Music and Art Converge in Bennington’s Piano Project
The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) in collaboration with Summer Sonatina International Piano Camp, announces the Piano Project, to take place on Saturday, July 27, at the four corners in downtown Bennington. Festivities begin at 10:30 a.m.
This year marks Sonatina’s 50th anniversary, and to celebrate, Polly van der Linde, director of Sonata, Intermezzo and Summer Sonatina International Piano Camps, has commissioned original music by Joel Martin, composer and Sonatina faculty member. The world premiere of Martin’s new composition, written for four pianos and chorus, will be performed by Summer Sonatina campers.
“This year, being our 50th, we wanted to do something very special,” says van der Linde. “We plan to utilize the Piano Key Compass [at the intersection of Routes 7 and 9] as our ‘stage,’
and the piece will be performed with amplifiers and much festivity.”
To add a little extra color to the event, van der Linde reached out to VAE executive director Matthew Perry. Various community members donated four pianos to the VAE. Perry then matched up artists Kim Wassick, Rhonda Ratray, Mary Jane Sarvis and Greg Winterhalter, respectively, with a piano to paint for Sonatina, Gamers Grotto, Elm Street Market and Bringing You Vermont, each of which will host one of the pianos following the opening celebration. From then on, each instrument will be available for use by anyone, rain or shine.
“The project is a win-win because we are not only saving old pianos and breathing new life into them, but we are commissioning artists to paint and compose music on them and bringing them to the public to enjoy, whether playing or listening,” Perry says.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Vermont Arts Exchange, one of Vermont’s premier nonprofit arts organizations, long located in North Bennington. “Partnerships are the cornerstones of our work and we are happy to form a new one with Sonatina in the year we both celebrate milestones,” added Perry.
To van der Linde, the timing was particularly apt. “I wanted to celebrate our 50th year with any other businesses that had anniversary celebrations,” she says. “Doing things together in this community builds strength, hope, excitement and unity. Music and art is a natural fit.” For more information about the Piano Project, contact the VAE at 802-442-5549