Festival Hall, Greensboro’s premier arts venue and cultural center, welcomes its first-ever piano from Isabel Jackson of Joseph, Michigan.
Jackson, the mother of Reverend Meg Jackson Clark of Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church, donated an 1895 Steinway and Sons Model A grand piano for Festival Hall’s use. Considered one of the premier piano manufacturers in the world, Steinway and Sons has been hand making pianos since 1853. Festival Hall’s new piano was built in 1895 in the Munich, Germany factory in a time that is considered by piano enthusiasts and historians as Steinway’s “golden era.”
Early owners of this instrument are unknown, but in the late 1970s, Jackson and her family of seven sold their automobile to purchase the piano and it was later rebuilt by the Steinway factory in New York. Jackson, a professional pianist and organist, lovingly cared for the piano for many years until it made the journey to Festival Hall from Michigan last month, arriving with fanfare on April 28.
“We are so over the moon,” stated Festival Hall Executive Director Nicole Chillemi. “This piano is absolutely wonderful, and to have Mrs. Jackson trust Festival Hall to care for her beloved piano is even more precious. Special thanks to Reverend Meg Jackson Clark for facilitating this donation and to the community donating to our piano fund.”
Last November, Festival Hall kicked off an initiative to raise funds to purchase its first-ever acoustic piano. Gifted high school senior Carter Cadwallader offered to share his talents, performing his graduation recital at Festival Hall, raising nearly $4,000 from the community toward this initiative. Rev. Clark happened to attend Cadwallader’s performance, approached Chillemi, and expressed that her mother had a Steinway Grand she might donate to Festival Hall. Jackson agreed
to donate her beloved instrument and the ball was put into motion. After consulting piano experts in Michigan and Georgia, a plan was formed, and the thousand-plus-miles journey commenced.
The funds raised during Cadwallader’s concert were sufficient to cover the costs of moving the piano and purchasing pertinent accessories.
“I am so grateful to have played a part in the spirit-guided journey of the Steinway grand piano to Festival Hall,” said Rev. Jackson Clark.
Festival Hall will hold a reception in the summer to thank all the contributors to the piano fund and celebrate a fantastic addition to the hall. In the meantime, the piano can been seen during its first concert use May 11, when Festival Hall continues its much-acclaimed Jazz Legacy Project, featuring the music of Art Blakey who is considered the father of modern jazz. For tickets visit our Ticket Sales page. To see all upcoming events visit our Events page.