Annual Baker House Piano Drop Commemorates Spring Drop Date

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A piano is seen falling from the roof of Baker House on Thursday, April 23 during Piano Drop. Piano Drop is hosted by Baker every year to commemorate Drop Date.
William Yee—The Tech
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The piano used in this year’s Baker House Piano Drop on April 23 is seen on the roof of the dormitory being prepared to be released.
Aditi Verma—The Tech
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Students are seen collecting pieces of the dropped piano as mementos after Baker House’s annual Piano Drop, which took place on Thursday, April 23 to commemorate Drop Date.
Aditi Verma—The Tech

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.

A few others were less impressed: Beneah K. Wekesa ’12 said she was disappointed with the piano drop because she wished there had been more “shattering and flying pieces.”

Also among the attendees were some prospective undergraduates who had traveled to MIT with the Junior Fly-In Program, a program that covers travel expenses for economically disadvantaged high school students to visit MIT. Alan Wagner, from Puerto Rico, said after the drop, “I’d fit right in [at MIT].” “I’ve always dreamed of throwing a piano down from a six story building,” he joked as he reached for a souvenir from the remains of the piano.

This year’s drop proved more successful, or at least more destructive, than last year’s, when the piano missed its target — another piano on the ground — and failed to shatter. This year the piano landed on a giant sculpture of a Coke bottle fashioned from plastic buckets and tarp and exploded into shards.

The piano this year was donated by Pamela Sullivan, a resident of New Hampshire who read about last year’s Piano Drop and found it amusing. She was not present for the piano drop herself but requested that footage of the drop be mailed to her. The piano that was dropped off the Baker rooftop was a Huntington brand instrument with a broken frame, several missing keys, and all its varnish chipped away.

In the past, the organizers of the piano drop have received e-mails criticizing them for throwing pianos off rooftops when they could have given them to charity. In response to this argument, Alex R. Camacho ’10, one of the event’s organizers said, “We don’t use functional pianos.”

In keeping with the Drop Date it commemorates, the piano had the names of some infamous classes, including 6.005 and 2.005, painted on it.

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.

Aziz M. Albahar ’10, one of the event’s organizers, was already scheming to create more spectacular visual effects at next year’s drop yesterday: “We’re going to have cinderblocks and sawdust,” he said.