Photos by Mike Bloom and Tom Bushey
Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey said he had the idea for Keys of Goshen after a trip to Denver a few years ago. When he witnessed a similar event and had heard of other big cities offering events like the International, “Play me I’m Yours” or “Sing for Hope,” in Manhattan, he thought it would be a wonderful project to bring to life in Goshen.
After months of planning, donations of pianos, many sponsorships including main donor Mason’s Marketplace of New Hampton, artists applications were judged Frank Shuback, Sculptor of Middletown, Sarah Fortner Pierson, Printmaker/Painter of Washingtonville and Catherine Sherlock, non-artist judge of Goshen. Winning artists were awarded a stipend which allowed them a budget for paint and supplies.
The group found an appropriate workspace and began transforming the instruments into shareable works of art. Additionally, fine talents of Joseph Cacheiro were implemented to tune the pianos before the results of the project were revealed to the public.
With clouds threatening to open up any second, a crowd gathered on June 11 at the Orange Blossom monument across from Limoncello’s restaurant for the first piano unveiling at the Keys of Goshen event. The rain began, umbrellas offered little protection from the weather, and opening remarks were made by Goshen Art League Member and Project Manager, Gloria Bonelli, as well as Mayor Roddey. The first upright to be unveiled, “Thelonious Monkscape,” by Cody Rounds to cheers and applause as Alec Phillips not only played the tuned piano but also sang.
The group next gathered in front of the Flatiron Building, where artist William T. O’Keeffe’s creation titled, “Goshen Deconstructed” was revealed. O’Keeffe later shared a small Lego man was hidden within the black and white art and Phillips appropriately played, “Riders on the Storm.” This particular piano is also visually appealing not only for the wonderful artwork, but the clear components allow onlookers the ability to actually watch the music being made. Children and adults were mesmerized, watching the mechanics of the key being struck, causing the hammer inside to hit the string then hearing the notes as music.
“Vibrations of the Muse,” by xoJulissie also known as Julie Saltzberg was the next installment at the bus stop. Saltzberg’s fairies are beautiful and whimsical while inviting the public to sit and play a tune.
The fourth piano is in front of Catherine’s restaurant and titled, “Howling Good Time,” by Laura J. Bolle. Various canines can be found on this glorious instrument with most appearing to be having their own song night. In their honor, Phillips performed a rendition of “Werewolves of London,” including harmonica accompaniment with a bit of sing-along fun from the crowd.
Mitch Saler’s, “Farm to Farmer’s Market,” was the final piano to be unveiled near the Harriman Fountain. Taking his inspiration from the Goshen Farmer’s Market, Saler included a variety of farm fresh produce on his piano
By the time the fifth piano was played, the sun decided to stay and those in the Village were able to learn more about Goshen Recreation and the Chess Club, visit with Fluffy the Dinosaur who was roaming around to raise awareness about the XXYYYY or participate in the Sidewalk Chalk Festival.
Mayor Roddey said, “It was a beautiful event. I was so happy at the turnout and the pianos look incredible. Thank you to everyone who helped it come to fruition,” and “I hope that many people utilize the pianos this summer. They belong to the people and are welcome to join in on the fun!”