A walk down Johnson Drive this summer will have the added serendipity that comes with running across a decorated – and playable – piano in front of Brothers Music store.
The piano has been painted specifically for Mission with a Johnson Drive motif that reflects its placement for the summer. Pianos on Parade has a much smaller footprint this summer than it did in 2015. Mission will be one of the few locations for a public piano on display.
Wednesday morning Lee Crouse of Keys 4/4 Kids, the organization that sponsors the pianos, was on hand with artist Amy Akin for the unveiling. Akin painted the piano to show Johnson Drive and Brothers Music.
Terah Wieland owner of TNotes Music Studio in Mission and Natalya Parish, local Mission musician and regular performer at the Mission Farm and Flower Market also were at the unveiling to be the first musicians to play on the piano. Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt introduced the pair saying nothing is “more pleasant to the ear or soothing to the soul” than the piano.
Akin said she loved that “there is preservation going on” on Johnson Drive that fits with the restoration of the pianos in the program.
Keys 4/4 Kids has a mission to “help children believe in themselves,” Crouse said. It has placed 14 pianos in the last year with children in inner city neighborhoods who would not normally be able to afford them.
Last year, the program placed more than 60 pianos around the metro and several in northeast Johnson County. This year only a handful are appearing, but the larger program is expected to make a comeback next year, according to Crouse. The city of Mission is the sponsor for the Johnson Drive piano.