Donated Piano Causing Contributor Confusion

Donated vintage piano needs some repair work

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Sometimes the best of intentions result in unexpected concerns.

This is the case with the piano recently donated to the Payson Community Presbyterian Church.

The newspaper received a letter from one of the concerned contributors who had donated to the church’s piano fund. The fund was created last fall by the Payson Friends of Jazz.

Announcing the fund-raising campaign, the Friends wrote, “An aging piano is currently being used for all music functions at the church. … the incurable problems affecting the piano’s tuning and tonal character are now very obvious. The piano will no longer remain in tune, and the hammers need to be replaced.

“In order to continue attracting and supporting quality-level performers, the church wishes to acquire a piano that will provide the precise tuning and natural acoustic qualities demanded by the professional musicians who perform at the church.”

Earlier this month another article was contributed to the Roundup reminding readers about the raffle of a painting, donated by Jay Kemp, to continue to raise piano funds.

It was this announcement that prompted a reader to write, “I’m confused! After speaking with some other friends who also donated money to the piano fund for the Community Presbyterian Church, I am apparently not alone in my confusion.

“It has been our understanding that the church and Payson Friends of Jazz, collected donations somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000 for purchase of a baby grand piano to replace the old one used at the church. Then some kind soul donated a Baldwin baby grand piano. I believe the cost of shipping the piano to Payson was about $750, and perhaps $100 to retune the piano.

“This article states that now, additional funds are needed ‘to pay for expenses incurred in accepting the donation and purchases of necessary accessories, such as a bench and cover.’

“This is where my confusion comes into play. If $750 was paid out for shipping charges, and another $100 was charged for tuning the piano that still leaves something over about $7,000 still available from donations collected. Surely, a bench and cover, and other ‘necessary accessories’ cannot run into the thousands of dollars. Where did it go? Moreover, for what purpose is it intended to be spent? I think clarification would be nice.”

So, the Roundup went in search of a clarification.

The expenses related to accepting the donated piano, as of the end of December, have amounted to approximately $1,800, according to Chuck Proudfoot, pastor of the Presbyterian Church.

These included about $1,000 for the shipping the piano from the Dallas area to Payson and related transportation costs, getting it tuned, buying an adjustable bench and a cover. An estimated $3,000 in additional work to replace the hammers will be needed on the instrument in three to five years, he said.

The church has a designated account for any and all funds contributed toward getting a different piano. There is also a special committee working on the project.

The committee looked at many options to acquire a different piano for the church. A new one of the appropriate size for the facility would cost between $20,000 and $35,000.

When several used pianos were offered, a sub-committee with special knowledge in usable pianos was created to investigate each offer. All needed work or were not the size needed.

The donated piano that was finally accepted from Lisa Doyle of Pine is a vintage Baldwin. She did not have room for it in her home and wanted it to go for a good use. A family connection with the Presbyterian Church made the Payson Community Presbyterian Church the perfect place, Proudfoot said.

It was tuned and used in the January jazz concert and at several services at the church and then went out of tune. Another tuning was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 29 and the “test” of the condition of the hammers will take place when guest artist Judy Roberts performs with it at the Feb. 8 jazz concert.

“It was manufactured in 1966 when Baldwin was nationally known for being a good piano,” Proudfoot said.

The repairs it needs are mostly age-related, as it was not played much, so it doesn’t have the damage one might expect in a piano that is more than 40 years old.

An expert suggested the repairs it needs and estimated they could cost $3,600. A second opinion, by a registered Baldwin technician is being sought, Proudfoot said.

Research by the piano committee suggests all the repairs needed to bring the piano into optimum condition could cost between $5,000 and $8,000. While the worth of the donated piano is not known for certain, it is believed when it is in prime condition it could be comparable to a piano costing between $20,000 and $30,000, Proudfoot said.

The Feb. 8 performance is at 2 p.m. and features Renee Patrick as well as Roberts, who has been involved in securing a different piano for the church for several years, Proudfoot said. At that time a report on the piano fund will be made, he said.

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