Tuned up

Efforts to return SHS’s world-renowned piano back to its original conditions have started


Josiah Veen

Repairman Ron Winter works on the Steinway piano at SHS in preparation for the orchestra concert on May 18.

Built in 1981, a world-class, concert grade Steinway piano sits here at SHS. As time has gone on, the piano has had noticeable degradation on the piano that needed some attention, according to orchestra teacher Thomas Wright. 

“Like with anything, if things get old, parts wear out,” Wright said. 

Other than tuning, the Steinway piano has never had any work done to it. But this year, SHS finally decided to get some renovations done to improve the piano. 

According to Wright, there was warping in the wood that was noticeable when the piano was opened, as well as a misplaced metal piece. As some strings were being hit harder than others, the piano gave off an uneven sound, with the middle of the piano sounding very loud and the end of the piano not sounding loud enough. 

Sound within a piano is made by little hammers hitting the strings, and those are also being replaced. The repairs that are being done will even out the sound as well. The piano will be entirely restrung, which, according to Wright, is a difficult task to do since each note has three strings attached that are to be tuned and restrung. 

Ron Winter is the one doing the repairs on the piano. According to Wright, he is one of the finest piano repairmen in the Midwest.

SHS has a world-class Steinway Model D piano that was bought in 1981. The piano has recently undergone renovations to return it to its original condition. (Emma Main)

“The end goal is for the piano to play like a professional would expect a Steinway to play,” Wright said. 

Wright has many hopes for the future use of this piano. His overall goal is to be able to use it at every concert next year, but he is hoping it will be back to its best condition to be able to use it at their upcoming concert on May 18. 

Wright says he has actually selected the music for the concert that would allow him to  be able to play the piano with the orchestra.

  “So everything that we are doing that night, it’s not for me to be the conductor of the orchestra. It’s for me to be a member of the orchestra,” Wright said. “Everything that we have chosen for that concert is for me to play piano with them as a member of the ensemble.”