75 pianos were scattered on the streets of Boston for the public to enjoy. Knowing their time in the city was limited, I wanted to preserve the energy and excitement that I observed daily as I passed a piano. This concept evolved into what became “Play Me, I’m Boston’s” — a Bostonian music medley performed at each of the 75 pianos. A fun little tribute to our resilient city.
For 2 weeks in the fall of 2013, the “Play Me, I’m Yours” exhibition came to Boston. The brainchild of Luke Jerram, since 2008, the project has installed over 1,000 pianos in public spaces for people to play globally since 2008. Each piano is decorated by local artists and sponsored by a host organization.
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The 33rd Annual EVVY Awards (1 win, 2 nominations)
– Outstanding Short Video | Winner
– Outstanding Online Media
What started as an idea over some late-night burritos grew into an all-out sprint to make the project happen within a condensed timeline. The concept sounded great, but we had to figure out how to pull everything off in just one week before the pianos would be removed.
Much sleep was lost to late-night sessions spent arranging the medley. Matt and I developed the musical arrangement on the computer and then added a quick vocal track that I could sing along with during the shoot. Next came the logistics of how to efficiently visit each piano. We only had three days on which we could realistically shoot, and tried to plan to finish in only two.
Our first day we used a car to try and hit all of the pianos not easily accessible on public transit. The next day we were up at the crack of dawn again to shoot at all of the pianos in the Back Bay, Fenway, and Somerville before we postponed due to rain until the following morning. We nearly completed our checklist on the third day with the exception of a few stragglers. The piano at Boston Children’s Hospital was in a secure area so we had to return during business hours on Columbus Day — the final day of the exhibition. The final piano was locked up in the Charlestown Navy Yard due to the government shutdown, but on the day the government reopened I instantly rushed there to find it still there, much to my satisfaction.
This project developed into so much more than I ever imagined it would be. Meeting people from all over the world as we wandered the city, watching people of all ages enjoying the music and taking the chance to play one of the pianos, and not to mention discovering new places around Boston. Thank you to everyone who took to my crazy idea and made this adventure possible.
— Brandon Cardwell, Director