While wandering the shores of Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, this June, I heard ethereal piano music that seemed to be coming from on high. I tracked it down. On a hill above the lake shore, a young man was playing beautiful melodies on an old piano in a yard. Sadly, the piano seemed to be set out for trash removal when it still had some life in it. Not far away, an old mattress reclined against a tree, likely awaiting its final rest in a landfill. Although, the piano was missing parts and looked worn, the young man was able to produce lovely music from its keys.
The piano was manufactured by The Edmund Gram Piano Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is probably more than a hundred years old. I have a fondness for old pianos. I learned to play a piano that had once been in a dance hall in my grandparents’ hotel in Sturgis, South Dakota. When the hotel was sold, my parents brought the piano to our house in Kansas. My playing never approached the level of the music I heard this man play, but it wasn’t my old piano’s fault! (See link about the piano company at the bottom of the post.)
6 responses to “Piano Man in Madison, Wisconsin”
Ahhh. I’m currently staying at my sister-in-law’s Extreme Makeover house where they designed a set of “musical chairs” for her dining room that incorporate keys and parts from her piano that burned in her house fire. Seems a shame to let an old piano go to waste.
I’d love to see photos of your sister-in-law’s chairs. The piano in Madison still sounded lovely, though a bit out of tune. But that could be fixed, I’m sure. Maybe someone saw it and rescued it.
Nice find, pics and story. Did you talk to the piano man? Or did you get your captured from afar using a zoom? Nice photos!
I didn’t talk to the pianist. Didn’t want to interrupt the music! (It was a click the shutter a few times with my telephoto lens and then dash.) I did want to know what songs he was playing. I recognized one, but couldn’t think of the title or the composer. I’d be terrible on “Name That Song!” Cathy
These are most interesting photos. I can’t imagine people would just throw out an old piano with their garbage. Too bad you couldn’t record this young man’s playing on a video camera. I’d love to hear that. We’ve always had a piano in our house, now and when we were children. We all had to learn the piano … seems like it’s a cultural tradition. 😉
Absolutely wonderful, well written and touching post Cathy. Thank you for sharing it.
This is so touching.