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Vote to add the Baker House Piano Drop to the MIT 150 Exhibition!
Link here <http://museum.mit.edu/150/entries/1430> and vote up the Baker House Piano Drop by clicking on the little "thumbs up" icon!
The First Piano Drop
The consensus is that the first piano was dropped in November of 1972.
Bill Short made a movie short of the piano drop, which is on YouTube here: The First MIT Baker House Piano Drop (1972). Bill writes:
"I used B&W because I could process the film in my dorm room quickly and cost-effectively and see the results right away. I shot the film silent. Synchronized sound equipment was not within the budget of a typical college student in those days. Jean Ward did a bunch of audio interviews during the event, so I used that audio. I got Kevin Struhl, who lived in the room next-door, to improvise some piano music."
Kevin Struhl writes:
"... I remember the weather was pretty nice. I don't think I was on the roof but I do remember seeing it. My major memory of the music was ending with the last lines of Chopin's Revolutionary Etude, which ends with two dramatic final chords. You can barely hear that at the very end of the video. I didn't remember that Charlie Bruno was the instigator until looking at the website, although I can certainly believe it; I knew him pretty well and was saddened to hear of his death."
Edward D. Weinberger writes:
"I cut a class in complex analysis to pick up the piano w/ my van some ways from campus. Norman Levenson, then the dept chair, was teaching it that semester."
Where did all the pianos come from?
Dave Mock writes:
Steve [Leighton, a tutor from 1973 until 1976], began a campaign to find free or inexpensive pianos offered in the newspaper, then rent a trailer, and go pick them up and fix them, with the goal of having a (working) piano on every floor. He was mostly successful, and the leftovers fueled the piano drops nicely.
When did they move Amherst Alley?
In 1984, Amherst Alley was moved, forcing the temporary suspension of piano drops.
Piano drops are held irregularly for the next twenty years...
Another Drop Date, Another Piano Drop
By Nick Bushak
April 25, 2008
Piano Drop has been held irregularly since the initial drop in 1972. The tradition, which commemorates Drop Date, returned in 2006 after a seven year hiatus, and it has been held annually since then.
Annual Baker House Piano Drop Commemorates Spring Drop Date
By Aditi Verma
April 24, 2009
A 500 pound piano played its last song yesterday evening after it was launched off Baker House’s roof during the annual Piano Drop, which commemorates the spring term deadline for dropping classes.
A crowd of about 200 gathered for this year’s drop. Watchers began gathering half an hour before the piano’s scheduled demise, including some students eager to delay long nights of work that lay ahead: “I’m going to be up p-setting all night. The piano drop made my day,” said Pedro A. Figueroa ’12.
Piano Drop has been held irregularly since it was started by former Baker resident Charles Bruno ’74 in 1972. It has happened annually since 2006. Before that, it had been discontinued for some years due to safety concerns. This year spectators were made to stand back to avoid contact with any flying piano debris.