I remember the first time I saw it. As a five year old, climbing the stairs to the stage seemed like a great feat. There it sat on it’s huge metal casters, hidden beneath it’s quilted cover. I remember pulling back the black tarp and opening the lid. When I pressed the keys it seemed like the sound filled the entire hall. My first notes summoned an angry Minister of Music (the late Anita Tritt) who quickly scolded me for banging on her grand piano.
Little did we both know then, I would go on to be asked to play that very piano for church functions, memorials, and retirement parties. Every Sunday during my teenage years you could find me seated at the Baldwin, working out anything from original compositions to the slow part of Eric Clapton’s Layla. Sometimes I’d have to skip Sunday school (much to my parents’ dismay) just to spend some extra time at the keys.
Now 25 years later, anytime I’m in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I find my way to the church I grew up in. There on the same stage still sits the Baldwin. The stage doesn’t seem quite as high now, but the sight of the piano still makes me catch my breath. The keys are cracked and yellowed today, and she (?) wears her scratches and dents proudly. The action is perfect like a worn in baseball glove. For a moment, I’m five years old again - and then I play.
Myers Park Baptist Church 2019