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Local piano instructors tickle the ivories downtown

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

Three local piano experts — Susan Wilson, Connie Burleson and Jeremy Vess — manned three different pianos along Main Street to offer piano tips, suggestions and lessons to anyone who passed by on Saturday.

The free lessons were a part of Come Tickle Our Ivories, the public art project responsible for the seven hand-painted pianos displayed around downtown Salisbury. Each piano was decorated by Rowan-Salisbury high school students.

Wilson, who has been teaching piano in the area since 1995, was stationed at Maia’s Fashions on Main Street with her daughter, Gabby.

“She came as my sidekick,” Wilson said.

Gabby said the two picked that particular spot for a very special reason. The piano outside Maia’s Fashions is titled “Starry Night in China Grove,” and was decorated by students at South Rowan High School.

“Mommy went to high school at South Rowan,” she said.

“That was a long time ago,” her mom laughed.

The two spent the morning doing exactly what was advertised — practicing the piano.

Gabby worked on “a candy song” in her piano book, while her mother helped her work on her technique.

Gabby said playing a piano outside was fun, but it did have its special challenges, including dirty keys, mosquito bites and loud traffic passing by.

Strains of melodies from “Phantom of the Opera” floated across Main Street from Connie Burleson, who was stationed outside Salisbury Wine Shop. A man sat on a nearby bench, enjoying her performance, while others stopped to listen to her play.

“People like that they’re walking uptown and hearing live music,” Burleson said.

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