Quaker Valley student leads public piano initiative

Monday, January 14, 2019 | 10:21 AM

A recent trip to the Canadian city of Montreal, where pianos have occupied public spaces since 2012, inspired Sewickley resident Hudson Colletti to bring a piece of the tradition to his own community.

With support from his father, Patrick, and Explore Sewickley, Hudson, an eighth-grader at Quaker Valley Middle School, has started an initiative to bring a public piano to the gazebo in Wolcott Park. He announced his “Free the Music” initiative and explained the root of his inspiration to Sewickley council on Jan. 8.

“I think (it) would be great for everyone to play, including students and teachers and even professionals that want to earn money or get their name more well known,” he said.

Amateur musicians and established pianists would have a chance to play publicly in Wolcott Park, said Hudson, who has played the piano for seven years.

Officials suggested the Collettis obtain support from the Sewickley Civic Garden Council, which coordinated the fundraising effort for the gazebo. Council could vote on the idea as early as next month, President Jeff Neff indicated.

Alexandra Lancianese of Explore Sewickley said her organization would help procure a piano. Ideally, she said, someone would donate an instrument.

“We talked about putting a call for donations in the Explore Sewickley newsletter,” Lancianese said.

An executive summary of the Free the Music project, which Lancianese shared, said the piano would give local artists a chance to display their work, using the piano as a medium. Lancianese added that members of an artists’ guild at Sweetwater Center for the Arts could submit designs for the piano.

The summary also stated that the piano would be placed in the gazebo from May through October. If their project is approved, Free the Music plans to collaborate with local musicians to organize performances that coincide with Sewickley events.

The Collettis have “done all of the work leading up to this, they’ve done a really, really good job getting this whole program together,” Lancianese said.

Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.