It was a fiery send off for an old piano that had graced a bluff of Half Moon Bay since the beginning of the month.
Sunday night, the man who dragged the piano to the bluff, played a final concert and then set the instrument on fire.
Artist Mauro Ffortissimo continued to play as it burned, ending his short term art project titled "Sunset Piano" in a blaze of glory. He played a concert at sunset every night with Sunday being the finale.
He said he planned from the beginning to burn it, but had to move the date up because the piano was going out of tune from being outdoors, plus someone complained that he didn't have the proper permits.
“I have many pianos and I decided I wanted to play by the water, and here we are,” said Ffortissimo last week.
In the three weeks it was on the bluff, people stopped by, day and night to touch it, take pictures and to play the piano in a spectacular venue. And, with every sunset, the crowds grew, with dancers, upright bassists and poets joining in.
“It was majestic, I’ve never had any experience like this. I wish it was staying here for a long time so I could keep playing,” said Suzanne Webber of El Granada, who studied piano for 24 years.
As much as the people of Half Moon Bay and beyond have enjoyed the sunset serenades, Ffortissimo says they were never meant to go on forever. And yet, for the people who experienced them, the music will live on.
“To be able to play next to the ocean was incredibly cool,” Webber said.
Ffortissimo says that after one of the first few sunsets, a woman approached him, crying. She told him that the piano belonged to her family for decades, but that they could no longer keep it, nor pay to repair it. Watching the crowds enjoy its music made saying goodbye a little easier.
Ffortissimo says he may use some of the piano’s charred bits in a sculpture. Perhaps another work of art that will make people feel once more. He said, “It’s kind of humbling in a way, it’s just making so many people happy and excited. It’s amazing.”