Farewell to Hill City Keys until April 2020

Well, once again it’s time to bid farewell to our beloved painted pianos downtown. For six years now, they seem to have brought countless hours of fun and inspiration to locals and visitors who happen upon them — hard to believe it’s been six years! Always sad to see them go, to no longer hear beautiful music filling the air, but frost and winter weather would not be kind to them.

Yet the happy ending is that they often find new homes and lives somewhere else — one went to a church basement where local musician Orville Peterson will teach little children to play; another will go the Lynchburg Museum as a piece of Lynchburg history!

We’ve discussed the advisability of bringing the pianos back in 2020, in light of the noise and dirt from the current much-needed reconstruction of our innards on Main Street that will continue into the next year or more. But in addition to their efforts to complete the work as quickly and painlessly as possible, the city and English Construction have encouraged us to continue, and our hope is that music can perhaps help to make a difficult situation more pleasant for all of us, just as the Downtown Lynchburg Association’s Art on the Fence project is doing.

So it is time once again as well for me and the Academy Center of the Arts to thank all those wonderful people who make Hill City Keys possible — the donors of pianos, the students at our area schools who do such an amazing job of transforming old pianos into works of art, James T. Davis for so generously providing paint for their work, Tom Gerdy who never says no to helping with whatever I ask, the fellows at the city maintenance department, Jamerson-Lewis Construction and Commercial Glass for the piano shelter at the Academy. And a special thank you goes to Bank of the James for their sponsorship of the program this year. It is difficult to adequately thank T.J. Matthews, our incomparable tuner and technician, and our expert mover, Chad Houk of Perry’s Pianos, for it is because of their devotion to Hill City Keys and their willingness to do so much for less than their normal compensation that we are able to carry on the program.

So while we await the appearance of the new Hill City Keys pianos in April 2020, a reminder that the baby grands we placed at the Lynchburg airport and the Community Heath Center on Fifth Street this year, as well as the piano we put in the lobby of Lynchburg General Hospital, remain for all to enjoy! So let’s keep Lynchburg alive with the sound of music!

LIBBY FITZGERALD

Lynchburg

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