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A public piano is coming to downtown Sayville

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The new normal is looking better and better in downtown Sayville.

Restaurants and shops are back at full capacity. There’s more smiles than masks. And new businesses are popping up almost every other week.

Later this month, comes the cherry on top — a public piano.

The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with local recording artist and music teacher Jack Licitra to set up the Painted Piano periodically throughout the year. The chamber is sponsoring the “Music Paints the Night” series, which kicks off Thursday, July 15, at Five Points Cafe, 1 Main St.

Licitra will lead a music jam at the popular restaurant from 5-9 p.m. The piano will move up Main Street on Friday to Mini Monet Art Studio‘s new location, 122/128 Main St. The public is encouraged to visit the piano on both days and post their photos to social media using #onthepathpiano.

Licitra said the public piano idea germinated from his students’ live performances on Main Street this spring.

“The community was so excited to have live music and watch kids express themselves,” he said.

Sayville chamber President Eileen Tyznar noted how deeply affected community arts and music were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the public piano is another example of the community’s resilience.

“Now that events are coming back, Jack and I really wanted to showcase the piano as a way of bringing people together in a universal language — music,” she said. “Individuals will be able to showcase their talents and tickle the ivories, and just have sheer fun with it. The laughter alone will be music to our ears.”

Sayville high schoolers Noelle Bartolotta, Jimmy Herbst and Sophia Pensabene — all students of Sayville schools art teacher Evan Hammer — painted the piano at Licitra’s South Bay Arts Pharmacy music school in Bayport.

The piano’s lavender color and mural were inspired by Sayville resident and artist Natalie Duplessis and the piano honors the memory and is a display of gratitude to longtime Sayville music and art teacher Gail Harper, who passed away last Christmas Eve.

“Gail Harper was a local, beloved and longstanding teacher of the music and arts and doing this in her honor was just perfect,” Tyznar said.

Public pianos are used to entertain and united people in communities and cities around the world.

“It’s a symbol of art and creativity, and the cultural prowess of the community,” he said.

Photo above: Facebook / Jack Licitra