Donated pianos bring music to Yonkers seniors, children

Peter D. Kramer

The Ron’s Trucking truck took just 10 minutes to lumber the 2 miles from Normandy Road to Curran Court in Yonkers, but its cargo’s journey has a long story to tell.

It’s a story of patience and perseverance, of precision and improvisation, of listening closely and trying not to hear. It involves late-night practice, a patient-but-weary mom, steep stone steps, a side-hustling lawyer, a powerful crystal and an 80-year-old woman who swears she’s not the life of the party. 

Here in Yonkers this summer, a simple question led to an remarkable act of generosity, one that unfolded 16 times over: Somebody asked for a piano, and someone had one to give. 

We followed one of those donated pianos — from donor to movers to tuner to its new home in senior housing — and listened to the stories it told along the way.

This is the story of a piano changing hands.

A piano that was donated by Carolann Petnuch of Yonkers is played by Curran Court Homes resident Susan Striplin in its new home at the senior community in Yonkers July 27, 2021.

Awash in uprights

Could we have our piano back?

Residents at Curran Court senior citizen housing — part of the sprawling Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers — this spring told Wilson Kimball, the agency’s new president and CEO, that their old piano, removed during renovations two years ago, had been thrown away.

As they emerged from the pandemic, they looked forward to gathering again in their community room. They missed the music.