Months of anticipation finally came to an end when Play Me, I’m Yours Singapore 2016 finally arrived. Play Me, I’m Yours is a global movement dedicated to promoting the love of piano-playing that was started by British artist Luke Jerram.
It had its debut in Birmingham in 2008 and has since travelled to major cities around the world. It involves installing pre-loved pianos, lovingly donated by well-wishers, in public places so that the music-loving public can access them. While actively promoting music by making it accessible to the masses, this arts movement has a social angle to it.
The pianos are decorated by artists and designers working with social organisations before being distributed to their eventual locations. At the end of the event, the pianos will either be donated to social organisations or auctioned to piano-lovers and collectors, with 100% of the proceeds going to benefitting charities.
All the pianos were also given a round of free tuning by Zhivko Girginov so that they retained their beautiful aural characters. In Singapore, a total of 25 pianos were decorated by 25 artists working with 25 social organisations and are now located in 25 locations for 25 days.
Play Me, I’m Yours Singapore 2016 was launched on 13 March 2016 at OCBC Square at the Singapore Sports Hub, to much fanfare. Luke Jerram, the man who started it all, flew in to Singapore for this event.
All the 25 pianos that form the focal points of this event were gathered at this location for the special event. Music lovers and spectators alike were able to marvel at the beautiful pieces of art, all having been painstakingly decorated in the preceding weeks by artists and designers working with the social organisations which the individual pianos would be destined for.
It was literally a visual feast for all who were present, as pianos of various designs and colours presented themselves, proud to have been dressed up for the occassion and given a new lease of life.
A blue-and-green piano sporting a Singapore flag and the Merlion and destined for Student Care Services was spotted.
So was another featuring a beautiful potpourri of flowers on the front and flanked by giant sunflowers on the sides. Apex Harmony Lodge is the beneficiary for this floral-themed piano.
A very interesting instrument meant for Just Parenting Association, a welfare organisation dedicated to providing good parenting support to children from low-income families, showed up too. It is predominantly white but punctuated by black-featured friends engaged in sports activities. This piano with a “cheeky mynah” theme will be installed at Jalan Membina for the duration of Play Me, I’m Yours Singapore 2016.
Another beautifully-decorated piano features coloured polka dots against a white background. When examined closely, one realises that each of the 75 polka dots is an artpiece handpainted by the residents at HCA Hospice Care. This piano will be placed at the Woodlands Civic Centre.
The launch at OCBC Square began with special stage performances by varous groups, including Home Shelter Choir and the Nusantara Group. However, the highlight of the day must have been the coordinated performances from 25 pianists!
With the full set of 25 pianos arranged in a neat circle and representatives from the organiser, The Playtent, on hand, the show began. The 25 pianists manned the 25 pieces of art and played familiar tunes in a coordinated fashion. Playing just like a well-synchronised orchestra would, the pianists took the cues from the conductor, Zhivko Girginov, and produced beautiful melodies, including Waltz in A Major, Op. 39 No. 15, by Johannes Brahms and Radetzky March by Johann Strauss Sr.
The day ended with the 25 pianists taking a group photograph. They must have felt a sense of pride from not only having had the chance to display their skills in public but also having played a small part in promoting the performing arts.