Musical Chairs

Moravian is several steps closer to becoming an all-Steinway campus thanks to the Music Alliance, a support group for the College’s musical activities.
Through its piano fund, the Alliance supports a plan to furnish the Music Department’s practice rooms and faculty studios with Steinway pianos. When this project started, the College had two Steinways: a 9-foot concert grand in Foy Hall and a 7-foot grand in Peter Hall. The piano fund’s first gift helped buy two studio pianos for practice rooms.

This spring, the fund’s coffers held $24,860. By combining this with a $25,000 gift from the Presser Foundation of Haverford, the Music Department acquired two more Steinways in August: a small grand and a studio upright.

The Presser Foundation, charitable arm of the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States, is an old friend of the College. In 1998, it gave a $25,000 challenge grant toward the Music Department’s upgrade of music technology resources. This money enabled the College to leverage additional funds to buy electronic equipment.

In 2001, the foundation gave Moravian another $25,000 to renovate the electronic keyboard lab. With its six new Yamaha electronic keyboards and a lab controller, the room now is called the Presser Piano Lab.

The Music Alliance has about $5,000 left as seed money in the piano fund: “a good start on the next keyboard,” says James Barnes, chair of the department.

The piano purchase also benefited some younger Moravian students. Jacobs Music of Philadelphia, the Steinway dealer from which the new instruments came, held a Steinway Performathon on October 18 at the Kimmel Center, glamorous new home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Eleven students of the Moravian College Music Institute, an after-school conservatory-style program for children, were included in this performance blitz. They were Jenna Lynn Wayne, Jessica Argenti, Kavita and Jeevan Jain-Cooks, Rebecca Pottenger, John Baylor, Julia Lipkis, David and Deborah Chi, Jennifer Lee, and Christian Pranitis, who are students of artist-lecturers Arianna Goldina, Brian Henkelmann ’78, ’83, Martha Schrempel, Jenny Saloky Collins ’75, Barbara Thompson, and Jane Checkeye.

Julia, 9, is the daughter of composer-in-residence Larry Lipkis, Bertha-Mae Starner ’27 and Jay L. Starner Professor of Music.

“The performathon went very well and was a real coup for the Music Institute,” Lipkis says. “A crew from Channel 17 filmed parts of it and aired it during the ten-o’clock news. The segment lasted less than two minutes, but otherwise it was a good clip.”

Brian Henkelmann ’78, ’83, artist-lecturer in piano, organ, and sacred music, tries out a Bach invention on the Music Department’s new Steinway, a 5-foot 101/2-inch grand piano.

Photo: Joan Lardner Paul