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LOCKPORT – Anybody who has an urge to play a tune will have a chance in downtown Lockport this summer.

Donated pianos will be set up outside 12 locations, most of them starting today, for the “Sweet Harmony” project set up by businesswoman Ellen Martin.

The pianos have been painted by local artists with designs chosen by the sponsoring businesses, who paid $350 each and will be allowed to keep the pianos if they wish.

Opening ceremonies at most of the piano locations are set from 5 to 7 p.m. today, with public speaking students from SUNY Buffalo State making the introductions as their final exams for their courses.

The locations include City Hall, where Mayor Michael W. Tucker and the Common Council donated their own funds to obtain a piano.

Martin’s two businesses will have keyboards, too: Sweet Sixteen Cafe, 16 W. Main St., and Sweet Ride Rentals, 51 Canal St.

Martin, highlighting her woman-owned businesses, utilized female themes to decorate the pianos. The one at the cafe uses the Edward Hopper painting “nighthawks,” which features a red blouse and lipstick, while at the bike rental store, a quote from Susan B. Anthony is emblazoned on the piano.

Other pianos will be at Old City Hall, 2 Pine St.; Lockport Cave, 5 Gooding St.; Lake Effect Ice Cream, 79 Canal St.; Julie Muscato Interiors, 80 Main St.; Market Street Art Center, 247 Market St.; and Pallister House Florists, 41 Main St.

McCollum Orchards on North Adam Street is sponsoring a piano in Josephine Carveth Packet Park at Market and Exchange streets. This piano was once owned by the current farm owner’s great-grandmother Josephine McCollum Carveth, after whom the park is named.

The Bar Association of Niagara County expects to have a piano set up outside the Niagara County Courthouse, Park Avenue and Hawley Street, beginning next week.

Miller Pianos, the piano tuning and hauling firm that moved and adjusted the instruments for the Sweet Harmony promotion, is sponsoring a piano that may be placed inside the Lockport Public Library, 23 East Ave.

Painted by Jeff Watkin, the piano is dedicated to Maltbie Babcock, the preacher and hymn writer at Lockport’s First Presbyterian Church in the late 19th century.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com