Take note, if last Thursday’s outdoor piano concert by Miki Sawada – dubbed Gather Hear – is any precursor to what the summer has in store for Chelsea Square, then bring on the sunshine.
Sawada is a Boston-based pianist who has embarked on a tour, called the Gather Hear Tour, to play her piano in public places in all 50 states. That effort began in 2016, and now she’s playing all over Massachusetts. Last Thursday evening, May 13, she and her piano arrived in Chelsea Square for an odd night of just what everyone needed.
“I truly enjoyed the recital, it was great to hear classical music versus the usual reggaeton beats,” said Edwardo Chacon. “Two things that I noticed – one, the loud cars, police and ambulance sirens of the city became one with the piano. As the recital progressed, more and more people began to stop or sit and listen, as if the music mesmerized them. Thank you to Chelsea Prospers and the city of Chelsea for bringing this experience to our beautiful city.”
Lee Farrington attended the concert after hearing about it, but he said the most magical part of being in the Square with Sawada and her piano were those that just happened upon the music.
“I would like to add that one of the things that made this concert so special was that after a small group gathered on the lawn and the music began, passersby began to stop, listen and enjoy the music,” said Farrington. “There was a wonderful feeling of community.”
The tour was a unique opportunity to grab an extraordinary musician for some out of the ordinary fun, said Mimi Graney of Chelsea Prospers. The program was brought to the Square by Chelsea Prospers as kind of a trial run of a much-bigger program of activities that will take place in the revamped area.
Graney said a 25-minute tour de force of Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata nearly brought her to tears.
“What I loved most was all the people who live nearby who spontaneously came down to enjoy the music — a young family with a baby and a toddler, a classical music lover, a guy who was just headed home with his take out dinner who stayed, these kids passing by on bikes who stopped and even put a tip into the musicians jar before heading off with their friends,” she said. “With the perfect late spring weather, the glow of the evening light, the music that transformed the space into an oasis — it was just magical.”
Photographer Darlene DeVita said having the music in the Square – particularly on top of the area where the Christopher Columbus Statue once stood – made life almost seem normal again.
“It was an honor and special treat to have Miki Sawada serenade us in Chelsea Square,” said DeVita. “It was a beautiful evening, even the weather. She is a lovely woman, a very talented pianist bringing shared humanity to communities all over Massachusetts with the goal of visiting all 50 states. She engaged with the audience before and in-between songs. I have to say it was even more special during this COVID time. I would say it felt almost normal being outside together listening to music together.” Starting this Friday, the Chelsea Square Fountain will be the location for pop-up activities. It will include micro scaled activities and special vendors from 6-9 p.m. A full schedule of events in Chelsea Square can be found on the Chelsea Record website.