FORT WORTH, TEXAS – As far as the W.J. Turner Elementary School is concerned, they saved the best for last. Turner marked the final stop on a historic five-year odyssey that saw 267 new Boston pianos delivered to 144 schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District.
It is the single largest institutional purchase since Steinway & Sons launched the Boston line in 1992. Original estimates of 250 pianos in 2015 grew as a result of expansions within the district, which serves more than 86,000 students. The sale – worth $2.4 million – includes 236 Boston uprights and 31 Boston grand pianos that were added to existing inventory.
Fort Worth now maintains a stunning fleet of 276 pianos by Steinway & Sons.
Christina Walk, Executive Director of Visual and Performing Arts, expressed gratitude to administrators and the Board of Education for sustaining an unprecedented commitment to the arts. Some music programs had no pianos at all, while others like Turner were coping with aging instruments. More than 60 percent of all pianos were in poor condition.
“The impact on our students over the next 25 years will be priceless,”
“The impact on our students over the next 25 years will be priceless,” she predicts. “I am so proud to be part of a district that values music education and acknowledges the need for excellent resources to achieve success. Every school not only has a piano, but a high-quality piano and they love them, love them!”
Steinway & Sons named FWISD the first Steinway Select School District in the nation. “This designation sets us apart from other districts by our commitment to excellence,” says Don Devous, Secondary Choral Music Specialist. “It speaks not only to having
instruments of unparalleled craftsmanship but achieving excellence in educating our children. We celebrate the gift of music while setting a standard on the importance of equality across the district.”
Devous reasons that parents only want the best for their children. “As a district, we must also have that mindset. Creating the best musicians in our classrooms requires that they hear and play on the finest instruments. For us, Steinway was the only possible choice.”
Bryan Elmore, Director of Institutional Sales at Steinway Hall, thanks the “quiet warriors” of movers, tuners and support personnel who ensured the pianos would arrive on time and in ready-to-play condition. Through a long-term maintenance agreement, the instruments will continue to bring smiles to faces of students for years to come.
Elmore worked with administrators on a comprehensive review that revealed Fort Worth was maintaining 18 different brands of pianos, more than half of which were at least 50 years old. “This has been an amazing race and it seems hard to believe that we have finally crossed the finish line. What I am most grateful for are the many friendships we forged along the way. They are cherished and timeless.”
In 2018, Fort Worth opened the IM Terrell Academy for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and VPA (Visual and Performing Arts) and selected a Steinway Model D concert grand piano for its 65,000 square foot performing arts center. Ms. Walk notes Terrell serves as a point of pride for the district and visitors are “shocked” that it is part of a large, urban public school system.
She joined Devous and others for a tour of the Steinway factory in Queens, which only reinforced their decision: “We took one of our music students, Maite Herrera, and Buddy Bray, pianist for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to assist us. Maite inspired all of us and watching Buddy was mind-blowing as he progressed from one piano to another until he narrowed it down to the perfect choice,” she says. “I have been around instruments and music stores my whole life, but nothing prepared me for this. The care and detail put into every single piano by the Steinway family of employees cannot be described in words. You simply have to experience it.”
“Bryan Elmore, (Steinway CEO) Ron Losby, (Steinway Hall Dallas President) Danny Saliba, Melissa Elmore and so many others provided the utmost care and customer service. We were treated like family,” Ms. Walk says.
Steinway Hall is the exclusive dealer for Steinway & Sons pianos throughout north Texas. The franchise consists of stores in Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano as well as two locations in Houston. While closing the book on a major milestone in Fort Worth, Saliba and company are poised for an exciting sequel. Steinway Hall will have a new downtown store adjacent to Bass Performance Hall, home of the storied Van Cliburn Competition and a spot familiar to many Steinway clients.
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