Arts, News, Sports

Pianos And The Pan American Games

The "Ecuador" piano near Queen's Park
The “Ecuador” piano in the courtyard near Queen’s Park circle in Toronto. Image by TKN photographer Greg Robinson.

The Pan American (Pan Am) Games are coming to Toronto, Ontario in 2015.

The Games are like the Olympics, but only athletes from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean compete.

It is different from the Olympics because it celebrates culture as well as sports. And that’s where the pianos come in.

The Games don’t start for another three years, but last July a Pan Am project called Play Me, I’m Yours, put 41 painted pianos around Toronto.

The pianos stood for the 41 countries and protectorates belonging to the Pan American Sports Organization. (Protectorates are countries that have their own government but also get protection from stronger countries.)

Each piano was decorated by an artist who lives in Canada but was born in one of the 41 countries.

The pianos were placed in public parks, streets and squares.

Play Me, I’m Yours invited everybody to play. It didn’t matter if you were piano teacher or could only play Chopsticks.

“We wanted to do something that was joyous and would show off our (Toronto’s) cultural diversity,” Iris Nemani, Producer, Arts and Culture for the Pan Am Games told TKN. “One of the reasons Toronto was chosen to host the Games was its diversity.”

On the Play Me, I’m Yours website you can choose a piano and read about its “story” — what happened to it while it was in the public space. For instance, if you click on “Royal Ontario Museum” you will see a photo of the Bermuda piano, created by artist Joan Butterfield. You’ll also see posts from people who connected with that piano in some way. Some people have also posted videos showing the piano being played.

The Play Me, I’m Yours project has been to many other cities around the world including London, England and Perth, Australia.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Each piano in this project sat at a different location and had a unique design. Imagine you were chosen to design one of the pianos. Where would you put it? How would you design it? Why did you make these decisions?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
Why do you think this project was created? Why do you think pianos were chosen to be featured? Why do you think the pianos are decorated? Why were they placed outside in public spaces?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Alliteration
Alliteration is when the first sound or letter is used in a series of words. One example of alliteration in this article is: “The pianos were placed in public parks, streets and squares.” The ‘p’ sound is repeated four times in this sentence.

Using four examples of alliteration, describe your favourite recess activities.