Dr. Tod Allen Farmer, Weatherford College president, announced the college’s attainment of All-Steinway Institution status Saturday evening at the Bell Ringers’ Ball, the sesquicentennial gala at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth.
The All-Steinway initiative began in the spring, and through generous donations to the WC Foundation from community members, faculty and staff, WC has acquired nine new Steinway & Sons-designed instruments ranging from Boston uprights to Steinway grand pianos.
In his remarks Saturday night, Farmer first recognized Nancy and Richard Stuart for their donation of a 7-foot Steinway B grand that arrived on campus in October.
“That generous donation left us one piano short of becoming an All-Steinway Institution,” Farmer said.
He then gestured to a 9-foot grand piano at the front of the stage for a surprise announcement.
“You may have thought this beautiful Steinway belongs to Ridglea Country Club,” he added. “Ladies and gentleman, Vickie and Jerry Durant have donated this beautiful Steinway D grand piano with Spirio R technology to Weatherford College.”
The piano was delivered from Steinway & Sons in Dallas to Ridglea for the special event, then transported to WC’s Alkek Fine Arts Center that same evening.
“Thanks to this generous donation from the Durants, not only is Weatherford College now an All-Steinway Institution, we are the first higher education institution in the state of Texas to own such a high tech piano,” Farmer said. “Through the Internet-based Spirio technology we can access the greatest instructors and performances anywhere in the world. We are now positioned to catapult our fine arts programs forward.”
Spirio R technology is capable of live performance capture and playback, allowing students and faculty to record their playing and then immediately play back their pieces to view their work.
“To reach this level in the matter of nine months is just incredible,” said Brent Baker, WC Foundation executive director. “Students in piano, choir, opera, musical theatre, jazz band and other areas will benefit from this generosity. Thank you to all of the donors who made this possible.”
Officials have their sights on one additional piano, a Steinway Model M “baby grand” with Spirio, which would give WC four different size options for practices and performances, while allowing different areas of the fine arts to use the Spirio technology at the same time.
Donors are continuing to participate in the “88 Key Campaign,” purchasing one or more symbolic keys to support the purchase of pianos for WC. For more information, click on the All-Steinway link at www.wc.edu/foundation.
The public is invited to hear WC’s master pianist Dr. Hyeyoung Song and three of her students on the two newest Steinway grand pianos at a concert starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Alkek Fine Arts Center. Admission is free.