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Pop-up pianos to bring music to New York City

June 16, 2011 2:37:06 PM PDT

For two short weeks, the streets of New York City were transformed into a stage. The performers were anyone who ever dreamed of playing a musical instrument.

Last year was the debut of the the pop-up pianos, and they're about to return.

Artists are busy putting the final touches on 28 grands and 60 uprights, a total of 88 pianos all with unique personalities. The concept of one beauty was the vision of designer Isaac Mizrahi.

"I love the end result," he said. "I love it. I do think the piano looks really thin...not only beautiful, but takes 10 pounds off this piano...Think monochromatic."

There is a kaleidoscope of other pianos, all gathered and properly dressed by volunteers with Sing for Hope, an organization dedicated to making sure art is available to schools and hospitals in our area that would not otherwise have access.

On June 18, the instruments are placed throughout the five boroughs. One will find a home by the water, while another will reside in Chinatown.

"While the pianos are out in the streets, they get worked on," Sing for Hope's Camille Zamora said. "They have to be kept in good shape, and so one of things that seems like a silly point, all of the pianos can't be painted shut. Because they have to be opened and have to be able to tune inside while on the street."

Once this large scale public art project wraps up, all of the pianos will find permanent homes.

Last year, the Housing Authority Youth Choir got one. They will again this year, and choir director Larry Matthew says the priceless gift made a huge impact on the 93 kids.

"They are very talented but don't have an outlet," he said. "And when they came to the chorus, and the chorus is an extended family, we don't only teach them music, but life skills."

The people at Sing for Hope work all year raising money so they can buy the gently used pianos from wholesalers, some are even donated.

The instruments will be on the streets until July 2nd.

For more information please visit: http://www.singforhope.org/

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