Margaret River Central hosts public piano trial

Music for all: Riverfresh IGA employee Peter Harker with the antique piano, which he hopes to bring back to the shopping complex regularly. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

Music for all: Riverfresh IGA employee Peter Harker with the antique piano, which he hopes to bring back to the shopping complex regularly. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

The installation of a beautiful antique piano in the Margaret River Central Shopping Centre complex has delighted shoppers and visitors to the CBD, thanks to Riverfresh IGA and piano owner Peter Harker. 

The piano, crafted in 1911 at Australia’s first piano factory, was installed after Mr Harker became aware of the worldwide Play Me, I’m Yours project to provide pianos for public use. 

The program was established in 2008 by artist Luke Jerram and has been successful in cities across the world, with social media helping talented players and stunning locations into the spotlight while entertaining people in public spaces. 

“This piano was originally destined to be painted up and decorated in the style of other pianos in the Play Me, I’m Yours project,” Mr Harker told the Mail. 

“Once I learned of the history behind the instrument and the significance of it, I decided it should stay as it is in its original form.” 

The piano was decorated with some blue panels and accessories to draw attention from passing shoppers.

“Anyone is able to play it, the location is a good one for locals and people visiting, especially with so many musicians and creative types living here and arriving each week.”

Mr Harker said he hoped to bring the piano back for periods of time throughout the year, with “rest time” between appearances to ensure the piano is maintained.

Shoppers Brent and Dave, who were spotted checking out the piano last week said they thought the idea was positive for the town.

“You always have great musos across the road at the tav and just around town in general, it makes sense to have it here and let people have a bash,” said Brent.

“Hopefully it would be safe here inside the shops, it’s a good looking piece of furniture, nice to see it put out to be used instead of locked away in someone’s house.”

Riverfresh IGA’s Kathryn Godridge said the store was pleased to support Mr Harker’s concept and indicated that feedback from the Margaret River Community Noticeboard Facebook community had been “wonderful”.

“With support of Margaret River Central and our local shoppers we hope to have the piano back on a regular basis,” Ms Godridge said.

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