A community piano has been installed in the heart of Chipping Norton and is another project by the Town Council to improve the town’s centre and increase its vibrancy. The piano, which is available for anyone to play, has been installed in Withers Court, the covered walk-way between the Town Hall and the Co-op.
The piano was donated for free to the town by Carolyn Iley from Ascott under Wychwood; a temporary home was provided by Stone Farm, Lidstone; and it was transported for free by House and Carriage Removals. The Town Mayor is indebted to Claire Bradshaw, Director of Cotswold Stage School, with whom she worked closely on the project.
The Town Council commissioned four ‘A’ level art students from Chipping Norton School to paint the piano to personalise it. The students are all now embarking on their next phases of work and education: Zoë Robertson (Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth); Seb Harvey (Animation at Falmouth University); George Ford (now working at Jodie Douglas Framing and on commissions) and Ethan Bissett (History of Art at Nottingham University).
Throughout the project the students were supported by artist, Myrica Jones. Talking about the project the students said: “This project has been a great opportunity for us to work on a large scale piece that will be enjoyed by the local community, and has meant we can leave something behind in the town we grew up in before we go to university or commence work. Our design aims to capture the beauty of nature around the town in a vibrant and playful way”
The Mayor said: “There are so many people in and around Chipping Norton who are involved in music and performance or who are learning the piano, and there are a huge number of fantastic choirs, as well as some top pop stars and of course music festivals: it’s an area rich in musical talent and I hope the piano – in a small way- helps to illuminate that richness. We invite residents, teachers and visitors of all ages to have a tinker or use it to practice performing in public without the pressure of a formal setting. I’ve had great encouragement from the town’s piano teachers and we know music brings huge joy and that’s what we need now”.