When an instrument speaks across generations, sometimes it takes a village to save it.
Sometimes when an inanimate object has been around for a long time, it takes on a life of its own. Oh, if the 99-year-old Steinway piano at Roosevelt High School could talk, the stories it would tell. In a way, the piano has “spoken” through most of its life, playing its musical language for generations of students who have taken their turn behind its keyboard. But for the last several years the ol’ girl has been silent.
For Kathleen Kane, music department chairwoman at Wyandotte Public Schools and the high school’s vocal director, the baby grand has been like a trusted old friend. In the fall of 2010, Kane found it necessary to close the lid and cover the keys. As the years progressed, she noticed the action of the keyboard had become significantly weak to the touch. Because the action was declining, the resonance was not as brilliant as it once was.
But while lifting its lid to evaluate the piano’s condition, she found something that gave her hope. The soundboard was in good condition, the plate was still strong, the wires and hammers were intact. It was beginning to look like there was still hope for this piano. She found something else while diagnosing the piano’s condition — a serial number. With that serial number she discovered it was constructed in 1917, making it nearly a century old.
Those who’ve organized the restoration effort, called “SOS – Save Our Steinway,” have set up a Go Fund Me website to raise money: www.gofundme.com/4az6vk6k. There’s also a Facebook page called “Save Our Steinway.” Contributions by check can be sent to Wyandotte Music Boosters, 540 Eureka Road, Wyandotte, MI 48192.