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“The Age of Mechanical Music,” will showcase antique 1910 Technola Player Piano and 1929 Knabe Ampico Reproducing Piano
Bethlehem, Pa., May 3, 2006—Richard Groman ’78 will open his Bethlehem home on Friday, June 2, for the second installment of Moravian College’s At-Home Steinway Series. The program, titled “The Age of Mechanical Music,” will showcase Groman’s antique 1910 Technola Player Piano and 1929 Knabe Ampico Reproducing Piano. Sharing the spotlight will be a 2006 Steinway & Sons Opus piano, provided by Jacobs Music Company of Philadelphia and its local store in Whitehall, which has worked closely with the College in pursuit of Moravian’s all-Steinway campus project.
Approximately 120 people will share in this rare opportunity to experience the music produced by these exquisite player pianos in Groman’s home—the Laros Mansion, located in the Sunset Acres section of Bethlehem, Pa. A cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception will precede the main event at 6 p.m. The concert program at 7 p.m. will include a vocal performance by Moravian College student Chelsea Dehner ’08, president of Moravian’s Gamma Pi chapter of Delta Omicron, international music honors fraternity. Moravian alumnae Shirley Hart McBride ’63, will accompany Dehner on violin.
McBride ’63 received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Moravian College and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Drew Theological Seminary. After a career of teaching English, history, and music in Easton, Pa. and Parsippany, N.J., and later living in Texas, she and her husband returned to Bethlehem in 2000. As a violinist, she has performed with the Moravian College Community Orchestra, the Hunderton (N.J.) Symphony Orchestra, and sings with the Musical Arts Chorus in Easton. She is currently completing her second term as president of the Bethlehem Branch American Association of University Women.
Dehner ’08 of Hatboro, Pa., is a sophomore at Moravian College, majoring in music education, with concentration in voice. She is a member of the Moravian College Choir, Women's Chorus, and Jazz Vocal Ensemble and recently traveled with the Choir to sing at the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C, and Home Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. During her freshman year, she played clarinet in the marching band. Dehner is the newly elected president of Gamma Pi chapter of Delta Omicron, the international music honors fraternity.
The At-Home Steinway Series was established by the Moravian College Music Alliance, a support group for the College’s music programs, to raise funds for the music department to purchase new pianos and further Moravian’s effort to become an all-Steinway campus. The series, which features historic and concert instruments in some of the Lehigh Valley’s most beautiful homes, has been organized by the At-Home Steinway Committee which is comprised of co-chairs Richard Groman ’78 and Jane Schultz; Beth Williams Boyer ’78 and Robert P. Valente ’07.
The reason for the all-Steinway campus project is explained by Paula Ring Zerkle, chair of Moravian’s Music Department. “Piano proficiency is required of music majors, and the pianos in our studios and practice rooms are in constant heavy use. For more than 150 years, Steinway & Sons pianos have been appreciated by musicians for their tone and evenness of action, while their workmanship and longevity have been valued by owners and caretakers.”
“Through the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, and the Moravian College Music Alliance, eleven new Steinway pianos grace the stages of Foy Hall and Peter Hall, faculty studios, and practice rooms. Proceeds from the At-Home Steinway Series will be used for matching funds, allowing Moravian College to provide first-class instruments for practice and performance. It also opens some of the Lehigh Valley’s finest homes to showcase their heirloom pianos and concert instruments.”
Jane Schultz hosted the first At-Home Steinway Series last year, a performance by Moravian music alumni, and a garden reception at her home in Center Valley. Her piano is a 1901 Steinway grand with an apple-green French rococo case designed by J.B. Tiffany. The finish is enhanced by gilt scrollwork and faux-18th-century scenes of nymphs and shepherds in the manner of French painters Watteau and Fragonard.
In October 2004, Moravian College hosted another art case Steinway instrument: the “Peace Piano,” designed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair by Walter Dorwin Teague and rebuilt for an international tour to raise money for UNICEF. The piano spent a day on campus and was played by Moravian music students and faculty as well as professional and amateur musicians from the Lehigh Valley community.
In addition to Jacobs Music Company, the At-Home Steinway Series is sponsored by Rob-Win Press Inc. of Allentown and Nazareth Music Center.
Tickets for the event are $150 each or $250 per couple. Invitations to Music Alliance members went out in April, with a response deadline of May 22. Others interested in attending should request an invitation from 610 861-1336, and they should observe the May 22 response date.