Community Heritage, Visual & Performing Arts
Steinway Parlor Concert Grand Model A III 26467
On loan to the Tillotson Center
A local supporter of the arts learned that the Tillotson Center in Colebrook was in need of a high quality piano to draw fine arts performers to the Center. It is a reality that nine out of 10 concert pianists will only perform on a Steinway. For that reason, and, because she had grown up with a Steinway in her home this patron began searching for a used one. She soon found it to be a complicated and frustrating process.
In the fall of 2013, her search lead to piano technician Jude Reveley, owner of Absolute Pianos in Billerica, Massachusetts. He began his own efforts to locating a piano for the Tillotson Center. It was thought that a Steinway Model B would be too large, but a formidable instrument was still required. The Model A III concert grand, at 6 feet 4 inches, was ideal for the Tillotson Center hall, but difficult to find, since this model was only produced in New York, beginning in 1913 and discontinued in 1947. Mr. Reveley had recently made inquiries for two clients just prior to this request, and had already found that candidates for a custom rebuild of this model were scare. Quite by chance, Mr. Reveley asked David Betts of the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) in Boston - - where a prestigious instrument building program was housed - - if he knew of any pianos of this type.
The NBSS had recently moved and was about to hand over the keys to the new owner. Left behind in the basement was a 1928 Steinway Model A III 26467 concert grand. David Betts told Jude Reveley that the Steinway was a wreck. It was missing its action - - its keyboard all the way up to its hammers; the case had suffered flood damage and was missing some of its parts. With the clock ticking, the Steinway was literally just hours away from becoming Boston landfill.
No one at the school had thought this Steinway could be salvaged, said Mr. Reveley. “It was an absolute mess.” However, he had faced such challenges before - - he had confidence he could save it. And, the Colebrook arts supporter had confidence in Mr. Reveley. So, Mr. Betts donated the piano in behalf of the North Bennet Street School, and it was moved to Mr. Reveley’s shop in Billerica. With the arts patrons dedicated support behind him, Mr. Reveley embarked on the work of rebuilding this “wreck” of a piano. It soon turned into a labor of love.
One and a half years later, in May 2014, the reborn Steinway Model A III arrived on the Tillotson Center stage to thrill audiences once again. -Susan Zizza, Writer-Photographer