An old piano was being dumped, so this guy gave it one last play… using a backhoe digger.

8 January 2021, 14:44 | Updated: 8 January 2021, 16:36

This old piano was being dumped, so this guy gave it one last play… using a backhoe digger.
This old piano was being dumped, so this guy gave it one last play… using a backhoe digger. Picture: Steven Peck

By Sian Moore

When a digger played a battered piano, ‘Backhoeven’ was born...

Disclaimer: this piano had been deemed unsalvageable by a professional piano tuner

After many years of music, one concert piano had fulfilled its duty to countless high school students in Connecticut.

But it was decided, after being looked over by a professional tuner, that the old grand had seen its day.

Steven Peck, a musician and landscape business owner, caught word of the battered instrument and asked if he could be the one to eke some final notes out of the piano.

He picked it up in his trailer, hoping to salvage it. But, as the tuner had concluded, it was not to be.

But as Peck sat in his tractor preparing to lift the instrument into a dumpster, he couldn’t resist seizing one final opportunity to tickle the ivories.

With the mechanical claw of his giant digger, that is... (watch below).

Read more: The time Princess Diana casually sat at a piano and played Rachmaninov >

Speaking to Classic FM, Peck revealed the history behind the instrument: “According to local legend the piano was nicknamed the Leroy Anderson piano. I think people assumed that he donated the piano to the school.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the case...

Read more: Alicia Keys impressively paints a canvas just by playing the piano >

“It turns out that he was friends with the superintendent 50 years ago and he helped in making the purchase of this piano,” Peck explained.

The musician had hoped to salvage the instrument and keep it, after claiming the piano his local high school had planned to scrap.

“The former piano tuner for the high school told me later on that that piano was played out. It could not be tuned anymore,” Peck said.

When a digger played a battered piano, ‘Backhoeven’ was born
When a digger played a battered piano, ‘Backhoeven’ was born. Picture: Steven Peck

“The tuning board was maxed out and the piano could not stay in tune anymore. I kind of lost hope in salvaging it.”

So the old grand sat on his porch, facing the harsh conditions of the weather for three years until Peck finally decided it was time to say goodbye.

Read more: Prince William and Prince Harry play the piano as toddlers in adorable video >

In the seat of his tractor, Peck saw the opportunity for one final play.

“I have a tractor with forks that could lift the piano and I decided to throw the piano in the dumpster. As I was bringing the piano to the dumpster I had this brilliant idea that I would try to play the piano with my backhoe,” he said.

“So basically that is the story of ‘Backhoeven’.”

Well, I think we’ve all learned something today. Including what a backhoe is...