HOUSTON, TX (August 23, 2016) - Steinway Piano Gallery, Houston’s only authorized Steinway & Sons dealer, recently partnered with a network of donors at River Oaks Baptist Church in Houston to bring the magic of the world’s finest pianos to the church. Through the efforts of four River Oaks families and the advocacy of church pianist Joseph Fuller, the church sanctuary now features the music of a stunning Steinway & Sons Model B grand piano.
Although the funds for the new piano were raised very quickly, the foundation for the purchase was months in the making. Amanda Watson of Steinway Piano Gallery Houston initially made a sales call to River Oaks’ music director Greg Stahl, but church finances precluded the immediate pursuit of a Steinway purchase. Months later, however, Watson accepted a call from Stahl, who wanted to inquire about a piano rental for a Christmas service. “Little did I know then that this phone call would evolve the way it did,” she said. An acquaintance was born, and Watson, a serious pianist herself, was soon invited to perform with church pianist Joseph Fuller during the holiday service.
When Fuller expressed his wish that the church could upgrade its existing piano to a Steinway, Watson offered to perform an inventory analysis. Though the need was clear that all eight pianos on the church campus called for replacement, finances were still an issue, so Stahl opted to focus his first efforts on the sanctuary piano. And Fuller’s continued advocacy paid off; after a particularly trying performance one Sunday on the sanctuary’s worn piano, Fuller approached a key donor and expressed his frustration, as well as his opinion that it was time for the church to upgrade to Steinway. In record time, four families stepped in to underwrite the purchase, and the dream of bringing Steinway to River Oaks was underway.
“One of the most amazing things about this experience,” Watson reported, “was to see how much of a role Joseph Fuller played in advocating for the Steinway purchase. Once he expressed what it would mean, musically, to have a Steinway grand piano in the sanctuary, the donors responded quickly and definitively. We had the funds in place in a matter of weeks. It was quite remarkable, and quite a testament to the power of music and the passion that both musicians and worshipers feel for Steinway. I’m very pleased at how the donors stepped up so enthusiastically and what this will mean for River Oaks.”
The sanctuary piano is the first step for River Oaks. The church has plans to ultimately replace the remaining seven pianos on its church/school campus with Steinway and Steinway-designed pianos.
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