If you hear music in the air, it could mean that Play Corvallis, Play has returned, and that means the Corvallis Imagination Music and Arts Festival can't be far behind.
For the past two weeks, 10 decorated pianos have been played by community members of all ages in locations such as the downtown riverfront, Block 15 and the Oregon State University campus. Six of the pianos feature newly attached hand instruments, like little drums, shakers and even a ukulele.
Volunteers, many of who fostered the pianos in their homes since last year, wanted to make the instruments a more integral part of this weekend's annual celebration of music and arts at Bruce Starker Arts Park, organizer Lee Eckroth said.
"Local citizen Becki Goslow suggested the idea of pulling all of the pianos together into one place for one grand concert at the end of Play Corvallis, Play," Eckroth said.
Eckroth loved the idea.
So it is that the Baby Grand, the Beaver Believer, Chalkboard, Underwater and other themed pianos will travel from the streets to the stage for a special performance Saturday afternoon. The event is sponsored by Town & Country Realty.
Lauren Servias, a pianist and music instructor at OSU, will direct and play in the 10-piano grand finale concert. She will be joined by nine other local artists she recruited, Eckroth said.
Eckroth said most music written for multiple pianos stops at five, "so we're kind of doubling that, which adds a fun factor.'
The group of pianists will play works as varied as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "The Stars and Stripes Forever," songs from the musical "West Side Story" and more.
Play Corvallis, Play will present awards to some community members who played the pianos and submitted their photos and videos to its Facebook page. Three winners will be announced at the concert in the categories: best video, best photo and best chalkboard piano design posted to Facebook. The winners receive gift certificates from Gracewinds Music.
In addition to the new piano performance, the fourth annual Corvallis Imagination Music and Art Festival offers more live music Friday night and all day Saturday.
Eugene folk band Gumbo Groove will play, followed by award-winning rhythm and blues group The Rae Gordon Band.
"She (Gordon) has a fantastic voice and she is going to bring it Friday night, which is why they are the headliner," said Dave Lundahl, the festival's founder.
The Barker Gypsies of Philomath perform Saturday afternoon. They also have an artist booth featuring their interactive community art project, "A People's Map of Corvallis." Festival guests can create artwork for the project, Lundahl said.
Seattle-based alternative duo Animals of Grace will also play Saturday. Lundahl's daughter, Erika, is the vocalist and 12-string guitar player in the duo.
Inka Jam, the Strange Tones and the Red Horse Band round out this year's lineup of bands leading to the final act, popular mid-valley rock and roll band Fate 55.
The festival includes an arts and craft show with artist booths and vendors available around the park Saturday morning, as well as a Kids' Art Zone sponsored by Working with Waves. The group teaches children about science through art activities, Lundahl said.
The Kid's Music Creation Zone, where kids and adults can play drums and guitars, also returns this year.
The festival is a free event filled with music, art, food and drink vendors for the community to enjoy, but donations are accepted. The money goes to a great cause that resonates with people, Lundahl said.
"Every dollar dropped in the donation bucket at the gate and 15 percent of the arts, crafts, food and beverage sales get donated to the Corvallis School Foundation to support K-12 music and art education," he said.
Last year, the Corvallis Imagination Music and Arts Festival raised about $4,500 for the foundation.
"The end result is benefiting kids in the school district, and that keeps us going," Eckroth added.