Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds
Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

All-weather piano built and donated to Iowa town

It’s no secret that pianos, particularly acoustic ones, need a fairly controlled environment if they are to keep their tuning, sound quality and general build and playability. Even digital pianos can’t be exposed to high levels of humidity or moisture for the risk of electric shocks, short circuits or simply a digital death.

Community pianos are not a new thing but they are generally placed in locations where the elements cannot damage them excessively. They may only be available at specific times or occasions, rather than all year round.

Keeping a piano out at all the times in all weathers doesn’t just sound challenging, but well nigh impossible.

Don’t tell that to Chuck Beham, though, because he has built a ‘weatherproof’ acoustic piano made from salvaged parts and materials which can withstand the rigours of Iowan weather.

Started in 2019, the project aims to give the gift of music to the community by providing a piano for use by anyone. The brightly coloured keys and rescued upright piano casing are due to be on a street in Downtown Boone by mid-November — just in time for probably the harshest weather to do its worst.

Of course there will be upkeep, and it’s unlikely the piano is going to play like a finely maintained concert grand, but sometimes it’s about more than this kind of perfection, and about getting music out to new people, and sharing a labour of love.

Chuck has worked on thousands of pianos since 1972, but unsurprisingly says that nothing compares to this creation. “Give people a way to keep pianos from going to the dump because the case of this piano was a piano that was being dismantled,” Beham said.