Published in The Steinway Chronicle Issue (Winter 2020)
WEATHERFORD, TEXAS – Brent Baker says he was “blown away” when he first experienced a Spirio | r and knew it could be a catalyst for the fine arts programs at Weatherford College. The executive director of the Weatherford College Foundation was in Manhattan for Steinway’s “Keys to Finding Funds” seminar. “When we came to New York, we had already decided to go ahead with our All-Steinway campaign, but the seminar was invaluable because we heard from other institutions and learned a great deal about what could work in our situation,” he notes.
Over nine months in 2019, the public two-year college near Fort Worth not only achieved a prestigious All-Steinway designation but added a Model D Spirio | r and Model B Spirio | r to its shining fleet of nine new Steinway grands and Boston uprights. The community response was overwhelming. “Nine Steinways in nine months – I’d call that an unbelievable success,” Baker observes.
Shortly after taking the helm, President Dr. Tod Allen Farmer heard Artist-in-Residence Dr. Hyeyoung Song and put Steinways on the front burner to propel Weatherford to the next level of excellence: “Our students deserve a first-rate experience, and that’s what Steinway represents. Being an All-Steinway School is just one piece of our bright, beautiful future,” he declares.
Meanwhile, Dr. Song is thrilled that Weatherford is one of the first institutions in the country to offer Spirio | r technology. She dreamed of making Weatherford a destination for piano and trusts Steinway instruments to evoke ideas, colors, and inspiration.
“Spirio | r gives our instructors and students the ability to record and listen to their music lessons and performances as never before."
“Spirio | r gives our instructors and students the ability to record and listen to their music lessons and performances as never before. Our musicians can now advance their artistry by removing any bad habits that detract from excellence,” she observes. “The ability to hear, compare, and study their music will help them develop the necessary confidence needed for professional-caliber performances.”
The campaign received two huge infusions from longtime friends and supporters. Richard and Nancy Stuart purchased the Model B Spirio | r and a K-52 upright while a gift from Vickie and Jerry Durant secured the Model D Spirio | r. To give students and faculty even more options, Weatherford is close to acquiring yet another Spirio | r. “Through Internet-based Spirio technology, we can access the greatest instructors and performers anywhere in the world. We are now positioned to catapult our fine arts programs forward,” Dr. Farmer adds.
Bryan Elmore has been cataloging institutional pianos for years but experienced something extraordinary at Weatherford. “I’ve never had a college president accompany me for a complete inventory analysis,” notes Elmore, director of institutional sales at Steinway Piano Gallery Dallas/Fort Worth. “Dr. Farmer’s keen interest was apparent from the get-go, and he personally saw to it that his students and faculty were going to have nothing but the best possible instruments for the study of music.”
A factory tour only reinforced the school’s commitment to the All-Steinway initiative, as Baker, Dr. Song and Fine Arts Dean Duane Durrett got a first-hand look at Steinway craftsmanship. Dr. Song worked closely with a Steinway technician to fine-tune the instruments chosen from the selection room.
“This campaign not only bolstered our Fine Arts programs, but it raised the profile of our entire institution,” Baker concludes. “I am so impressed with everyone I encountered at Steinway & Sons. Their commitment to excellence is inspirational.
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