"Doe, a deer, a female --"
That's where the melody fell apart.
Debra Connolly, 56, of St. Paul wasn't singing this popular "Sound of Music" piece as she walked along -- she was playing it on a street-corner piano.
But how could passersby resist hearing the lyrics in their heads as she plunked out the tune?
During Connolly's afternoon stroll, she happened upon the hand-painted instrument outside McNally Smith College of Music, one of 20 included in the "Pianos on Parade" program run by Keys 4/4 Kids, which refurbishes and sells pianos to benefit music education. The public art project replicates a New York City display in which pianos were decorated by local artists and placed in public venues.
Cousins Grace D'Mello, 28, and Genevieve D'Cruz, 19, chose the piano outside Park Square Theatre, which sports chunky paint strokes in bright colors. They giggled while trying to remember "Heart and Soul."
Doug Shears, 50, of St. Paul, stopped at the McNally Smith piano while walking his dog, Duma. His fingers chose the songs, their automatic inspiration a little bit like dreaming, he said. "Hopefully it will bring out a little spontaneity in the St. Paulites," he said, while Duma tangoed with his leash under the piano. "Hopefully, they won't be able to resist it. I couldn't resist it."
The pianos will be in place through July. For more information and the locations, go to www.pianosonparade.com.