the coming months – stay tuned!