Kelowna launches Pianos in Parks program

Eight pianos will be located around the city giving the public an opportunity to take a moment to play a tune.

Many local artists contributed to the decorated pianos including the Rutland Senior Secondary Grade 10 art class

Festivals Kelowna is hoping to hear the sound of music emanating from eight pianos situated around the community this summer.

The Pianos In Parks program was introduced last summer with decorated pianos set up in high traffic pedestrian areas.

This year, the program will see an expansion from five to eight pianos with the new locations being Roxby Park in Rutland, under the dome at the Promontory Green at Kelowna Memorial Centre and in front of the Okanagan Heritage Museum across from the Queensway bus loop.

The other locations similar to last year will include near the City Park pedestrian tunnel, the lakefront walkway near Kerry Park and Jim Stuart Park, south end of the art walk behind the provincial courthouse, and on Cawston Avenue next to the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna, said the city did not think up this public music initiative which has been done in the U.S. and eastern Canada, but the response locally and from other communities wanting to adopt Kelowna’s program has been very positive.

Mills said helping that cause was the video of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler stepping out to play on one of the pianos before the group’s concert last summer at Prospera Place. The video clip of Tyler was also played at the concert that night and it went viral on social media.

“What Steven did certainly brought a lot of attention to our program here in Kelowna,” Mills acknowledged.

Two key supporters of the program this year include Disney Interactive and piano procurer Elmer Epps, manager of Keystone Music.

Also offering support to the program are the Uptown Rutland Business Association, Kelowna Museums and Kelowna Memorial Cemetery, while local artists Cynthia Gunsinger, Karen and Carmen Rempel, members of the RSS Grade 10 art class, Disney Interactive artists and Festivals Kelowna in-house artist Lisa Brown provided their skills to help decorate the pianos.

“Based on last year’s success and the numerous inquiries we have been getting so far, we know people are excited about another year of Pianos in Parks,” said Mills.

“A new pianos map is available on our website (FestivalsKelowna.com) and Facebook page (Festivals Kelowna), or people can simply discover the pianos on their travels throughout the community.

“Remember to capture your ‘Mozart Moment’ by sharing pictures and video clips on social media using #PianosinParks.”

The pianos will remain in their locations from June 16 until mid-September.