Painters hit the right notes at Tolan Square


By Joyce Ervin

Audrey Gyolai of the Milan Youth Council took a trip out west last year and saw a street piano.  With the making of Tolan Square, the members who had previously lobbied for a piano were anxious for Milan to have one.  Tom Benoit donated his piano to the city at the urging of former advisor and councilman, Mike Williams.
Once the piano was placed in the square, the youth council members gathered to paint it in bold and bright colors sporting polka-dots, colored squares, stripes, flowers and triangular designs.  Downtown business owner of the Milan Coffee Corp., Ryan Wilmer, commented, when he saw the finished product, “It looks great”
Anxious for the piano to dry was Gary Mitchell, a guitar player that recently located to Milan, who uses the piano each day attempting to teach himself how to play said, “What an addition to the square.”
The kids painted on May 28, a hot and sunny day.  Some of the paint dried quickly allowing handprints of the painters to be placed on the piano bench with names added. 
Youth council advisor, Ann Gee, autographed the bench and then gently eased the cover from the piano keys, and just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, played a few bars of a patriotic song.  She said, “The kids did a great job.”
Joining the group was a new prospective member, Abby Ellwell, who said she had lots of fun and will be accepted as a liaison member at the next youth council meeting.  Also, joining in was founder and past chairman, Harry Ervin, who was home for a visit from Calvin College.
Mayor Michael Armitage said he would like to thank the Benoit family for donating the piano. Adding, the youth council did an amazing job painting the public piano in Tolan Square.  He said, “It’s a great asset to our downtown providing both visual and musical art.”

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan.  She can be contacted at:  jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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