Feature: What is that Piano?
Ever noticed that random, insanely decorated piano in D-9? Mr. Senigaglia tells the story behind this mystery piano in the room he shares with Mrs. Carson.
Senigaglia purchased his beloved piano while still in college, at a church yard sale in San Luis Obispo. The impulse-buy was fueled by his love for playing the piano. The passion began at the age of 17; Senigaglia was bored after the school play he was participating in ended so he began to use the keyboard in his home. He taught himself from a piano book made for five-year-olds bought at Goodwill. Now he can play Beethoven, Mozart, and he even writes his own original pieces. He performs at open mic nights, restaurants, and during passing period as students shuffle to class.
While the piano was unblemished at the time of sale, it was old and cost a meager $40. Noting this low cost, Senigaglia made the decision to creatively decorate the piano with the help of his roommate and friends. He and eight of his friends strapped the piano with bungee cords to the back of a pickup truck and drove down the freeway. Senigaglia notes, “it was tipping side to side, it was very dangerous.” However, the risky move succeeded.
They lugged it into his tiny apartment and from then on he requested that his friends and anyone who entered the apartment sign or mark the piano in an artistic way. Countless signatures, poems, drawings, paintings and wax designs give the piano a personal touch. Senigaglia’s favorite is a piece he added himself, a dripping waterfall of pastel pink, yellow, and blue paint. The piano is a sight to see, with all the vibrant colors and various graphic designs.
Posted on the piano is a picture of the keys at the time of the purchase. Now many of the left keys are speckled with colored wax that dripped down from the covered piano top. Senigaglia explains that he has wanted to move the piano into his classroom ever since he came to M-A, but never found the time. He transferred the piano from a storage unit into D-9 at the beginning of this year with the help of hired movers. Senigaglia estimates that the piano is most likely over one hundred years old, and the movers added that it was the heaviest piano they had ever moved.
The old piano is playable, though not in the best condition. Senigaglia consulted a piano tuner who reported that the strings were too fragile to be tampered with. While Senigaglia uses the piano for practice often, he does note that the F keys stick and has to flick them up each time they are played. Despite its condition, he hopes to keep this piano forever as one of his only college mementos and hopes to possibly pass it down to his children in the future.
“For forty bucks, who cares what we do with it!” Senigaglia’s carefree attitude in college led to the production of the masterpiece that sits in his room today. The decorated piano stands out in the would-be-normal M-A classroom. The calming musical notes and unique artwork is definitely worth spending the time to check out.