Capstones Fall 2013 - page 13

The pianos, some of which are as old as
Darton itself, are various makes and models,
with little consistency from instrument to
instrument for Darton’s music students
and faculty. None are what experts would
consider to be “concert-worthy.” That’s a big
deal, when one considers how the pianos
are used in just about every aspect of music
training, not just students interested in
becoming pianists. The instruments are used
in voice lessons, choir practice, and in music
theory courses.
“The pianos are at the heart of the
essential tools required for the successful
operation of the music department,” Hillard
said. As part of Darton’s goal to become “a
center for the performing arts in our region,”
Hillard and Huang are leading a $1 million
fundraising effort to replace the old pianos
with instruments built by Steinway & Sons
and earn the college the designation as an
“All-Steinway School.”
“Steinway pianos are the industry
standard. They are recognized the world
over as among the finest instruments,”
Hillard said. “Unlike other pianos, Steinways
are completely handmade by workers who
in some cases are 4th and 5th generation
Steinway craftsman. Steinway pianos actual
appreciate in value, as opposed to other
makes.” Hillard recently traveled to New York to
meet with Steinway representatives about
its pianos, and Steinway loaned Darton the
piano on which Huang performed her Nov. 5
recital. Though the recital, held in the Darton
Theater, was free to the public, it was the first
event to raise public awareness for Darton’s
need for new pianos and kick of a fundraising
campaign. Hillard says he hopes the event,
along with other efforts to come, will
encourage donations to meet the $1 million
The plans call for 17 new Steinway pianos
of various sizes and price ranges for Darton’s
campus. The largest, and, at $148,400, the
most-expensive piano on Darton’s wish list,
is a 9-foot grand piano, which would have
a permanent home in the Darton Theater.
A total of seven smaller pianos totaling
$471, 400, would be designated for faculty
use, with nine more allocated for classroom
and student use.
Important for the “All-Steinway”
designation is a further $56,000 set aside
for maintenance by Steinway-certified
technicians. According to the Steinway
Web site, a school with an “All-Steinway”
designation must have its pianos serviced
by Steinway-approved technicians, and its
pianos are subject to periodic inspections by
the company. Those institutions that don’t
meet the standards – which includes the
requirement that at least 90 percent of the
pianos on campus be Steinways – risk having
the status revoked.
If Darton can meet the requirements, it
would join an elite fraternity of about 150
institutions with the designation. Member
institutions span the globe: University of
London, University of South Africa, and the
China Conservatory of Music are among those
currently listed as members.
Though the desire to have all Steinways
on campus might seem ambitious for
Darton, music major Taylor Roland says the
designation is something that would help
attract and retain the best music students.
“There’s nothing like the classic sound of a
Steinway. You can get more-expensive pianos,
but Steinway is the best,” Roland said.
Hillard stated that the formal fundraising
for the new instruments will get under way as
early as spring semester 2014.
“We would like the pianos as soon as
possible, due to the unacceptable condition of
our current pianos – hopefully, in a year.”
Fall 2013
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