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The 3 Different Generations of Piano Players That Come to Fort Collins


By Zay Reyes | January 29th, 2018

FORT COLLINS — Clashing xylophones, the bellows of kids screaming, combined with water trickling down the statue of eagles sets the stage for many casual pianists in Fort Collins. Pianos can be found downtown and other various locations in the city thanks to the Bohemian Foundation and other charitable organizations, but the piano in the heart of downtown by our ice skating rink is for all intents and purposes the main hub. People of all ages flock to play these beautiful instruments, most of the time with little to no hesitation. This ultimately begs the question, who are these performers?

Photo Credit: Zay Reyes

The Teachers

Jessie Mathews is a local music professor who has been teaching since 2009. He is well versed in the piano, but is mainly a trumpet player as he’s played it most of his life. He is a part of a music group called Guerrilla Fanfare which travels the Northern Colorado area performing. Jessie isn’t originally from Colorado but is fond of the pianos in our town.

I asked Jessie why he thinks the pianos in our town are important he responded with “It makes them(people of Fort Collins) feel things and life more enjoyable.”

The Students

Haven is a 12-year-old girl and Trevor is her 9-year-old brother the duo are advocates for music in public spaces. Trevor made it very clear that he was the better piano player out of the two since he has a couple of music classes under his belt. He likes to play “12 bars blues” which is a lengthy piece. I asked the two why they thought the pianos were a staple to the town. They responded by saying they don’t think Fort Collins would be the same without them.

The two are from out of town. So anytime they make the trip to Fort Collins, they continue to make it a priority to play the pianos whenever they come.

“Inspire people with music.” Trevor said when I asked him why he enjoys playing in these type of public areas.

The Travelers

This performance was distinctly different than the other two. As I listened to the performer I could sense a form passion in the moment. His name was Stefan and he is a 26-year-old man from Serbia. He’s never been to Colorado before, let alone Fort Collins, so when I asked him why he decided to play I was struck by the simplicity of his answer.

“I saw it, liked it and thought; ‘why not I haven’t tried this in awhile’.”

He proceeded to go about how he’s only seen pianos in public spaces when he was in Europe. “People over there value art and music. In America, it’s more mass produced.”

Hopefully this is a sign of change, and more cities and states start to adapt this movement.

Photo Credit: Zay Reyes

It’s no secret that people of all ages around Fort Collins love their pianos. Each piano comes with a unique design to them and are painted by local artists. In fact, the pianos about town program is currently looking for new artist for this year so if you’d like to apply, find out more information here.

For more student publications, follow Beyond the Oval.