Now in its third year, there’s been more “spontaneous piano playing” on the St. Helena Street Piano, based in Lyman Park next to St. Helena’s City Hall, than in the past two years.
That’s according to Bill Ryan, co-founder of St. Helena Street Piano, and one of his “piano buddies,” Francisco Ortiz, a clerk at the St. Helena Post Office. In his note to the Star, Ryan said, “Considering that I caught these (took these photos) while I was close by – there has to be hundreds of other players, too.”
The St. Helena Street Piano made its debut in Lyman Park in August 2017 and the following May it had a new acrylic coat of paint, courtesy of Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School art students under the direction of Kendra Kelperis. The students created the design, based on a New Orleans jazz theme.
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St. Helena’s Craig Bond helped find the 1974 piano, donated by Napa resident Barbara Lyle; it was tuned by Terry Miller. Dave Lider created the cradle for the piano, so it could be easily moved.
Sometime in mid-June 2018, disaster struck when an unknown vandal damaged the piano, ripping out 17 hammers, making it unplayable. By July, helped with $350 in donations from the community and the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce, a new piano was installed at Lyman Park. Terry Miller tuned it, Dave Lider helped install it, and local high school students and parents painted it.