Charleston, W.Va. - Charleston Town Center got a facelift to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
But its managers haven't forgotten its history and have brought back a popular feature from its earlier days: a lunchtime piano player.
The mall hasn't had a pianist since George Legg, a musical fixture in the city, died in 2003, said mall marketing manager Lisa McCracken.
"We had actually held auditions to try to find a replacement pianist, and I think there were three people who did audition," McCracken recalled, "but we were just unable to find the caliber of pianist - George left big shoes to fill."
Enter musician Mark Scarpelli, best known for his work with Dan Kehde in the Contemporary Youth Arts Company along with his Beatles tribute band, Rubber Soul.
Scarpelli recently retired from his job as a Putnam County schoolteacher. He said he had a little time on his hands.
"I remembered the early mall days when there was a piano player," he said. "It just added a flair of coolness to the mall."
He asked McCracken if mall management had considered reviving the idea.
As a matter of fact, it had.
"In celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, one of the things we wanted to do was look back," she said.
The mall had long ago gotten rid of the baby grand piano that Legg had used and the area where he used to play, in the third-level food court, has been redesigned.
Scarpelli began last week using an electric keyboard set up in the mall's first-level center court. And it worked out great, he said.
"The sound just filters into that big cavern and it travels really well," he said.