In conjunction with the 150th anniversary, this year, of the city of Belmar, the Belmar Arts Center has announced its intention to donate a weatherproof piano to Belmar’s Pyanoe Plaza, in honor of original E Street Band pianist David Sancious and his mother, Stelma, who also played piano.
Stelma Sancious allowed David Sancious and his friends, including Bruce Springsteen, to rehearse in the garage of her house on E Street in Belmar; this is how the E Street Band got its name.
Those who wish to donate to this project can do so on the Belmar Arts Center web site, belmararts.org.
According to the web site:
The town of Belmar has given us its total support from our very beginnings and is about to celebrate its 150th Anniversary and we at Belmar Arts Center would like to say thank you in a way that reflects our appreciation for their 18 years of generosity, support, and partnership. We have come up with an idea that will live beyond the sesquicentennial birthday celebration and contribute to life, music, and art in Belmar for years to come.
One of Belmar’s most acclaimed but least acknowledged former citizens, David Sancious, David grew up on “E” Street near 10th Avenue. He graduated from Belmar Elementary School where, with his mother’s additional tutoring, he learned to play piano. As a teenager, David met another teen at a coffee house in Asbury Park called “Upstage” and formed a band that practiced in David’s mother Stelma’s basement. That Freehold teen was, of course, Bruce Springsteen. The band that formed in Stelma Sancious’s basement needed a name, so they called themselves “The E Street Band” and the rest, as they say, is history.
We at the BAC would like to honor David and his mother by purchasing and installing a weatherproof piano in their honor in Pyanoe Plaza, the de facto town center of Belmar. Long after the dedication and anniversary celebrations are over, having this public piano will open the door to innumerable opportunities to bring live music to the center of town year-round.
Sancious played on Springsteen’s first three albums before leaving the E Street Band to tour and record with his own jazz fusion group, Tone. He later worked with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Eric Clapton, Santana, Seal and many others.
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