My first grand piano (A George Steck!)
If you're like me, you'll never forget your first grand piano. I brokered the deal between my boss, who was apprenticing me in piano technology, and my parents, who, to my utter bewilderment, never did realize how badly they needed a grand piano. ( I was about 14 years old, by the way!) Our little Gulbransen Console was just fine, to them. In fact, the 5'7” George Steck grand was out on the porch with the movers waiting to whisk away that small (more easily marketable) piano, really before I had had a chance to do much more than merely mention to mom and dad the possibility of the swap. I figured it was going to be fine, though; an even trade;
who could object to that, right?
To my mom, the graceful curves of the Louis XVI styled piano jutted much too far out into the living room. That was the main difficulty (unbelievable, right?). Dad handled things with his usual diplomacy, granting me a chance to make my case. It was a grand--grand in every way, I argued-- grand sound, a grand size, for grand music, for a grand and deserving person (me). Mom's taste in pianos was just too pedestrian, unsophisticated, and unmusical, I pressed on. And I knew that someday she would realize what a favor I had done for her and the entire family. I knew they would be telling this story with gratitude for their son's alert thinking and skillful negotiating.
Well, we kept it--I'm sure for reasons I could not have understood at the time-- and I had that piano a long time. I eventually gave it to a friend when we moved to Oxford. He and his family eventually moved and gave it to a church, which eventually needed to move it on to somewhere; who knows where, though. It's floating around Kansas City, or Joplin, or Cape Girardeau, I suppose, after all these years. Imagine my surprise and good cheer when I discovered the little 4'8” George Steck piano at Corbin Theatre, in Liberty, MO, on which I'll be playing next month, March 9th. What memories it brings back! I hope you'll come. And, I hope you'll swap a story about your own first grand piano.