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Piano at the Beach Goes Out in Grand Style (with video)

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Piano at the Beach Goes Out in Grand Style (with video)

My favorite things all came together in one gorgeous outdoor location on Valentine’s night….   a grand piano, musicians, dancers, happy people, dogs, and a spectacular sunset. It was the end of life for a piano, and she went out in grand style. Hundreds of spectators enjoyed the lingering sounds of piano music while the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and a spectacular half moon was rising over Half Moon Bay, a gorgeous coastal town south of San Francisco.

When Mauro Ffortissimo brought his piano to the Half Moon Bay blufftops, little did he know it would make the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. Ffortissimo was given the piano in January, but it was too costly to repair to a good working condition. So he gathered some friends and they wheeled it out from his home on the ocean to the blufftops, where it enjoyed it’s remaining 10 days. Ffortissimo called it “Sunset Piano” and played it every night at sunset, ending with a farewell Valentine’s performance. Other musicians, dancers, and even poets joined his performances. I had the honor of playing just post-sunset Valentine’s night and said my final farewell to the piano I knew for such a short time.

It inspired my thoughts on the lives of pianos and the stories they have to tell. A piano is a culmination of everyone who has ever played it. Pianos can give children a music education, can provide solace and comfort during heartbreak or illness, and at other times they are a big part of joyous celebrations. Like everything else in life, they don’t last forever. Like people, they can bring people and communities together in miraculous ways at the end of life. That’s what happened this week in Half Moon Bay.

The coastal town has been my home for the last 24 years. I owned a music school on Main Street for 14 years and have been working on  a global online business out of my home for the last two.  When I owned my local business, I was frequently meeting with locals and business owners, volunteering to play the piano at various events in town, and I felt as if I was an integral part of my community. I didn’t realize until the gathering around the piano how much I missed that feeling. Not only did “Sunset Piano” go out in grand style, but it changed my relationship to my community and, from all of the talk around town, it seemed to have done the same for others.

NEXT: Video of Fire Dancer on Grand Piano

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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11:55AM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

thanks for sharing.

12:15PM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Piano sounded in tune. Was it just cosmetically not functional!? thx

10:42AM PST on Feb 19, 2013

So sad, surely a collection from all who attended could have helped save the piano.

7:18AM PST on Feb 19, 2013


7:02AM PST on Feb 19, 2013

I have a "List" of things to say but stay in tune with nature....

5:54AM PST on Feb 19, 2013

Wonderful music and lovely setting! It'd be really romantic without the crowd LOL but it's really a beautiful way to celebrate the last few days of the grand piano by sharing its beautiful sound with as many people as possible! Thank you for sharing!

10:05PM PST on Feb 18, 2013


1:38PM PST on Feb 18, 2013


1:37PM PST on Feb 18, 2013

what a waste!

9:36AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

So sad that the piano was not repaired by some caring individual, or a large enough collection taken up for it. To me, a piano is like a good should never be discarded or destroyed. They both nourish the soul.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks for sharing.

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