Eastern Michigan’s University’s Department of Music and Dance had eight new upright pianos delivered to the Alexander Music Hall in a showy celebration last week.
More than 60 students gathered to watch as the last piano was unloaded from the truck. All eight were then unveiled and used to play the EMU fight song, conducted by the head of music department, Diane Winder.
“There is not an instrument that affects a music major in a more basic way than the piano,” said Mark Peterson, one of the speakers at the event. “This is the most pianos purchased for Alexander Hall since the move in 1980.”
All of the pianos were made by the high-end Steinway brand, each costing around $6000.
“They cost more, but they’re a better investment for the university,” said Sarah Hamilton, an EMU grad student working on her master’s in piano.
Hamilton is one of the student members of the Steinway Group, the fundraising committee at the university that has been working towards replacing all of the pianos on EMU’s campus with Steinway brand instruments. They have raised $115,000 since 2008.
“They’re the best to play on and they hold their value the best. In 20 years they won’t be like these,” said Hamilton pointing at three age-ravaged broken pianos covered in caution tape also on display at the ceremony. “They’ll be playable.”
This newest wave of purchases brings the department’s count up to 31 Steinway brand pianos. Hamilton said they will need 61additional pianos to reach their goal.
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