Art Ferri plays piano at the Silver Threads Victoria location shared with the CNIB at Bay Street and Richmond Avenue in Victoria. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Piano Ferri donates Oak Bay painted instrument to Cool Aid

Cridge Centre, Pacifica Housing also gain a little music from Oak Bay’s painted pianos

Art Ferri plays piano a handful of times a week at the Silver Threads adjacent to the CNIB on Bay Street.

Just this week, Ferri found out he was allowed to play the grand piano in the atrium of the Patient Care Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital and added it to his weekly rotation. Struggling with some health challenges, including defeating cancer more than a decade ago and macular degeneration – both sites are part of his regular routine.

Piano was always part of his schedule in Ottawa before moving to Oak Bay last December.

This summer he made the five pop-up public pianos painted by local artists a part of his new routine. Pianos painted by Artists Gillian Redwood, Jim McFarland, Tanta Pennington, Jonathan Gleed, and Robert Amos were installed at Turkey Head, Loon Bay Park, Cattle Point, Willows Park and Estevan Village. He played each of the five pianos this summer and fell in love with the one at Willows Beach, near his home.

Ferri says he’s been good with money, making more than he could use, and before coming here purchased an electric keyboard for a Kindergarten class in Ottawa. It was easy to transfer that philanthropy to Oak Bay when some of the pianos were auctioned off to help fund the program next year.

“I don’t need this money, so when I see an opportunity to help others, with music especially, it’s wonderful.”

This year, arts laureate Barbara Adams offered an option to lay down $1,000 up front to have an instrument donated to a cause.

“It’s a wonderful idea. Music is life,” Ferri said. “I was born at a time when your (general practitioner) delivered you at home, my father being a wonderful violinist I heard music every day at home until I married. So for me life without music is no life.”

The Willows Beach piano, painted with a scene of the beach itself, is destined for Swift House, Cool Aid Victoria supportive housing. The building, with Cool Aid’s first apartments, opened in 1991, and today is a 49-unit complex designed for people who have struggled with homelessness and maintaining a tenancy. The idea was for residents to live independently, with the support of staff trained and experienced in working with challenging behaviour.

Two other pianos went to good causes during the public art committee’s piano cabaret and fundraiser in October.

Mike Miller, president of Abstract Developments, purchased a piano for the Cridge Centre for the Family, while an anonymous donor purchased one for a Pacifica Housing site in Nanaimo.


 

@OakBayNews
cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

Students urged to get bus passes

Students needing to take a bus starting in September are urged to… Continue reading

Pedestrian struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Technical rescues on the rise for local fire departments

Rescues allow firefighters to use different skill set

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read