Cast-iron piano harps were salvaged and became part of a decorative fence at PRO Moving Service at 184 College Ave. in Waterville. PRO Moving Service co-owner Jason Brann, center, came up with the idea. He is pictured Wednesday with fellow owner Peter Carey, left, and Kevin DuMont, who is a piano mover for the company. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

If you want to know what a piano looks like inside, you need only drive by PRO Moving Service on College Avenue in Waterville.

More than two dozen cast-iron harps from inside pianos are mounted on the steel fence to the entrance of the business, located in the former Marden’s Surplus & Salvage building.

There are harps from grand pianos, uprights and spinets manufactured at places like Estey Piano Co., Christman Sons and Behr Brothers & Co. of New York, Vose & Sons and Henry F. Miller of Boston, and Mendelssohn of Connecticut.

What precipitated the decision to build a fence with piano parts? I had to find out, so I knocked on the door.

“Jason had the idea to put them on the fence and I said, ‘That’s a great idea,'” Peter Carey said.

Carey and Jason Brann own PRO Moving, the letters of which explain what the longtime business moves — pianos, residences and offices. They work only in Maine, with a heavy concentration in Waterville and Augusta.


Having owned the business since 2003, they have moved furniture, artwork and just about anything else you can imagine, for Colby College, Bates College, the Maine State Museum, Farnsworth Museum, New England Music Camp and the state of Maine, among other entities.

They specialize in moving pianos and Carey himself has moved some 5,000 during his career, which goes back even further than 2003.

“A big piece of our business is taking away old pianos for disposal because they go out of tune,” the 66-year-old Carey explained while standing in the office, the former office of Harold “Mickey” Marden, who passed away many years ago, and later Paul LePage, who was Marden’s general manager. Carey and Brann bought the building in 2019 from the Marden family and moved there from their former location on Verti Drive in Winslow.

During many years of moving pianos, Carey started saving piano parts, including the harps, which connect the tuning pins to the strings and sustain the tension on those strings.

Traffic passes cast-iron piano harps that were salvaged and incorporated into a decorative fence at Pro Moving Service at 184 College Ave. in Waterville. The fence is shown Wednesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“I didn’t know what to do with them and it seemed a shame to throw them away,” he said.

Pianos weigh anywhere from 400 to 1,200 pounds and require specialized equipment to move, according to Kevin DuMont, who has worked 15 years for PRO, has large arm muscles and says there are lots of different ways to move pianos.


“Wheels are effective,” he said with a grin.

Grand pianos have to be broken down, according to DuMont. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to break one down and the same amount of time to put it back together after it is moved. Depending on the type, size and weight of a piano, it can be moved up and down stairs.

“Colby has three that weigh about 1,200 pounds,” Carey said. “We’ve moved them a couple hundred times.”

Some people call PRO to ask if they will come and take away a piano for free. That’s not feasible, but the business will do it for a fee.

“The ones that are halfway decent, we save,” Carey said. “We have 10 or 12 we can sell. They’re very reasonable prices.”

Behind the doors of PRO Moving, much more takes place, I learned, after taking a tour with Brann and Carey, two affable and welcoming businessmen who didn’t mind that I stopped by Tuesday unannounced.


They told me they don’t like to throw things away in landfills. As part of their business, they recycle office furniture and cubicles and use them to make new office furniture, which they sell and install.

“Somebody calls up and asks for furniture for an office,” said Brann, 47. “I go in and do the design, haggle over prices and we make it out of furniture that we recycle.”

Inside the two-story, 75,000-square-foot building at 184 College Ave. are stacks of material they use to create furniture. There are also rows of storage units, both inside and outside of the building, where people store their belongings for a fee. If someone is building a house, for instance, they may store furniture and other items there until the house is ready to move in.

Traffic passes cast-iron piano harps that were salvaged and incorporated into a decorative fence at PRO Moving Service at 184 College Ave. in Waterville. The fence is shown Wednesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The company, which employs 22, also goes into businesses and other places where flooring is being replaced and moves furniture, stores it if needed, and then places it back where it was. PRO moved dormitory equipment into the Lockwood Hotel downtown when students lived there early in the pandemic, stored the hotel furniture at PRO and then installed it in the hotel this summer.

Carey didn’t imagine in 1979 when he graduated from Colby with a degree in biology that he would one day be doing business with the college. A Connecticut resident at the time, he got a summer job in Waterville with a moving company, became the manager and liked the area so much, he stayed. Forever.

“This is a very nice place,” he said. “The people are nice and it seemed like a good place to live.”

Brann, of Benton, was working out of state as a special accounts representative in 1995. He moved back to Maine and saw that a moving company was looking for an accountant and bookkeeper. He applied and got the job. Carey would be his boss.

The rest is history. Amazing, the things that go on in this city, right under our very noses.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 34 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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