Carole King’s gift to her high school, a “Beautiful” piano
Sing for Hope, the nonprofit organization famous for placing pianos in public spaces around New York City to allow everyday residents to enjoy music outdoors, has a special gift for Brooklyn’s James Madison High School.
A Sing for Hope piano that was painted by the cast of the hit Broadway show “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is being donated to James Madison High School, which just happens to be King’s alma mater.
“Beautiful” tells the story of King, the singer-songwriter and music icon whose 1971 album “Tapestry” is one of the highest selling albums in history.
The cast painted the piano yellow and included lyrics from the title song. King requested that the piano be given to her old high school.
The “Beautiful” piano is one of 50 that the Sing for Hope organization is donating to public schools in New York City.
The placement of the pianos in schools is part of a partnership between Sing for Hope and the New York City Department of Education and will benefit an estimated 15,000 school children, according to Sing for Hope representatives.
The Sing for Hope pianos will be delivered to their permanent homes beginning in September. The 50 schools were chosen through an application process from among hundreds of schools that do not have a working piano.
Each piano will be delivered with great fanfare, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebratory concerts. Prior to being delivered to the schools, the pianos will be placed in public outdoor spaces for three weeks as part of the Sing for Hope Pianos Summer Initiative.
The Sing for Hope program has a serious purpose, according to the founders.
“We founded Sing for Hope with the vision of ‘art for all,’ and with each year that passes, we have the privilege of bringing these Sing for Hope pianos to more and more children throughout New York City,” Sing for Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora said in a statement. “For both of us, music was the way we expressed ourselves as kids. It was our lifeline, and we want to make sure that every child has the opportunity for creative exploration. These 50 Sing for Hope pianos will ensure that many more voices are heard.”
The pianos were designed by an impressive roster of artists that includes Kate McKinnon, Roberta Flack and the casts of such Broadway shows as “Aladdin,” “Cats,” “Chicago,” “Lion King,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “School of Rock,” “Waitress” and “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.”
In addition to James Madison High School, the Brooklyn schools that will be getting new pianos are P.S. 46 Edward C. Blum, P.S. 532 New Bridges Elementary, P.S. 196, P.S. 194, Highland Park Community School, P.S. 114 Ryder Elementary, P.S. 52 Sheepshead Bay, Brownsville Collaborative Middle School, Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice, P.S. 189 The Bilingual Center, P.S. 319 and AHRC Middle High School.
Sing for Hope is also looking to raise $100,000 to cover the costs associated with bringing the pianos to the schools and maintaining the instruments.
Since its founding in 2006, Sing for Hope has partnered with more than 250 nonprofit organizations to place pianos throughout the city’s parks and public spaces for everyone to play.
For more information on the organization, visit SingforHope.org.
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