In today’s episode of This Hits Different, Shelby Cassesse tells the story of Sewickley Academy senior Hudson Colletti, a standout soccer player who is also sharing his love for music through a unique initiative.
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Hudson Colletti is an all-section, all-WPIAL soccer player. But for the Sewickley Academy senior, the world is much bigger than high school sports.
“I think part of it, honestly, is being pushed by my parents and peers around me to explore the world and things I’m interested,” he says.
He has a successful online shoe reselling business and already has an internship under his belt. He's also behind a community initiative you may hear more about in the coming months.
Hudson has been playing piano for over a decade, and saw a unique idea in Montreal that resonated with him.
“I saw all these painted pianos just out in the public for people to play and I loved that,” he says. “I actually played a little bit and an audience crowded around me to listen to me play. I thought that was awesome.
So when he got back to Pittsburgh, he started working on creating a similar program in the area. Free The Music PGH launched in 2019.
“I’ve placed three total pianos so far,” he explains. “They’ve been moved around to restaurants in Sewickley, the small, family-owned movie theater, a public gazebo, and a home for elderly people.”
The program gives donated pianos new life, and local artists a big canvas. Hudson connects each piano with a local artist, and they work together to create a unique design.
“It just goes along with taking things that are broken and fixing them to be something better,” he says. “With the pianos themselves, so many people love music.”
When Hudson stops by one of the pianos, he sees his mission in action, creating access to a musical instrument not always easy to find.
“I’ve seen communities spread around the piano, just people listening to it,” he says. “I’ve seen people learn to actually play the piano. I would open the bench that’s in town and, in that bench, there would be beginner sheet music. I’d see those people learning to play, and that’s really awesome.”
This is just the start for Hudson and his organization. Leaders at Pittsburgh International got word of his effort, and are now working to place some of his pianos at the airport. His idea soon to be seen and heard, by eyes and ears from all over the world.
“Whether you play music, you listen to it or you used to play, I think having those public pianos allows people to either share their talents, listen to something they love to hear, or reunite with a thing from their past.”