Of course, it isn't only George's. George Simmons, that is. But he was the facilitator and he will be its primary virtuoso for the foreseeable future, so, yes, let's call a thing for what it really is.
Up here one hundred twenty miles from the scene of many a Sunday morning and Wednesday evening "when in our music God [was] glorified," I received this past week an Email from the director of music of Grace United Methodist Church in Valley Stream, New York, with the great good news that the church had recently acquired a Yamaha baby grand in mint condition. With the Email George sent several photos, which I am reproducing below. George also attached to an Email a couple of MP3 recordings ("Jesus Loves Me" and Liszt's "Dream of Love"), which, unfortunately are still beyond the capabilities (I'm working on it!) of this website to reproduce.
Here's the relevant part of George's Email to me, interspersed with photos.
I wanted to be the first to tell you and Barbara. But of late I had to delay writing to you; and I think my news may now have been preempted via Church Life. At least I can share with you some of the behind-the-scene details leading up to the piano's acquisition.
The piano is a 5' 3" Yamaha G1 in almost perfect condition.
A few weeks weeks ago, I received a phone call from an old friend and former choir member (from my first church of some 40 years ago) wondering if Grace Church would be interested in the piano. His brother, who lives in Setauket, was going into an assisted living facility and my friend is in charge of selling his home and all of its contents. The piano owner's wife, who died about six years ago and apparently was a good musician, had placed in her will the wish that the piano would end up in a church. Her husband offered it to the "upscale" church he attends and was told "we'll take it and put it in the basement". Well, that idea was rejected, much to Grace Church's benefit. The piano was so well maintained by the owner that she wouldn't even let the housekeeper touch it and NEVER used the fireplace over concerns about soot. My friend had seen prices for the same piano on E-Bay ranging from $10,000 to $12,000 but said we could negotiate. After talking to Paul Brown I had to tell my friend that what with the expensive upcoming Education Building window replacement job ($100,000) the church was not in a good position to purchase it right now. He said he'd be so glad to have his sister-in-law's wishes honored and to have me playing the piano that any offer would be considered. So Grace offered $2,000 and he said without any hesitation, "Sold!" Grace Church also provided a letter showing that an $8,000 donation was made. We will remove a pew from each side in the front of the sanctuary so that the piano, on the new piano truck, can be turned 360 degrees which will give us the flexibility to use it on both sides of the center aisle.
Iíve attached some pictures of the piano taken this past Sunday. The piano has a very fine tone. Canít wait for you two to see it.
Best regards to all,