Becky Paylor has experienced a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the most famous manufacturing facilities in the world: the Steinway piano factory in New York City. And that experience is being put to good use for the All Steinway School campaign currently being conducted by the Pellissippi State Foundation.
The Foundation launched the campaign in 2010. The fundraising effort seeks to elevate the Music program at Pellissippi State Community College to world-class status by raising $600,000 for the placement of 13 Steinway pianos in studios, practice rooms and performance venues. If successful, Pellissippi State will become the first All Steinway community college in Tennessee, the fourth All Steinway community college in the nation, and one of only about 120 All Steinway colleges and universities in the world.
Paylor, chair of the Foundation board and, along with the other board members, an active participant in the campaign, had always thought highly of the Steinway name and the 158-year-old company’s pianos. But after seeing firsthand the process behind crafting the grand pianos—each of which is composed of 12,000 parts—she came away with a deeper appreciation for the musical instrument. She and her husband, Bob, toured the Steinway factory in February.
“The building specs for a Steinway piano are the same as they were in the 1800s,” said Paylor. “There were craftspeople in the factory using not just the larger equipment that I expected to see, but also handsaws. The building process is even more customized than I had heard.”
Students at Pellissippi State stand to benefit tremendously from the All Steinway School campaign, says Paylor.
“There really is nothing that compares to the quality of a Steinway,” she said. “Every piano is tested by numerous craftsmen during the year that it takes to build one. Wally Boot, who we met on the tour, has been testing every piano at the factory for 48 years. Our Music students will have the very best. There are definitely no corners cut with a Steinway.”
The Pellissippi State Foundation raises money that supports programs directly impacting students. Paylor has served on the board for five years and has been board chair for two.
For information about participating in or giving to the All Steinway School campaign, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6529 or visit www.pstcc.edu/steinway.