Bequest provides new instruments for budding pianists

Find out how kids now have the chance to learn on ‘real’ pianos – instead of taking lessons on electronic toy keyboards – at this East Portland music center …

Seated at one of eight brand new Yamaha pianos at CMC, Madeline DeWeese listens, as teacher George Cheshier gives instruction.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The young students, now able to take their piano lessons on brand new Yamaha Arius digital instruments, looked delighted as they took their seats in Community Music Center’s (CMC) piano classroom in southeast Portland on the afternoon of January 10.

“The difference between these, and electronic keyboards, is tremendous,” exclaimed CMC’s instructor of 16 years, professional musician George Cheshier.

“These are wonderful quality instruments,” grinned Cheshie, “And it’s a pleasure to be able to have nice equipment on which to teach. All of our students have a better learning experience now, because these pianos have a full-size 88-key keyboard. And, the keys are ‘weighted’ to simulate the feel of playing a real piano, to help them learn good technique.”

CMC student Jack Bibb begins playing his lesson on a new CMC piano.

CMC Director Gregory Dubay smiled has he watched the class get underway.

“Thanks to Portland’s ‘Classic Pianos’ store, we were able to purchase eight pianos, and other needed instruments with funds from a bequest of the Jack Malcom estate,” Dubay said.

Malcom was a successful florist in Gresham, and a member of the Metropolitan Arts Commission, Dubay observed. After his death in 2009, his estate set aside $1.2 million for generous charitable gifts to local institutions. An additional small portion of the estate was left to the discretion of the executor, Bob Dye, who toured the facility, and then gave CMC $20,000 to purchase the new instruments.

Madeline and Ethan DeWeese play their first lessons on new pianos at the Community Music Center.

The CMC’s nonprofit foundation board of directors intends to spend the rest of the donation on other instruments, including (strings, winds, and brass instruments, which will be loaned out to low-income students for music lessons, Dubay added.

Learn more the Community Music Center, a Portland Parks & Recreation facility in SE Portland, by going online: CLICK HERE. Or call 503-823-3177. It’s located at 3350 SE Francis Street.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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