Jazz legend Oliver Jones performed a few songs to help inaugurate the first public piano in the City of Côte Saint-Luc on June 29 at Rembrandt Park in District 2. What a wonderful occasion and a proud moment for me as the councillor for the area and for the portfolio of Library and Culture. The weather was nice and we had a fantastic turnout not only from the public, but local and mainstream media - Global TV, CBC and CTV. Here is the Global TV report.
The piano will be available to the public all summer from around 8:30 am to 10 pm. It will be covered with a tarp every evening. Rembrandt Park is located on Rembrandt Ave. near Kildare Rd.
“Côte Saint-Luc is eager to launch the pilot project this summer and gives passers-by the opportunity to try out the new outdoor piano,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “We’re also proud to have a local resident – who also happens to be a jazz legend – help us inaugurate it.”
Public pianos have sprung up around the world in the last few years. Côte Saint-Luc decided to launch this pilot project when resident Louise Silverman donated her late mother’s piano.
A few months ago Rembrandt Avenue resident Phil Matlin approached me about the idea. I immediately approached our Director of Library Services Janine West, Manager of Cultural Development Danielle Bélanger, Associate City Manager Nadia Di Furia. and Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman. Once the first piano donation was in play we were ready to go.
The public piano movement started with the ‘Play Me, I'm Yours’ initiative in the United States. This is a wonderful program that affords us all a chance to people-watch or even sing and dance while someone is playing.”
We are indeed seeking the donation of more pianos. Each of them will be decorated. Let Danielle know at 514-485-6900, ext. 4205 if you have a lead.
We are all very proud to have an icon like Oliver Jones living in our community. He has helped inaugurate public piano programs elsewhere in the city and what a thrill it was for the audience to watch him perform a few tunes.
Our city manager Tanya Abramovitch has always wanted to turn Rembrandt into a "culture park." The back of the chalet is uniquely designed with a semi circle of stairs which people can sit on very comfortably. It was the perfect venue for Oliver Jones as there was not bad seat in the house.