For many years Chesapeake Music dreamed of having its own Steinway concert grand piano, an instrument equal in quality to those the festival artists bring with them each year. With the move to the Ebenezer Theater this dream could become a reality. Thanks to the generosity and vision of four donors our newly acquired Steinway concert grand piano debuted at the 2021 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.
Dear Music Lovers,
Finally, live music…what a joy! On June 5, 2021, at the second concert of this year’s Chesapeake Music Festival, I heard a dear and much loved friend. I’m not talking about the world class players that I enjoyed so much, I’m talking about the Steinway.
‘She’ is an old friend because that wonderful Steinway piano belonged to my Mum, Helen Falvey Shehan. Mum was a brilliant pianist and composer. She studied at American and Catholic Universities achieving her Bachelors, Masters and was studying in the PhD program at Catholic but falling from a horse and breaking two vertebrae caused her to leave the PhD. program before fulfilling her composition requirements.
The Steinway was born in 1986; we acquired her in June 1993. I was home for a visit from Canada and Mum and I were chatting when she said, out of the blue, she wanted “a big piano”. I said, “Bosendorfer or Steinway?” Mum didn’t miss a beat, “Steinway”, she said. My brother knew someone who worked at Jordan Kitt, so off we went.
Mum tried all of their baby grands and didn’t like any. She didn’t want a baby grand anyway. We were then invited to see the work space behind the store. I was startled to see the size of the repair shop…it looked more like an airplane hangar. There seemed to be every kind of keyboard instrument imaginable.
We were looking about and I noticed a room behind us that contained pianos. I asked about them and was told they were used instruments, the majority being grands. We decided to have a look. Mum started playing a Mason & Hamlin. She had owned a baby grand M & H. She moved from piano to piano listening, not talking much. She played several and then sat down at this Steinway. She started to play and the sound was hers! I literally jumped in the air, spun round and said, “that’s the one, isn’t it?” She just nodded and kept playing. She played and played and I cried with joy! Mum LOVED her Steinway and it brought her and her children years of pleasure.
Mum died in October, 2013 and I inherited her piano. I have taken good care of her…if I hadn’t, Mum would have come to haunt me. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
I am so very pleased that Chesapeake Music now owns my Mother’s piano. I know she would be thrilled to know that her piano has stayed in Easton and is played by such brilliant artists. The piano has come full circle from its early days as a Concert and Arts piano, played by world-class pianists to its now permanent home where it will be played by world-class artists.
I would like to personally thank Don Buxton for his phone call last year asking if I still had the piano and his words, “we want to buy it.” I also want to offer my heart-felt thanks to the piano donors:
Robert and Cecilia Nobel
Chloe and David Pitard
Norman and Ellen Plummer
Joseph Schulman and Dixie King
With sincerest thanks, Helen Gale Shehan
Research compiled by Norman Plummer
Dec. 19, 1986:
Piano completed in New York by Steinway and delivered to Steinway Hall (Concert & Artists Studio).
Received from Steinway Hall; placed in Jordan Kitt’s Concert & Artists (C&A) pool.
Sold by Steinway to Jordan Kitt’s Music.
June 14, 1993:
Sold to Helen Falvey Shehan by Jordan Kitt’s. Mrs. Shehan was provided with a list of artists and venues showing who played the piano and the places that rented it. List was compiled by Emma Hillis, the director of Jordan Kitt’s C&A piano pool.
June 19, 1993:
Delivered to Mrs. Shehan.
October 6, 2013:
Mrs. Shehan died; piano inherited by daughter Helen Gale Shehan.
Purchased from Gale Shehan by Chesapeake Music.
Restoration by Alex Markovich, Steinway Piano Technician at Acoustic Piano Craft in Yonkers, New York.
Restored piano delivered to the Ebenezer Theater.