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College to debut Steinway grand piano at concert

Rebecca O'Neil | Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saint Mary’s College will introduce a new Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano to the College’s Department of Music in its debut performance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 in Little Theatre of Moreau Center for the Arts, the College stated in a press release on Oct. 25.

Nancy Menk, chair of the department of music, said the piano is a gift from Louise Addicott and Yatish Joshi in honor of their daughter, Georgina. The piano was christened “Georgina” on behalf of Joshi’s daughter and her appreciation for all mediums of music – on and off the stage, Gwen O’Brien, director of media relations, said.

Joshi paired the gift with a letter to the College that stated his desire to inspire “students to greater heights in their music education and musical careers.” The letter also expressed the couple’s single vision in which young musicians experience various educational, career development and performance opportunities.

“We are thrilled with the donation of this wonderful instrument to our department of music,” Menk said. “Our students will benefit from the Joshis’ generosity for years to come. Georgina was a superb singer, and now our singers have an excellent instrument bearing her name to accompany them in rehearsal and performance.”

Georgina attended John Adams High School and the Royal College of Music in London, and then Indiana University (IU) Bloomington’s Jacobs School of Music, Menk said. Joshi’s letter also mentioned how Georgina had performed at Saint Mary’s after graduating from Royal College of Music and with the South Bend Chamber Singers for a number of years, the release stated. Menk said she knew Georgina well because of her participation in the local music community.

“She sang with the South Bend Chamber Singers under my direction when she was in high school and returned from IU to sing Bach’s B Minor Mass with us as well,” Menk said. “She gave a recital at Saint Mary’s at one time.”

Addicott and Joshi also offered to rebuild College’s existing Steinway piano.

“Our current pianos sustained damage while they were on the O’Laughlin Stage when last year’s fire there occurred, so this donation is especially timely as we need to have quality pianos for our students and faculty,” Menk said.

The dedicatory recital performance features Jeffrey Jacob, professor of music and concert pianist. O’Brien said Jacob received his master’s degree at Juilliard and his doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. Jacob’s history of audiences – who range from Hong Kong to Dublin and all over the U.S. – make him the perfect musician to consecrate the piano’s place in Moreau.

“Jeffrey Jacob is a College faculty pianist, so it is only natural that he would give the dedicatory recital,” Menk said.  He will be retiring at the end of this academic year, so this is a very special recital for him and for our campus.”

“This new piano, as well as our current Steinway D, which is in the process of being rebuilt, thanks to a gift from the Georgina Joshi Foundation, will be kept locked when not in use in a new piano ‘garage’ that is being constructed on the O’Laughlin Stage,” Menk said.

This is not the first time a piano has been donated to the music department, Menk said.

“Several years ago an alumna donated a baby grand piano for use in Stapleton Lounge, but we have never received a donation of a concert grand piano, to my knowledge,” Menk said. “The pianos may be used by anyone, but with the permission of the Department of Music or the Office of Special Events.”

The event is open to the public and free of charge. A reception will follow the event.

Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edu