A beautiful gift, a joyous noise for Shirreff Hall
Part of the Dalhousie Difference series
Ari Herberman - October 9, 2012
The Sunday night rain didn’t stop the Women’s Division of the Dalhousie Alumni Association (WDDAA) from hosting a wonderful evening in the Victorian Lounge at Shirreff Hall on September 30.
After all, nothing warms up the night like beautiful music.
Last month, a brand new ebony Yamaha grand piano was delivered to Shirreff and the WDDAA saw it fitting to host a celebratory recital and reception.
A generous gift
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Margaret Cameron, president of the WDDAA. Cameron provided an enlightening history of Shirreff Hall and the Victorian Lounge.
“It is a room that deserves to have a grand piano,” Cameron noted of the stately surroundings.
The next speaker was Lucy Kerr, honorary president of the WDDAA. She explained to the audience that last year, an inspection of the lounge revealed the old piano to be deficient.
“We were told it would not stand another tuning,” said Kerr.
The new piano was financed by the Emily Bevan Harrington fund. Harrington was an esteemed Dalhousie student who passed away in 1907 while pursuing her doctorate degree. Her classmates established the memorial fund.
“They had an original goal of $5,000. The principal was left invested and was wisely maintained,” said Kerr.
The growth of that initial investment, along with ongoing donations, resulted in the beautiful grand piano that now sits in the Victorian Lounge.
The new piano, in all its glory.
Supporting student music
Lynn Stodola, piano faculty in Dalhousie's Department of Music, introduced the recital portion of the evening. Stodola organized the recital and chose the pieces to be performed.
“I wanted a program that would give a full spectrum of colour, sound, and personality of the piano,” said Stodola, and she certainly succeeded.
The recital was comprised of five pieces by Mozart, Debussy, Kabalevsky, Frank, and Brahms – all performed by Dal students. The first three were solo piano performances by Ria Kim, Sooyoun Shin, and Emily MacDonald. The latter two performances included string accompaniments, first by Artem Kolesov on the violin with Stodola on the piano, and finally with Heemin Choi, Warda Limaye, and Shikan Yue playing violin, viola, and cello with Kim on the piano once again.
The audience was silent in awe as the performers put on a concert that demonstrated impeccable skill at their respective instruments and especially showcased the depth and range of the new piano.
“It’s really good. I like the touch,” said Kim following the recital.
88 keys for all
Cameron emphasized that the piano is not solely meant for recitals and special occasions: any student is welcome to play whenever they like.
“This is for the students,” Cameron said, adding that “the whole purpose of the Victorian Lounge is to be a place for students to enjoy. I can’t imagine a lovelier place to come, sit, and be inspired.”
Everyone in attendance agreed that the piano will add something special to the campus.
“A piano like this is a legacy. It is a constant reminder of the support and ongoing interest in Dalhousie,” said Stodola.
Cameron noted that Jennie Shirreff Eddy, Shirreff Hall’s original benefactor and namesake, wanted the residence to be more than a place for students to live.
“She wanted it to be a place for students to enhance their lives,” she said.
The efforts of everyone involved proved that the new piano will not only enhance the lives of residents of Shirreff Hall but the larger Dalhousie community as well.
This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, exploring what the power of philantrophy means to the university and introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. Learn more at boldambitions.dal.ca.
Margaret Cameron and Lucy Kerr (back centre) of the Women's Division of the Dalhousie Alumni Association with Lynn Stodola (far right) and the student musical performers.
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