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Land Trust Keyed Up Over Mystery Piano



Mary Metzger, HCT Volunteer Walk Leader Coordinator: 508-430-7099

Michael Lach, HCT Executive Director: 508-432-3997

The piano that mysteriously appeared in Harwich's Bell's Neck Conservation Lands has some people jumping on the musical bandwagon. The Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) has been inspired by the piano peculiarly positioned amidst oaks and pines and discovered by a hiker just before Thanksgiving.

Harwich PianoIn fact, HCT is so keyed up that it plans to orchestrate an outdoor musical stroll next summer with accompanying acoustic musicians at a walking trail in Harwich.

"For some reason, that piano in the woods instantly caught the attention of millions around the world. I was inspired to create a free walking tour of local conservation lands with musical interludes along the way. The image of a piano among the pines gives rise to so many musical possibilities," said Mary Metzger, HCT's Volunteer Walk Leader Coordinator.

"With a flute in the woods, cello at the herring flume, bluegrass near the salt marsh, we'll craft a musical tribute to land conservation," said Metzger.

If you play an acoustic instrument and would like to join the Wild Lands Musical Stroll, then call HCT at 508-432-3997 or email:

The Harwich Conservation Trust coordinates land stewardship with the town for several popular conservation destinations.

"We're used to tackling midnight mystery dumpings of brush and trash, but a fine-tuned piano and wooden bench perfectly staged for an open-air concert has puzzled everyone. Maybe we can ride the wave of international piano publicity," said Ryan Mann, HCT's Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator.

If you're looking for a mystical explanation, then here's one. D. Isabel Smith, a founding Trustee of the Harwich Conservation Trust and Chair of the Town's Open Space Committee, passed away two years ago after a long, but dignified challenge with cancer. With grace, persistence, and a sparkling smile, Isabel succeeded in preserving hundreds of acres. It turns out that in addition to her conservation talents, she often sang and played the piano beautifully.

"She actually sang professionally in Boston at old West Church for many years. She was very talented with her voice and was always doing something," said her daughter, Kris Brennen.

Was Isabel's spirit returning with the piano to offer her heartfelt songs for open space? Who knows what will appear next? Maybe it will be a tuba at the Trust's Coy's Brook Woodlands. Or perhaps a violin will appear at the town's D. Isabel Smith Monomoy River Conservation Lands, 77 acres named in her honor just two weeks before she traveled on.

"We'll let you know if we discover any other musical instruments. Meanwhile, stay tuned," said Michael Lach, HCT Executive Director.

Photo by Jake O'Callaghan

Photo of fine-tuned Baldwin piano found Nov. 22nd in the Bell's Neck Conservation Lands is scrutinized by Harwich police Officer Derek Dutra

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