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Nestled in the sand among the slips and sailboats on Dempster Beach sits some-thing incongruous: an object so foreign to its surroundings it is seldom, if ever, found on a beach, at least not intentionally.
Yet there it is, waiting for a curious soul to peel off the tarp and put it to use. The large rectangular block gets a lot of looks from visitors to the beach, and a dog claimed a corner his own in exactly the way a dog would. But still the object sits, unmolested and silent.
It arrived on a Sunday afternoon. A crew of eight men maneuvered the bulky present to its current home – a gift for residents, music-lovers, and fans of whimsy.
Evanston resident Rene Hernandez explains the idea came from a friend … and out of necessity. “My mom’s moving out of her house, and we had to downsize. There was no place for it in my house, and I didn’t want it thrown out. There are a lot of good memories,” said Mr. Hernandez.
Mr. Hernandez and his brother are no strangers to the music scene in Evanston. They were a longtime staple at their moth-er’s restaurant, Lupita’s on Main Street, before she retired last year. Rene Hernandez on drums and his brother on guitar – a piano in their home got them started. “We grew up with music all around us. We played most Friday and Saturday nights at the restaurant. We just feel like life is better when music is playing,” Mr. Hernandez says.
He says he hopes this gift of a piano on a pretty beach in Evanston will spark a musical gathering. With sunshine and 70-degree weather in the forecast, that is possible. But concerns about City officials have this musical renegade nervous. “I really hope the City just leaves it alone. You can find pianos in public places in cities all over the world. Why not here?” said Mr. Hernandez.
Rene Hernandez says he is sure the piano will not outstay its welcome but will be carted away when the weather changes. But for now, it sits with a view of Lake Michigan, the only audience a flock of seabirds riding the waves and waiting for a song to carry across the water.