The Adventures of a Grand Piano

Since not much is happening in Jakarta at the moment, I’ll post a bit more about the music festival I just finished.  We had a concert in downtown Jakarta to finish the festival on Friday night and they brought their own grand piano to the hall.  I thought this was a little bit strange, but the piano was headed back to the downtown branch of the school, so this was just a stop on the way.  Now I don’t have much experience watching pianos being moved, but I’m pretty sure the way they moved this piano was somewhat unconventional, at least by western standards.

They had five guys (just some of the regular guys on staff) turn it on its side, then they removed the legs to get it out of the building.  There was no dolly involved, just a piece of wood with wheels on the bottom. When they got to the front of the building they stood the piano back up again and put the legs back on. They accomplished this by having five guys hold it up while another one crawled underneath to reattach the legs.  They put it on the back of this microbus- imagine a little VW van that only has seating for two and has an open bed in the back.  At this point the piano was standing on its own legs which have wheels at the bottom and I immediately began to wonder how the heck they were going to secure it.  After wrapping the legs with cardboard, they jammed some metal risers the choir was going to stand on under the piano and threw two matressess on top.  A tarp and some strong twine completed the operation.  I asked one of the staff if they were going to drive all the way to Jakarta like that, and when she said yes I remarked that they’d probably just drive slowly the whole way.  She looked at me puzzled and said no, they’d drive regular.  They did indeed, and amazingly the piano arrived before we did and was ready to go for the performance.  It sounded great at first but by the middle of the concert was sounding twangy and out of tune.  Still, it sounded pretty good to me considering the wild ride it had to get there.

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