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Meet the pianist turning the spotlight on Suffolk's free-to-use pianos

PUBLISHED: 16:30 01 November 2019

Terry Miles at the Steinway Grand piano - considered to be one of the finest pianos available to play in the world  Picture: TERRY MILES

Terry Miles at the Steinway Grand piano - considered to be one of the finest pianos available to play in the world Picture: TERRY MILES

TERRY MILES

A YouTube star pianist described the moment he found a world-class piano in a medieval Suffolk church as "like striking gold".

Terry Miles is travelling around Suffolk looking for pianos available for the public to play  Picture: TERRY MILESTerry Miles is travelling around Suffolk looking for pianos available for the public to play Picture: TERRY MILES

Terry Miles, from Hackney in London, has started a four-week tour of Suffolk's finest public pianos, stopping off at churches and pubs in a bid to find public spaces that still invite people to play music.

It was early into his first week when he visited St Peter's and St Paul's church in Aldeburgh when he found a recently-tuned piano under a cover - and was stunned to discover it was a Steinway Grand, widely considered as one of the finest pianos in the world.

"Honestly, it was like striking gold," said Mr Miles.

"It's about 100-years-old and it had a sign on it asking people not to touch it, but I called the number on the church sign and someone came down to let me play it. It was just amazing.

"This whole thing started during a holiday in North Wales. I found this church with a piano, we got the video camera out, I played a little bit of Amazing Grace and we put it on YouTube - it got 90,000 views.

"Now I'm on a hunt to find the pianos in churches and pubs and share them with the world, and Suffolk has enough beautiful churches to keep me going for a month."

The Reverend Mark Lowther, Rector of the Alde Sandlings Benefice in which St Peter and St Paul's Church is located, said: "Our Steinway grand piano was bought by the church fully reconditioned around 10 years ago.

"It is used nearly every Sunday to accompany a communion hymn as well as for the church's musical events when the wider public can enjoy its sound."

Mr Miles and his wife, who films his musical outings, are travelling across the county in their campervan over the next three weeks, looking for more pianos and organs in communal spaces.

His talent and enthusiasm for history and music has earned him more than 150,000 YouTube subscribers - but he was surprised to see so many overseas fans.

"Honestly, the people who watch my church videos the most are Americans," he said.

"Not much in America is much older than 250 years old and they love seeing the medieval churches and the history inside them because there's just nothing like it in the US."

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