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School of Music to Celebrate Arrival of 46 Pianos and All-Steinway Designation

CANYON, Texas— The West Texas A&M University School of Music will celebrate its qualification for designation as an All-Steinway School with a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, May 6 outside Mary Moody Northen Hall. The official designation will follow on June 29 when WTAMU, with the largest inventory of the American-made pianos in The Texas A&M University System, will become the 14th school in Texas and the third in the System to be named an All-Steinway School.

The ribbon cutting is only part of the day’s excitement for the School of Music as All-Steinway School 46 Steinway pianos—grands and uprights—will be delivered and unloaded for use in School of Music faculty studios, practice rooms, and classrooms. Three more pianos will acquired at a later date to give the WTAMU School of Music a total of 84 Steinway pianos, the second largest inventory of any music program in the state. The value of the school’s inventory in Steinway pianos will represent a total in excess of $2.5 million.

“May 6 will be a banner day for the School of Music,” Robert Hansen, director of the School of Music, said. “Earning the All-Steinway designation is a prestigious mark of excellence that adds our program to an elite list of music programs all over the world. Steinway pianos are universally acknowledged as the best, and that is what the outstanding students and faculty of the School of Music deserve. Imagine the excitement of three trucks rolling up to Northen Hall and the parade of pianos that will come off those trucks. It will be a sight to behold as the band strikes up the fight song in celebration.”

The University’s efforts to become an All-Steinway School began nine years ago in a multi-phased plan for institutional funds and private donations to replace and upgrade its piano inventory. A 2006 piano inventory revealed that 55 percent of the music department pianos were at least 30 years old and another 26 percent were almost 50 years old. Replacing and restoring the badly worn instruments was a driving force behind the All-Steinway School initiative. The first fund-raiser for the initiative was a concert in 2007 featuring internationally renowned pianist John Bayless.

“We are so grateful to the many individuals who have helped us reach this milestone and who we know will support our efforts to continuously improve and maintain our investment,” Dr. Denise Parr-Scanlin, professor of piano, said.

Part of the delivery on May 6 will be a daylong “selection.” Five concert grand pianos will be set up on the stage in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Faculty members and students will then play and listen to each of the pianos and select the three instruments that will work best for the recital hall in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, a practice room and a piano faculty member’s studio. The two pianos not selected will be loaded back on the truck and returned to the company.

The School of Music chose Steinway because the pianos are excellent instruments and have an outstanding record in institutional settings. The company also offers support and includes each All Steinway School on its website with a link to each respective school.

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