MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato native Jack Mcgowan has lived in the same area almost his entire life.
He spends most of his time hosting groups of people on his farm for various events throughout the year. About twenty years ago he began collecting pianos to donate to whoever wanted them. Two years ago, he started sending them to Nigeria.
“He grew up in Nigeria, he said that in his school where he grew up you had one piano. If you wanted to learn it you had half an hour a week that’s all you got,” McGowan said.
Jack heard this request and got to work.
“I just passed the word around a few places and two years ago this coming April we shipped thirty pianos to Africa,” McGowan said.
As word of his piano donations began to spread, people began coming from all over southern Minnesota to come and get what he had to offer. Jack, a natural music lover, learned more about people and pianos along the way.
“If a kid learns to play the piano they will do better in school. That’s been medically proven, when your fingers have to work with your eyes, your brain and your ears all work together it’s education and it builds a kid,” McGowan said.
McGowan collects the pianos and builds up stock in his barn until they are ready to be donated. When someone wants a piano McGowan says they come to him. He has become Southern Minnesota’s own piano man.
When asked about what he has learned from donating the pianos his answer was simple.
“It’s just been fun, something to do,” McGowan said.
During his time donating Jack has seen pictures and videos of his pianos being put to good use in the schools. He has donated other instruments to help the music programs in the schools in Nigeria as well. In Mankato, Jared Dean, KEYC News Now.