Most of the youngsters enjoying Duvall's last SummerStage concert of the year had probably never heard of the 1968 Great Piano Drop, so were no doubt puzzled as to why a miniature "piano" was lifted up by a drone and dropped into the back field of McCormick Park. But that didn't stop them from instantly becoming engaged in the hoopla, running over to collect the uninjured replica and returning it to the adults in charge.
The Aug. 16 event, which took place during a performance break by Uncle Lumpy's Jug Band Ball with Baby Gramps and John Browne, was the brainchild of Denny Redman, a friend of the late Larry Van Over who held the original "Drop" from a helicopter at his place on Cherry Valley Road. Redman enlisted help from local artist Joe Lee Davidson, who created the 3-pound foam core "piano." Finding a drone that could actually pull it all off, however, proved to be a bit of a challenge. A last-minute search found professional drone operator Kyle Ventler, who said he would be happy to do it.
After all was said and done and the toy was recovered, Joe Lee surveyed his creation, saying he had plans for an even better one for next year. This latest re-creation of the original drop is the third to take place in Duvall over the last several years. The first took place in the Safeway parking lot, and the other at McCormick Park, both using real pianos that had been decorated by locals.
More information on the 1968 Great Piano Drop can be found at historylink.org.
(Photos by Lisa Allen)