The piano that brought a college together

If you go to Durham College (DC) you’ve probably passed the Pit and heard a student playing a familiar song. No doubt you’ve stopped and wondered, why’s this piano here? Former Associate-Dean, Charlotte Hale, of Media Art & Design, might have an idea.

Back in 2012, the piano was originally apart of DC’s choir and was kept in room C113. During her free time, Hale would go down to C113 to play piano until she thought of the idea to move it to the Pit when it wasn’t in use.

Occasionally Hale would get facility staff to move the piano from the choir room to the Pit for Hale to play in front of an audience.

Hale along with faculty were not sold on the idea of keeping the piano in the Pit, especially knowing there were multiple offices and classrooms that surrounded the area.

While the piano was in the Pit during the choirs downtime, Hale along with President, Don Lovisa, say that they saw an abundance of staff including students sit down and play.

As a result, DC purchased a piano specifically for the Pit. Hale was given five hundred dollars, and searched local piano and clock warehouse, TELEP.

Hale says that the piano they bought received so much use immediately that it was in rough shape quickly. Luckily enough Debbie White, faculty of Human Resources, donated her family’s piano to DC.

Lovisa says White’s original piano was great, but it needed DC’s own touch, and that’s when Fine Arts program coordinator, Sean McQuay gave Lovisa graduate Kevin Cormier.

Lovisa only had one demand, which was to incorporate ‘I heart DC’ into the design of the piano. Cormier used his graffiti-style art to paint a piano that DC members travel through on a daily basis.

“You cant put a price tag on what happens to you when someone’s playing beautiful music, it lifts you up and that to me is the purpose of music,” says Hale.

The piano has proven to be so popular, that recently, the DC Whitby campus purchased and had one installed as well.