Steinway on stage

by Marion Boyd, SOCS

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A beautiful gently used Yamaha C3 concert grand piano has found its way home.

World of Music delivered it to the new Venables Theatre on Tuesday February 18th and it will settle into a special room designed for its protection. Temperature and humidity are carefully controlled and the piano will have ten days to adapt to its new climate before being tuned and ready for action.

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On Friday, February 28th, tenor Ken Lavigne will be on the spacious new stage with his band (piano, drums, guitar, bass and violin) to deliver a high appeal concert entitled, “The Road to Carnegie Hall”. Ken and his “voice of liquid gold” has charmed his way into the hearts of concert goers across North America with his ballads, show tunes and classical crossover hits. Now returning to Oliver, he has expressed delight in the prospect of performing in our elegant new concert hall.Steinway 8

When the high school and auditorium smouldered in ruins, I was able to report one piece of good news. The “Old Lady”, our somewhat elderly Steinway, was safe and sound. For decades she had been a center piece for dazzling world class pianists.  Angela Hewitt, Jon Kamura Parker, Anton Kuerti and Sara Beuchner were just a few who thrilled us with their mastery of the keyboard.Steinway 11

And how did she survive? Well, the story goes this way. Knowing planned renovations at the Venables Auditorium could not be completed in time for the season’s concert series, the South Okanagan Concert Society made the decision to move to another venue. The ‘new piano fund’ had been growing slowly over the years. Balancing all the costs involved in storing the old piano, it was decided this was the time to take the plunge and replace it.Steinway 12

A partnership was formed with the Adopt-a-Seat Committee and School District 53. By joining forces and using the expertise of Bob Park an arrangement was made to trade in the old Steinway and buy a Yamaha C3 grand piano. An exquisite concert instrument, the Yamaha would be delivered upon completion of the auditorium renovations and the storage cost savings directed against the replacement cost.Steinway 13

Who could have guessed a massive fire would devastate the school and auditorium? By sheer luck, the Steinway had been sent off to another home before the flames took over. The new piano, of course, had not yet been delivered. Until now!!

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The community of Oliver is proudly embracing a concert hall comparable to the best of its size anywhere. At the Feb. 8th opening, locals were astonished and thrilled with the potential they saw before them. It was like the phoenix rising from the ashes. And in its center the gleaming Yamaha C3 has found its home.Steinway 15

Get your tickets for the Ken Lavigne concert at Beyond Bliss, Imperial Office Pro or at the door. Its time to celebrate!!

Photo Credit: Leza Macdonald