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(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)—John A. Berkstresser, a Continental Airlines captain and well-regarded Bethlehem pianist, gave a recital June 22 to benefit the Piano Fund, a project of the Moravian College Music Alliance.
His program of Chopin and Liszt, performed at the home of David and Joan Lardner Paul, who is a major gifts officer in Moravian College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, raised $3,025. All proceeds will be applied toward the cost of a Steinway Model B grand piano being purchased for Peter Hall, the College’s smaller concert facility.
The recital proceeds top off the $49,000 cost of the Steinway B. With a grant from the Arcadia Foundation of Norristown, the Music Department already had $41,000 of the price tag.
Berkstresser is a seasoned performer who has competed in most of the world’s events for non-professional pianists, including those in Paris, New York, Colorado, Boston, and, of course, the Van Cliburn Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Forth Worth, Texas. He is married to Moravian alumna Lynne Berkstresser ’01, who works for Valley Youth House.
The audience included Music Alliance co-chairs Barbara Martin Stout ’87 (M.P.C.) and Barry Pell, whose firm, Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem, supervised the adaptive rehab of the Brethren’s House 25 years ago. Earlier this year, Spillman Farmer gave the Music Department a Steinway upright piano. The College is in the process of becoming an all-Steinway campus.
Also in attendance was Barbara Reimers, who established the John H. Reimers Scholarship for music students in memory of her late husband. The Reimers Scholarship has gone to Matthew Silvius ’03, Nazareth, trumpet, and Melissa Spangenberg ’03, composer, Quakertown. Spangenberg will be teaching this coming year at the new arts magnet high school in Bethlehem.
In other Music Department news, the Presser Foundation of Haverford has given $25,000 to the College to purchase or replace band and orchestra instruments. The funds will be applied to a $147,000 multi-year plan to replace and upgrade the College's instrumental collection.
Any functional instruments that are replaced will be donated to Broughal Middle School in South Bethlehem, where Moravian alum Joyce Dawley ’96 is the band director.