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Cornerstone University Dedicates Restored Steinway Grand Piano

News December 8, 2023

Pianists often refer to the magnificent 6′ 11″ Steinway Model B Classic Grand piano as “the perfect piano.”

Sunday, October 22, 2023, Cornerstone University dedicated their totally restored Steinway B grand piano in its new home onstage in Matthews Performing Arts Center. The dedication was part of the University’s Fall Choral Concert. CU President, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño offered the Prayer of Dedication in which he invoked God’s blessings on all who play and hear this instrument for the glory of God. Dr. Desmond Ikegwuonu, the Director of Worship Arts and Piano Studies, and Associate Professor of Music, performed the premiere hearing of his impassioned piano arrangement of Shall We Gather at the River. The piece is infused with jazz and gospel stylings that capture the journey of a heart longing for the river of life while striving to surrender to God’s sovereign plan.

The fifth president of Cornerstone University, Dr. W. Wilbert Welch and his wife, Meryl, were avid lovers of the piano and piano music. One of his generous gifts to CU was a Bösendorfer grand piano, which is played every day in Dr. Ikegwuonu’s studio, along with an endowment to maintain that fine instrument and other pianos on campus. Over the years, those funds grew so that our well-worn 1964 Steinway B, used by students and faculty for decades in Gordon Music Building, could be totally restored. The project began in the Spring of 2023 by Alex and Hans Kapteyn of Central Michigan Pianos, Inc.

Many hours of painstaking labor go into a project such as this. The work included the installation of several new components including a Sitka Spruce soundboard, maple bridges, Steinway strings and hammers, a completely new action mechanism, and a new handcrafted keyboard with each key meticulously weighed for the perfect touch. In addition, the piano’s finish was completely restored. Finally, the instrument was carefully tuned and regulated for peak performance. It is a “new” piano!

“We are honored to have been chosen to restore this magnificent instrument. Steinway and Sons describes the Steinway Model B as the perfectly balanced instrument, and we agree. Many thanks to Cornerstone University” (Alex and Hans Kapteyn).

With the arrival of the Steinway B in Matthews Performing Arts Center, the Yamaha grand that was previously there was moved to the Gordon Music Recital Hall, and the Yamaha grand on that stage was moved to one of the voice studios in the Gordon Music Building resulting in upgrades in all three spaces on campus.

From left to right: Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Dr. Desmond Ikegwuonu and Dr. Kent Walters, Director of Music Programs

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