Starr Gennett Sets First Ever Record for Longest Piano Playing

By KPass | Arts

Sep 13

Sandy Cox (left) and Fonda Wilds (right) nearing 72 hours of oversight of the record setting event talking with twin pianists, Jana & Jackie

Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of sitting with  Fonda Wilds and Sandy Cox who were nearing 72 hours of overseeing the record setting event for Starr Gennett.

Nestled in the open expanse of space in Mitrione’s Market in the Depot District, the Starr Piano was elevated on a stage in front of the large glass windows of the storefront.


Eva Abbott, playing for the record and nearing 2 hours on her shift

When I arrived, Eva Abbott was on the keys and nearing the end of her two hour shift at the piano.  Pianists of all skill levels, totaling around 52, had been at the keys since Friday with only five minute breaks in between.  Following Eva, two little girls from Seton Elementary, fourth graders and twins, were preparing to take over for their 55 minute shift, dressed in matching pink sweaters.


Jana and Jackie, fourth graders from Seton Elementary, discussing their lineup with their mother and grandmother.

Discussing their line-up with their mother and grandma, Jana and Jackie were very serious about their part in the long process that would end at 10:00 p.m. that night.

Fonda Wilds explained that she and Sandy Cox had been present the entire time and that she was running on about 11 hours of sleep over the past three days.  Both ladies oozed enthusiasm for setting this record and particularly enjoyed watching the various pianists take their places at the piano.  They especially lit up when the little twins arrived.


MzD greeting the girls and encouraging pianists for the day

Greeting all the pianists on the final day on Monday was Fonda’s sidekick MzD, a poodle golden mix.  She was very encouraging to the young musicians as they prepared to play.

Not only did the pianists help with setting the first record for longest played piano, they were able to get some real practice time in as they performed, most taking a two hour shift.


The girls at the piano. They each played solos and joined together for duets for 55 minutes.

The record setting process has included gathering data via YouTube video, and utilizing Facebook and Twitter as a means of documentation.  The entire 72 hours was recorded for record keeping purposes and will be used to submit the entry for the record.

A wonderful event for the community and for the participants!  Congratulations to the Starr Gennett Foundation and particularly to Fonda Wilds and Sandy Cox for their immense dedication!

Wonderful things happen when people come together in Wayne County!


About the Author

Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.