PLATTSBURGH - The music continues at Plattsburgh High School.
Through the generosity of parent Susan Williams, the school's music department has received a used - though like-new condition - digital piano.
Music teacher William Verity said the department came into possession of a 1998 Yamaha Clavinova before Thanksgiving recess, though the donation was officially approved by the school district board of education Dec. 9.
Williams had recently moved to the Plattsburgh area from Wyoming and was interested in donating the piano to the district in memory of her late mother, Lois Anne Williams. Principal Glenn Hurlock learned of Williams' intent to donate the instrument and asked Verity if such a donation would be of interest to the department.
"I said, 'Absolutely,'" recalled Verity.
The donation was serendipitous, said Verity, given he was already interested in approaching the board of education about purchasing a digital piano.
"It just so turns out that with the inclusion of Smartboards in our classrooms, one of the things we're encountering is that when you have a piano in a music classroom in its normal spot in the center of the room, students can't see the Smartboard," said Verity. "So, instead of having to push and pull the piano out of the way, I felt a digital piano would be the perfect solution, in that it sits a lot lower."
Verity was planning to ask the board if a digital piano could be purchased somewhere in the future when he learned of Williams' interest in simply donating one.
"With Susan's help, [getting a piano] came to fruition a lot easier than we thought it would," said Verity.
The digital piano has already seen much use in the first two weeks in its new home in Verity's classroom, with Verity being the primary user so far, he said. Students are gradually being introduced to the instrument, giving them the understanding of how important the donation is and how it must remain well cared for, said Verity.
Given how students in chorus and Verity's Music in Our Lives class are working on a piano unit, the timing of the donation was perfect, he said.
"Students are playing on our mini keyboards in our lab, but when they get something really done well and they want the rest of the class to hear it, I have them come up to the performance piano and they're able to play," said Verity. "Everybody can see them, and they're still able to see the Smartboard. It's working out really well."
Though the value of the donation was initially estimated by the school district's board of education at $500, the actual cost to replace an instrument such as this would be roughly $2,000, said Verity.
"It's a perfect condition instrument," said Verity. "I'd have to say $500 is a steal. I'd buy 10 of them at $500. I bought one like this for my house back in the late '90s and I paid $1,600 for mine."
"In difficult financial times, we really do appreciate this kind of outreach from the community," continued Verity. "This really allowed us to do something that was much needed in the classroom. Susan's gift is greatly appreciated."
Williams said making the donation gave her "a wonderful feeling."
"My mother would be really happy that I made this decision," she said. "I wanted to be a music major in college but never got the chance. This is a way to give back to students in hopes they can go on and realize their dreams."
The music department is now in the process of moving the acoustic piano to a different location in the school, with Verity's classroom now using the digital piano as the primary instrument in the classroom.