Saturday, July 28, 2012

The piano and my past Some people say the best things in life are free. In many ways, I find it true. A few days ago, I dropped the Yupangco building along Buendia looking for an electronic keyboard that a brother-in-law wanted to buy. The Yupangcos, I learned are one of the biggest dealers of musical instruments in the Philippines. Upon entrance to their grand store, what immediately caught my eye was this grand piano, that was extraordinarily large. That was the first time in my life I saw such grand piano of such size, "in the flesh", so to speak. I was so excited I had my picture taken right beside it, like perhaps having my-self photographed with a superstar. In the picture, I thought I looked more like a piano salesman. I interviewed the lady in the store. I was shocked to hear its purchase price: P14-million pesos (US$333,000). Is there a piano costing that much, like that of  a Porsche? The lady responded, its P14-million because it old. The brand new costs P25-million. If you rent it, it  costs P50,000, she added. My goodness, I said. "Will you charge me if I touch it?" I asked The lady responded, "You can play even for free, if you know how." "Really?" I asked, beaming. Go ahead, she responded I lost no time. I sat down and played "How Lovely Is your Dwelling Place by Fr. Arnel Aquino." And I was in awe, listening  to the sound of each ivory key that I pressed. It has been decades since I stopped playing the piano regularly, but I had a kid-feeling that moment, like I have never felt in a long long time. I felt I was in a recital, savoring the sound of that piano reverberating throughout that  sprawling  Yupangco showroom. After I did the piece, the store lady relayed to me the people who had rented and used it in the past, like David Foster and Ryan Cayabyab. It was quite a pleasant afternoon. Even for just a moment, I rekindled one of the nicest feelings of my childhood, which was performing at a piano recital. That elegant grand piano became a time-machine, taking me to my distant past, relieving my musical memories. The bonus part, I played the 'grandest' piano, at no cost at all. Indeed, the best things in life are free.

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