Your ‘Keys to the City’ are in downtown Grand Junction |

Your ‘Keys to the City’ are in downtown Grand Junction

Jeremy Herigstad
Special to the Free Press
Courtesy photo
Staff Photo |

When your new boss (of one month) gets inspired to start a street piano project in Downtown Grand Junction, you not only jump, you say “How high?”

Such was the case in the fall of last year when newly hired Grand Junction Symphony Executive Director Kelly Anderson proposed the idea to place donated, gently-used upright pianos along Main Street. Perhaps the inspiration came from his time in Miami, where “Pop Up Piano Miami” has been invading the streets of South Beach for several years, or quite possibly in his travels to London, New York or Los Angeles where the “Play Me, I’m Yours Street Pianos” have been touring the globe since 2008.

Fast forward to March 2013: Planning for “Keys to the City” was in full swing and only one thing was missing — pianos. The Grand Junction Commission on Arts & Culture provided the initial funding to not only help purchase those pianos but also because they believed in the organic idea of bringing music to the masses. Through Craigslist postings, emails and searching around town, four pianos were obtained, one was painted a shocking yellow; and last Friday, May 3, these pianos made their appearance on Main Street with the help of this writer, GJSO Music Director Kirk Gustafson, Anderson and a horse trailer.

The “Keys to the City: Street Piano Project” is happening right now and goes through Sunday, May 19. Take the opportunity to head downtown and perform at your leisure. Can you find middle C? Are you a “Heart & Soul” expert? Does Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” roll off your fingers? Whatever your answer, you have been given the keys to the city, no strings attached.


In addition to your opportunity to tickle the ivories at your leisure, several performances have been planned featuring local musicians and singers from the Grand Junction Symphony and Colorado Mesa University.

On Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m., the piano in front of Main Street Bagels on Sixth & Main will host the first “Keys to the City” concert. Vocalists Anderson, Willey Marooney, Abby Calvert, Allyson Connally, Levi Willis, David Siemens and Kimberly Watkins will perform selections from Gilbert & Sullivan, “They Keep Moving the Line,” “Lilacs,” “God Help the Outcasts” and many other songs. Horn player Nicholas Gledhill will perform a Paul Dukas concerto.

Friday, May 17 from 5-7 p.m. at the piano in front of Wells Fargo on Fourth & Main will feature the first of two open call sessions. If anyone would like to perform, regardless of skill level, arrive at 5 p.m. to sign-up. Also, Anderson along with vocalists Mat Coronado, Jordan Christie, Sam Hebenstreit, Libby Goehl and Chris Arroyo will be performing “Over the Mountains,” “Questo,” “Candide,” “Les Poissons” from “Little Mermaid” and many other selections. Celtic fiddle music featuring GJSO violinist Alisha Bean and violists Andrew Krimm and Stephanie Mientka will also be performed.

On Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. & 2-4 p.m., at the piano in front of Main Street Bagels, several students of local piano teacher Lisa Bush will be performing.

The final concert of the “Keys to the City” project will be from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, May 18. The piano in front of Page Parsons Jewelers will be the final location. The second open call opportunity will be available that night. If anyone would like to perform, arrive at 5 to sign-up.

Additionally, Anderson with vocalists David Siemens, Jordan Christie and Libby Goehl will be performing “My Heart Goes On,” “Danny Boy,” “Guys & Dolls” and many other selections. An encore of Celtic fiddle music featuring GJSO violinist Alisha Bean and violists Andrew Krimm and Stephanie Mientka will also be performed.

A special thanks to Catie Mientka for organizing the concert performers and for providing piano accompaniment at all performances.

Don’t miss this rare, one-of-a-kind musical project now through May 19. Strike a note, perform your own tune or attend a concert. Just get involved!

For updated information or any changes due to inclement weather, check the Grand Junction Symphony’s Facebook page.

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