AIKEN, SC (12/13/2017) The University of South Carolina Aiken added a brand new Steinway 9' D grand piano to the Etherredge Center Main Stage, just in time for the annual Winter Nocturne concert on Jan. 25, when the piano will make its public debut.
"The arrival of the Main Stage Steinway is the first step in USC Aiken becoming an All-Steinway School. Currently, only two institutions in the state hold that distinction: Converse and North Greenville University," said Judith Goodwin of the USC Aiken Advancement Office.
"We will be the only state university to become All-Steinway."
She credits generous donors - including Winter Nocturne benefactor, Ben Cox - for making the Steinway effort possible.
"Thanks to the generosity of Ben [Cox], Beth [Newburn] and several others, we have accomplished the hard part: raising more than $161,000 for the grand piano for the stage," Goodwin said.
The university now lacks a little more than $100,000 to reach All-Steinway status. Through additional gifts, USC Aiken can achieve that status and lift the university above all others in the region and the system.
"With USC Aiken's 'donate-a-key' fundraiser, parents and/or grandparents have a wonderful opportunity to honor their children and grandchildren who perhaps are piano students or even a student who is actively making music another way," said Newburn who co-chairs the USC Aiken Steinway Campaign with Cox.
"Buying a key in their honor could be a great holiday or birthday present."
That donate-a-key effort is known as the 88 Keys to Success Campaign.
In November, Steinway artist, Edvinas Minkstimas, who performed for the 2014 Winter Nocturne, went to the Steinway factory in New York to help university officials select the piano specifically for the Etherredge Center Main Stage. Minkstimas spent hours playing five Steinways before recommending one to the USC Aiken contingent.
"This beautiful instrument will benefit students of music, our community and all who enjoy live music through groups such as Masterworks Chorale, Joye in Aiken, Aiken Symphony Orchestra and Aiken Civic Orchestra, among others," Goodwin said.
The Main Stage grand piano will make its premiere during the 2018 Winter Nocturne, featuring South African pianist Petronel Malan. She will present a program that begins with a tribute to Wolfgang Mozart, whose birthday is celebrated Jan. 27 - just two days after the piano's debut.
USC Aiken Steinway Campaign donors will be honored with a pre-event sneak peek at the piano behind the Main Stage curtain. Additionally, they will receive early-bird seating opportunities. Although seats in the Etherredge Center are not reserved, all patrons must have a ticket.
Winter Nocturne tickets are available for the Jan. 25 concert at: https://etherredge.usca.edu or by calling 803-641-3305. Tickets are $20; students are admitted free.
Editor's Note: The website for 88 Keys to Success is: usca.steinwayfund.com .