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Cotati to auction pianos set up on the streets

June 14, 2010 3:42:17 PM PDT
One North Bay town is hoping that music lovers will help bail out a half dozen non-profits that have been hit hard by the economy. Civic leaders in the Sonoma County town of Cotati have placed pianos on the streets, hoping you'll come play them and bid on them.

The six pianos were donated by the Santa Rosa Music Center and placed on the sidewalks of Cotati.

"Cotati is about art, Cotati is about music. Quite frankly I stole the idea from London - London did it," said Andre Morrow of the Cotati Chamber of Commerce.

Each of the six pianos represents a different children-oriented charity and each is decorated by, or inspired by children.

"The business is to let people come on out and play them, bring your choirs out, kids group, anybody that wants to play piano and sing in the street - we are happy to have you," said Morrow.

In a few weeks, the pianos will be auctioned off and the money divided evenly among the six charities. A piano Susana Crofton is playing represents the local boys and girls club. It features drawings of Smokey Robinson, Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington -- all of whom once belonged to a boys club.

"It helps the kids who need us most. We serve children from 6 to 18-years-old in our community in after school and day camp programs," said Micki Jones of the Cotati Boys and Girls Club.

A 'Candyland' themed piano will hopefully save the annual kids day parade. Now that the town can no longer afford it. It's just what 'Lord Licorice' and 'Princess Lolly' would have wanted.

"It feels good and it's good for the kids. It's good for them to have their parade" said El Camino High School student Dylan King.

A hot rod piano came free of charge from Complete Collisions Auto Body Shop in Santa Rosa. And a Tiger Paw piano benefits the Thomas Page School PTA.

"It lets us have different things, like activities, like music classes and assemblies and it lets us have supplies for our classrooms," said Thomas Page school student Riley Moore.

The pianos will be played on stage simultaneously as part of the 30th annual Cotati Jazz Festival on June 19th and auctioned at the piano drop picnic on June 20th where organizers hope to raise perhaps $30,000.

The visual highlight of that day will be the dropping of another piano from a 120 foot crane to demonstrate what can happen to a community if you let these non profits slip through your fingers.

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