Asya Akkus, eighth-grader at Gilmour Academy, moved her fingers gracefully across the keys of the new Steinway grand piano during a welcoming ceremony.
The school was celebrating the three new pianos at its Lower School, including the one Asya played, that were delivered last month.
The three are the first of 10 Steinway and Sons grand pianos that will make their way to the school over the next four years in the effort to become a Steinway Select K-12 School.
The program was introduced 15 months ago when Gilmour alumni and current parent Matthew P. Figgie saw a need to replace the school’s aging pianos.
Figgie, founder and CEO of Figgie Capital and chairman of The Figgie Foundation, donated funds to install all new Steinway and Sons grand pianos at Gilmour, including a Steinway Spirio piano for the Tudor House and a Steinway Model D Concert Grand for the school’s future Lorraine and Bill Dodero Center for Performing Arts. Steinways also will be placed in the school’s Our Lady Chapel, Murphy Residence Hall and Kelley Middle School.
“This will be great for the school for years to come,” Figgie says about the Steinway initiative. “I am very proud to do this with the help of others.”
Gilmour will be the first private K-12 school in the Midwest to earn a Steinway Select K-12 distinction, an honor held by only eight schools in the country to date. To have the Steinway Select distinction, schools must have an all-Steinway campus.
“Gilmour’s mission has always been to educate the whole child — mind and heart,” says Kathy Kenny, head of school. “The Steinway pianos provide us with the ability to educate students who are passionate and interested in the performing arts.” She adds that all students will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the grand pianos.
The current curriculum incorporates music into the Montessori, lower, middle and upper school levels. There will be a development of programming options, along with the school’s plans to partner with other performing arts organizations and the community.
“This opens up a lot of opportunities,” says Asya, who adds that having these pianos on campus allows students to have access to the premier instrument and will help expand Gilmour’s camp experience. “The Steinway has a very rich sound and it’s a privilege to play.”