Venables auditorium is gone, but the grand old Steinway is still safe

Piano survives high school fire

Music, “an outburst of the soul,” cannot be quelled in Oliver.   Our lovely auditorium smoulders in ruins but the “Old Lady” is safe and sound. Our somewhat elderly Steinway has been a center piece for dazzling world class pianists over the decades. Angela Hewitt, Jon Kamura Parker, Anton Kuerti and, most recently, Sara Beuchner are just a few who have thrilled us with their mastery of the keyboard.   Condolences from many musicians who have played here are rolling in as they get word of the fire. They take heart in the story of the Steinway.

The story goes this way.  Knowing the renovations at the Venables Auditorium could not be completed in time for this season’s concert series, the South Okanagan Concert Society made temporary plans to relocate to another venue, the Oliver Alliance Church.   But what to do about the Steinway was the question.

A small ‘new piano fund’ had been growing slowly over the years.   When it became apparent the Steinway would have to be moved, at the very least, to another part of the school,  stored in a secure site with consistent humidity and temperature, tuned a number of times and insured against damage or loss for an extended period while the auditorium was being made ready, the executive decided to seize the moment.   This was the time for a new piano.

So a partnership was formed with the Adopt-A-Seat Committee and school district 53.   By joining forces and using the expertise of Bob Park an arrangement was made to trade in the old Steinway and buy a gently used Yamaha C3 grand piano.

A beautiful concert instrument , the Yamaha could be delivered upon completion of the auditorium and the storage cost savings were directed against the replacement cost.   S.O.A.P. and the Town of Oliver were all in agreement and the plan took place.

So where are we now?   The old Steinway is safe in her new home and escaped the ravages of the fire.  The new concert piano is on hold and ready to be delivered when a new auditorium is rebuilt.   We also have a series of concerts designed specifically to take advantage of the smaller, more intimate Alliance Church venue to delight us over the winter.

 

Music is alive in Oliver. You can get flex tickets at Beyond Bliss and be comfortably seated on Friday, October 28 at the new time of 7:30 p.m.   Alexander Sevastian, originally from Minsk, Belarus and now a Canadian citizen, will magically turn his accordian into a whole orchestra as he showcases amazing dexterity and musicality.  Get your tickets quickly.   Citizens of Russian descent in Grand Forks went wild for his Kossak Variations and are expected to gobble up tickets here too. Let’s make this the winter Oliver turns grief into joy through music.