“Play Me, I’m Yours,” an international project by artist Luke Jerram, is all about the joy of music. For three weeks In the spring of 2012, this project came to Los Angeles, courtesy of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Thirty pianos were scattered about the county, outdoors and indoors.
In a courtyard with modern stores in historic buildings, people stood and looked at the piano. It was Saturday evening and couples had come to enjoy the restaurants, stores and movie theater. There were three young men about eighteen years old. Everyone kept their distance from a wildly painted piano.
“It’s for anyone to play,” someone said.
“He can play,” one of the young men said about another.
People said they would like to hear him play, but the young man made no move to do so.
“Nobody expects you to be great,” I told him.
He sat at the piano. His playing wasn’t perfect.
Yet the music was magic in the twilight on the Saturday evening. Couples put their arms around each other as they listened. At the end of the song, people applauded.
Here’s a link to a wonderful video. A gospel choir sings at a street piano twenty years to the day after the Los Angeles riots. Elson Trinidad, the choir member at the keyboard, says, “Things have changed in twenty years and we’re going to celebrate the changes.”