There is nothing more wonderful than receiving a gift, especially when it comes to a gift that a person or a community will use quite often. One such gift was given to St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church in Hamburg this month in the form of a grand piano. This is not only a rare event, but the piano was first played by artist Calvin Jones in a concert for everyone to enjoy on September 22.
“We were fortunate to have many chaperones,” said Pastor Dan Schnabel. “This church has been very strongly music oriented and enjoying its music.”
St. Paul’s in Hamburg has always been a very musical church. With a pipe organ and a Clavinova piano already at hand, playing instruments and singing was always a hallmark. One of their instruments, the Clavinova, was getting old and out of tune slightly. As an electric piano, it cannot be exactly tuned, so a replacement was necessary.
This is not a frequent request, according to Schnabel. In fact, the church rarely gives gifts like this. However, the congregation recognized the need and got to work. The church received a donation from a member named Laura, who is very “musically inclined” according to Schnabel. His donation enabled the church to get to work finding a piano.
With the donation funds in hand, Schnabel contacted a surprising source at an old friend’s home: Calvin Jones. Jones is a recognized composer, his music appearing in the Miss America pageant and various films, and his most notable piece being “White Water Chopsticks”. He agreed to help find a suitable donation and church grand piano, and began contacting contacts across the United States. Eventually Jones found a good fit: a Yamaha C6.
It’s already a grand piano that comes with all the normal features, but it comes with a little bonus in a disklavier. This allows the piano to record when someone is playing and these recordings can be played back automatically, which in the event that one of the six accompanists is not available, the music can still be enjoyed.
“We wanted to be able to do the same thing we did with the Clavinova,” said Schnabel.
To welcome the new addition to the church, Schnabel asked Jones if he could organize a free concert for the congregation and the community. Jones accepted Schnabel’s offer and performed in front of a large crowd on September 22. According to Schnabel, the news of Jones’ concert drew fans from over 100 miles, which was a great way to celebrate the donation.
With the new grand piano in place, the church is not looking for more instrument donations anytime soon. In fact, it was a rare circumstance, according to Schnabel, which led to a pretty happy outcome. The piano will be used, in person or automatically, for future services. The Clavinova and the pipe organ are certainly not going anywhere either and are now a trio.
“We are truly grateful for this blessing,” said Schnabel. “We love the music here and this gift is perfect for us. “