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Harrison Ave. ‘street piano’ brings music downtown

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — If you’ve heard a piano being played on Harrison Avenue lately, you’re not alone; an old piano has been placed outside the Martin Theatre for public use.

The words ‘PLAY ME’ are spelled out across the top, written in old theatre marquee letters.

Panama City resident, Matthew Bowles, is one of many who has taken a turn on the outdoor instrument. 

“Not everyone has them available,” said Bowles. “Having something like this gives people the opportunity to play.”

That’s the idea; The Martin Theatre’s Assistant Executive Director, Diney Radcliff, came up with it. 

“I’ve seen it in Atlanta before and in Boston,” said Radcliff. “They have street pianos, so I said let’s try it.”

The Theatre’s Executive Director, Barbara McMinis, agreed. 

“It brought art into the most interesting places,” said McMinis. “We love it because it’s right here in this alcove, the music it just, it goes across the street.”

You can hear it down Harrison Avenue; kids trying it out for the first time and adults bringing back memories.

“A lot of times they’re trying to remember songs that they learned as a kid,” said Radcliff. “They’ll stay until they figure it out, so it’s nice.”

The piano will be outside the Martin Theatre through the holidays. 

When construction begins on the theatre, they hope it will be pushed up the street for music to be made once again.

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