A light morning shower caused a few of the piano keys on the piano that resides outside of Windwalker Underground Gallery to stick. Only, you couldn’t really tell as 97-year-old Dorothy Osborn tickled the ivories to an old honky tonk song. Though the sticking keys were a minor cause of frustration, she never let it affect her playing.
Dorothy, who grew up on the family farm just outside of Olivet, was making one last stop at the piano before heading to her winter home in Clearwater, Fla. She and her husband of 73 years, Marvin, come back to the family farm each summer.
It was this most recent visit that Dorothy discovered Charlotte’s newest pieces of public art. Having played piano for nearly 90 years, she finds that the public pianos fit her playing style, which she refers to as stride. Though she never played professionally, Dorothy said she still plays two or three times a week, which is very apparent if you ever hear how smooth her honky tonk sound is.
She said she played in a band in high school that would travel to other area high schools to perform, but never took her music beyond that. She still loves to play for fun, however. She has played several public pianos in the Lansing area, and her adopted home of Clearwater. She said she was excited to see the movement catch on in Charlotte.
“I remember mother coming into Charlotte and tying the horse to the post downtown,” Dorothy said. “We’ve come home to the farm every summer for the past 20 years.”