Letter to the Editor

The right piano for auditorium

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In my sixteen years directing Storm Lake's choral program, one statement that was made over and over was the need for an auditorium. Undoubtedly, I would hear this after each concert. Buena Vista University was gracious enough to let the high school choirs perform in Schaller Chapel for their spring concert, giving the students a chance to perform in a venue designed for this type of performance.

Two plus years ago, the board of education decided to upgrade the high school and include an auditorium. Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to watch the incredible process of this roughly $7,000,000 auditorium being built. It has been a long wait, but my excitement builds as we approach the opening date. In the past, the district chose not to pursue an auditorium for a variety of reasons. But now, the reality is our district will have a first class venue that is designed to benefit the students in the music programs and school district.

Two years ago I was approached by the K-12 music directors, in my current role as assistant principal, about the possibility of acquiring a nine foot Steinway concert grand piano to be used in the auditorium. I understood their research in pianos, the different possibilities and their reasoning behind their final choice. Have you heard the saying "they don't build them like they used to?" This piano is built by hand, rare in the days of automated machines. The Steinwegs immigrated from Germany to New York city and established the Steinway Piano Company. They grew in popularity based on all their awards and opened a factory in Hamburg, Germany to help meet their demands worldwide. The action can be set accordingly to the touch. The tone can be set to suit the venue. The plain fact is you get what you pay for. Well maintained and safe guarded, this piano will last the district 40-50 years. The cost of such an instrument is roughly $140,000 and over time it loses very little value. We are well over half of the way in acquiring this instrument. I am inviting you to join the folks that have already committed money to this endeavor and urge you to be a part of what so many people have wished for - to have an auditorium along with an instrument of this magnitude. In my opinion, it is worth the money to make an investment in an instrument of this caliber. There are more expensive pianos and less expensive ones, but in my opinion, this is the right choice for the auditorium.