Playing the piano for friends has proven to have many benefits. In a Bay Area living room, the International Piano Club, creates cameraderie and a musical escape.

On a Saturday afternoon, women gather in a living room surrounding a grand piano, and chat with each other.


It is the monthly gathering of their International Piano Club, usually rotated between members’ homes in Contra Costa County, this time at the Lafayette home of Maya Mitra Das, one of the founding members.
The chatting decreased to a low hum as Das’ neighbor, Lulu Huang, the group’s newest and youngest member, settled into her seat at the piano.

“I haven’t played for several years,” said Huang, with a timid smile.

But as soon as her fingers hit the keys, she rendered Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu, Opus 66” with such vigor and passion that the group members sat with their mouths agape. After receiving praise from the group, Huang took a seat, and everyone listened as each member took turns playing a classical piece.