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Piano display adds art, music at Wilshire Trails Park

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Fifth-graders got one of the first cracks at playing a piano at Wilshire Trails Park in Gainesville that is the latest addition of public art to strike a chord in the community.

Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy students played “Ode to Joy,” Brahms’ Lullaby” and “Frere Jacques” on a piano bedazzled in paint with a sunflower sprouting from the top end.

Elizabeth Higgins, executive director of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 group, said the piano is one of a handful or more of “Play Me Now” installations coming to public spaces across the city this summer, including on the downtown square.

Fifth-grader Eleanor Ritchie said “a lot of people know how to play” but don’t have access to pianos.

“This is for everyone,” she added. 

Principal Wesley Roach, a bit of a maestro himself, said he hopes the publicly available pianos will inspire a new generation.

Research shows there is a correlation between music and positive brain development, especially in young learners.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said, then sat down at the keys and played a few gospel numbers for the students who sang along.

Julie Butler Colombini, marketing director with the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department, said the piano at Wilshire Trails will be available during the annual butterfly release Sunday, May 20.