flag image

Littleton Piano Project underway

June 25, 2011


LITTLETON—Main Street is alive with the sound of music. Last Thursday, the first of what will be four or five pianos around town was unveiled outside of the old Pennocks building now Smooch and Emma and Co. on Main Street.

"Bring your kids down there. Enjoy," said Dave Ernsberger, who suggested the project. "Bring some music to Main Street."

Ernsberger has been a part-time resident of Littleton for a decade now, but has become very involved in community life in the past year since his retirement. In addition to buying the Pennocks building, Ernsberger brought a friend and professional mediator from Texas to town to help quell growing animosity in Littleton. That project is still ongoing, as groups of community members discuss solutions for working towards a Littleton agreeable for all factions of the community. The Littleton Piano Project came out of this initiative.

The inspiration for the public pianos comes from British artist Luke Jerram, who has placed over 400 pianos in more than 20 cities around the world including Austin, Texas, Ernsberger's hometown. The project's name is "Play Me, I'm Yours," and it works to "disrupt people's negotiation of their city and invite the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment," states the website. Littleton's project has a somewhat different aim: to bring people together, and help them to see the positive in any situation.

The inaugural event, part of one of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours, did just that. Dozens of Littleton residents crowded into Smooch, a new smoothie café, and Emma and Co., the consignment boutique next door, with dozens more on the sidewalk outside. Dick Alberini entertained the crowed with tunes on the piano, while Ray Tuck accompanied on the drums.

Most of the first piano, painted by members of The Littleton Studio School, is a bright peach, with blue, yellow, and green accents. In addition to the "Be glad, make music," displayed happily against he upper panel of the piano, decorative flourishes include flowers, Pollyanna's hat, a butterfly, and a birdhouse with the words "Home tweet home" scrawled across.

"I love it. I think it's wonderful," said Glenda Isles, one of the painters who worked diligently to finish the piano in 10 short days.

"Dave suggested Pollyanna, so I wanted to make it whimsical," said Isles of the style. "I wanted to make it look like it could dance and sing by itself."

Ernsberger, who watched the Pollyanna movie for the first time this past weekend, pointed out the parallels between the classic children's book tale, written by Eleanor H. Porter, of Littleton, and the Littleton of today. In the book, an orphaned Pollyanna goes to stay with her aunt in a small Vermont town. Pollyanna teaches her hardened aunt and the disconsolate town the "Be glad" game, which simply asks the players to look for the good in any situation.

"That's the perfect theme for everything that's happening in Littleton, and the new energy that's happening in town," said Ernsberger. "I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking, which is the Pollyanna principle."

The piano will be available for public use in good weather from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ernsberger hopes to have four or five pianos out on Main Street by July 1. The next piano, already in town, is being decorated by Northern Lights, and will be out in front of the store when finished. Other possible locations for pianos include the riverwalk, said Ernsberger. He hopes to have the pianos out until Oct. 1.

Martin Lord Osman
AB Logging
Varney Smith
Armen Kevorkian
Thanks for visiting SalmonPress.com