“Artistic demise” for Florence piano


Marianne VanderSpek Photo


Laurene Denkers thought her piano deserved a more artistic ending to its life than a landfill.

The Florence area woman hoped to her piano, which was built in 1913 and had been in her family since the 1960s, repaired. But the piano tuner said that would take thousands of dollars. “The sound board was cracked and basically only the middle octave was in tune,” says Denkers.

The piano tuner recommended throwing it out or dismantling it for parts, but Denkers didn’t like that idea. “It seemed nice to keep it as a whole, not to fill a landfill with it.”

Denkers and her friend Janice LeBoeuf had a different idea. LeBoeuf and her husband, Paul, have some grassy fields near their home where their sheep wander.

LeBouef had thought about placing an unwanted piano which was at her home on a hill in the field. Her husband said no and quickly found a way to get rid of it.

Then Denkers piano came along.

“We had just been talking informally about having a piano in a pasture,” says Denkers. “When my piano turned out to be unfixable and untunable, we talked about it and said she lets put it in the pasture with the sheep.

“It seemed like a more artistic demise instead of the landfill.”

Denkers says the piano in the field is like a sculpture or a work of art. “This one was built in Windsor…(Pianos) are always beautiful when we took off the front…so you see all the pegs….and the keys it was beautiful.”

Getting the piano to the pasture wasn’t that big of a trick. Denkers paid the movers who brought her new piano to take it to LeBoeuf’s home and the LeBoeufs brought it to the pasture with some of their farm equipment.

LeBoeuf says neighbours really started talking about it after local photographer Darren Miller took a shot of the single piano and posted it on Facebook. “Once he took the beautiful photo and posted them, since then people are asking about it all the time,” she says. “It fell over…and everytime when we were up town people would ask ‘when are you putting the piano back up?'”

The neighbours took matters into their own hands, putting Denkers piano upright and securing it with iron rods and then added another piano, just for fun.

Denkers says, judging by the Facebook photos they’ve seen, their field of pianos has been seen by a fair number of people – far more than would travel Florence Road between the village and Shetland.

And as for the sheep who share the field, LeBoeuf says they don’t seem to mind.  “Right away they would hang around the piano…they seem to like to sort of mill around it and have a sleep there.”