Piano is a positive note for high school

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2001

When the Albert Lea High School choirs present their annual holiday concert Dec.

Friday, November 30, 2001

When the Albert Lea High School choirs present their annual holiday concert Dec. 16, they’ll be accompanied by a new sound.

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A new grand piano – a gift from the Cuppage Foundation and the Albert Lea Civic Music Association -&160;was delivered to the high school auditorium Thursday morning. It replaces a piano that was at least 30 years old, said ALHS Choral Director Diane Heaney.

Heaney said when the foundation was established to purchase some of the extras the school district needed, a &uot;wish list&uot; was sent around to teachers. She thought it would be nice to have a new piano for the new auditorium.

The old piano was owned by the Civic Music Association, but was housed and maintained by the high school. &uot;It had been completely rebuilt once, but even then, the sound was muffled and the action tough -&160;it was hard to play,&uot; Heaney said.

A piano technician tried to lighten the touch, but even so, it’s uneven and doesn’t stay in tune, the director said. She said Civic Music has had a new piano fund for years.

&uot;If you’re going to bring in piano artists, you need a quality piano,&uot; Heaney said.

So when the letter arrived from the Cuppage Foundation offering $40,000 toward the purchase of a new piano, Heaney was delighted. The Civic Music Association offered the old piano as a trade-in, and working with Schmitt Music, the school was able to get a new $60,000 grand piano.

&uot;It’s a Steinway – the top of the line,&uot; she said. &uot;And the stick has been autographed by Van Cliburn.

&uot;The school didn’t have to spend a dime on this,&uot; Heaney added.

In the new high school, the climate will be more controlled and the piano should stay in tune better than in the old high school, she said. In addition, the piano comes with a 10-year warranty.

The bench that goes with it is adjustable, and a locking enclosure for the piano is being constructed in the stage area.

A plaque acknowledging the donation of the Cuppage Foundation and Albert Lea Civic Music Association will be installed on the piano in the near future, Heaney said.

The first scheduled performance using the piano is the Dec. 17 concert.