New Sing for Hope Piano debuts in San Diego courtesy of two local teens

Musician-performer Makena Stumpo, and his artist friend, Liam Koett, teamed to create a Sing for Hope Piano, which was made available for public play at Liberty Station in San Diego.

“Our honest hope for this project is to spark happiness in people’s lives who are moved by the arts,” said Makena. “Just seeing this piano puts a smile on your face. Everyone needs a little extra happiness in their lives and this piano does exactly that. When it is moved to its forever home, our intention is that the piano is used as much as possible. We hope that it helps people in whichever facility it goes to and that they are helped through rough times.”

Makena spoke of how their piano project got started. “This started as a school project, but honestly it started way before that,” he said, adding he first became acquainted with Sing For Hope Pianos by attending a John Williams concert in Los Angeles in 2021.

“There were 16 pianos and I ended up going around and playing 14 of them,” Makena noted. “This was an awesome experience and it’s also where my love for Sing For Hope started. I played one more Sing For Hope piano at UTC mall in 2022 and again was mesmerized by the dedication and effort put into the piano by the artist. When eighth grade rolled around, we had to do a community-service project: Sing For Hope was my immediate thought.”

“Here Comes the Sun” painted by Liam Koett depicts local images of his growing up in San Diego. “The work appears in my style of choice: doodling,” he said. “In my design, I layered hundreds of different images for each ray of the sun. Each ray, in turn, reflects parts of San Diego and the activities and moments that have made me who I am today. Below the sun, in the depths of the ocean, there are currents of doodles that reflect the nature of the ocean and a foundation of growing up in San Diego.”

Of his participation with the piano, Liam said: “I had never done a project even remotely close to this big. But I knew it was a very cool opportunity and I was excited to do it. The project grew into something we truly valued and both of us have put a lot of time and energy into it and are eager to find a forever home that values the piano and gives it a new life.”

Added Liam: “I want to bring music and all of the beauty music brings to life, to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Makena initially introduced me to Sing for Hope, whose origins began after 9/11 in New York City when the art and music community was looking for a way to bring some color and beauty to the first responders.”

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