Good things come to those who wait. Around the holidays, a new project in town will have people humming tunes under their breath when they swing by Hillermann Nursery & Florist.

By then the old piano sitting in the entryway, just to the left when you walk into the shop, will have been refurbished. Anyone who wants to play a tune will be welcome to do so, said Sandi Hillermann McDonald, the music lover responsible for bringing this toe-tapping venture to the nursery.

Spreading the Sound of Music

It’s an idea Sandi picked up while in Seattle on a bus tour of nursery/garden centers. One of them had a piano with a sign on it inviting people to play; the sight sowed seeds in Sandi’s mind.

Offering others the opportunity to publicly play a piano is something I saw on a trip to Europe this summer too. As we hurried to catch a flight from Detroit to England, I noticed a man playing in the Detroit Airport and, coming home from Paris, an accomplished young pianist lit up the concourse with her talent, while a gaggle of students raptly listened.

Finding a piano for Hillermann’s was serendipitous. Recently, Sandi and her husband went to Rich and Judy Kandlbinder’s house to visit with Rich, who’s recovering from a serious health issues. Because their home is a two-story, the Kandlbinders would be making a move to a condo, Judy told Sandi, and she had no idea what to do with her piano, which was proving to be a big “headache.”

Had Good Intentions

It had always been on Judy’s bucket list to learn to play the piano. But life happened and Judy’s lessons never did. Regardless, the piano was dearly loved by the Kandlbinders’ grandkids who’d plunk out tunes on it whenever they came to town.

The piano also served as a lovely spot to display old photos, like pictures of Judy’s late mother, who was a pianist and played the organ at St. Gertrude’s Church in Krakow. “The piano always was a connection to my mom,” Judy said.

The Kandlbinders got the piano 20-25 years ago from a friend who had it in her basement and didn’t really want it any longer. Judy did — there was that bucket list, you see; she took it home and named the upright “Judy.”

Struck Gold

Sandi was excited to hear Judy and Rich were trying to find a good home for their former treasure, and before you could say philodendron, she contacted “A Piano’s Friend” and had them pick it up. A piano tuner then came by Hillermann’s to check out the new/old acquisition, which has to sit for a month to acclimate to the climate of its new environment.

The old gal “Judy” needs a bit of work. Her keys are in disarray — are chipped and yellowed — she needs tuning, and her “dampers will have to be fluffed,” (new felt added so when a note is played it ends appropriately.) “Judy” also has a crack in a board near her backside that needs repair, but within a few months the piano will be ready to accept any Hillermann’s visitor who wishes to run a scale, hammer out “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” or spread Christmas cheer with a yuletide favorite.

Music has always been a source of joy in Sandi’s life, and she has high hopes that the venture will bring fun and festivity to the nursery where harmony and new life abound in all things lush and green.

Over the holidays, Sandi plans to contact student pianists to give the piano a go, and encourage other music buffs to tickle its ivories too.