Tag Archives: Yamaha C3 grand

Tickling New Ivories

You may not notice the piano at Staples’ Candlelight Concerts next weekend — but the singers and musicians sure will.

A fund drive to raise $30,000 for a new Yamaha C3 grand piano — in honor of now-retired choral director Alice Lipson — has borne fruit.  The old one was used for every Candlelight Concert, musical performance, Players production and — for good measure, music class — for years.  It played out its string.

Dave DeVoll (center) and Fran Southworth present the new piano to David Winer, townwide music supervisor.

Fran Southworth and Dave DeVoll headed up a Staples Music Parents Association fundraising effort.  “We desperately need a new piano!” is not an easy sell, but the money finally came in.

The final piece was a luncheon/recital in late September.  Westporter Frederic Chiu — a nationally renowned classical pianist — was the featured performer.

Buying a grand piano is a bit more intricate than a scarf, or even an SUV.  The instrument needed custom voicing work done at the New York factory.  With tone quality regulated and improved, the new piano is now up to professional concert level.

This far exceeds the average “educational” piano found in most schools.  Then again, the Staples music program far exceeds the average too.

A humidifier system has been installed in the piano — very important, during the dry days of winter.

The piano debuts next Friday and Saturday (Dec. 10 and 11), at the Candlelight Concerts.  This is the 70th anniversary of that prestigious event.

With luck — and loving care — Staples’ grand piano will be around for 69 more.

(Anyone [including non-parents] interested in joining the Staples Music Parents Association should email shsmpa@aol.com, and/or go to the next meeting:  Tuesday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. in the Staples orchestra room.)

Play It Again, Staples

After years of use, Staples’ grand piano is kaput.  There are big cracks in the soundboard, and experts say it’s not worth fixing.

So — with Board of Ed funding about as plausible as Billy Joel donating one of his extras — the Staples Music Parents Association is trying to raise $30,000 to replace it.

Alice Lipson (front), with Fran Southworth and Dave DeVoll of the Staples Music Parents Association, says a fond farewell to her long-serving piano.

The new piano is a Yamaha C3 grand — identical to the present one.  The SMPA hopes to complete fundraising this month, so they can present the gift at the Orphenians’ 50th anniversary concert June 6.

That date marks another milestone:  the final concert for choral director Alice Lipson.  She’s retiring after 35 years in the Westport schools.

Alice is very familiar with the current piano.  It’s used for every Staples concert — including Candelights — and many Players productions too.  It’s an integral part of the Westport arts scene, and all music education.

The Staples Music Parents Association usually focuses on smaller projects:  providing food for musicians in between Candlelight performances; buying a sign to announce upcoming concerts; collecting used instruments for Bridgeport schools.

This is a grander scale.  But it’s time for a new grand piano at Staples, and time for any Westporter who ever enjoyed a concert or play there to pay it forward.

(Tax-deductible checks can be made out to “Staples Music Parents Association,” with “New Piano” on the memo line, and sent to:  Staples MPA, Box 223, Westport, CT 06881-0223.  For more information click here; call 203-226-9750, or email shsmpa@aol.com.)