"Save our Steinways"
Durham School of the Arts (DSA) has three Steinway grand pianos, one of which was successfully restored in 2014 thanks to the generosity of our donors and the dedication of the DSA Foundation's "Save Our Steinways" group. You can read more about this piano in the story below. The two remaining pianos are still in dire need of restoration, the estimated cost of which is $30,000.
DSA offers six piano lab classes to over 160 students. These students are now able to play their recital pieces on a beautifully restored piano. The piano is also used for numerous choral recitals, performances by visiting artists and Master Classes.
New life breathed into an old piano
On August 27, 1941, Steinway & Sons finished construction of # 312317 a Steinway Concert Grand Piano (Model D). Steinway shipped the piano to Stephenson Music Co. in Raleigh, North Carolina where it served as a concert loaner from 1941-1955. In 1954, the Greek classical pianist Gina Bachauer came to Raleigh to play two recitals. She played a program of Vivaldi, Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy and signed her name on the harp (where her signature appears today). Sometime in 1955, the Steinway Concert Grand came to Weaver Auditorium at Durham High School where it was used for school choral concerts, theatrical performances and other community music events. Over seven decades of service, the piano fell into disrepair.
In 2011, the Durham School of the Arts Foundation established its "Save Our Steinways" campaign in an effort to raise funds for the complete restoration of the Steinway Concert Grand piano in Weaver Auditorium. Elmo's on Ninth Street jumpstarted the fundraising. Over 400 Durham School of the Arts parents and alumni together with Durham High School alumni came together over three years of fundraising to create the resources for a full restoration by Steinway & Sons. A $10,000 grant from the Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, a gift of $2,500 from an anonymous music lover, and a gift from the Bull City Music Awards helped the DSA Foundation send the Concert Grand to Steinway & Sons in March 2014. Steinway & Sons dismantled and rebuilt the piano over the course of nine months. The 2015 DSA Piano Festival marked the first time the restored 1941 Steinway Concert Grand was used for a piano recital at Durham School of the Arts.
A special thanks goes out to Dr. Trudi Abel of the Durham School of the Arts Foundation who spearheaded the "Save Our Steinways" campaign, Dr. Helen Cunny, Chairman of the DSA Foundation, the late Bobby Lougee of Durham High Forever, Dr. Alan Teasley who established the Elizabeth Fisher Teasley Piano Care Fund in memory of his mother (DHS Class of 1940), and Ladd Transfer, Durham's family moving business which helped move this piano to Durham High in the 50's and then recently up to Steinway & Sons in New York City and finally back on the stage this year.