As another year ends and the New Year dawns, it’s tradition to sing the old Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” Though it’s difficult to pronounce in the vernacular (even the English translation gives some of us trouble), its meaning is simple: as time goes by, we remember old friends.
To us at Antique Piano Shop, this has a double meaning. Of course we reflect on the partnerships we have strengthened within our staff, interior designers and customers, but we also take a moment to think about the “old friends” we interact with every day- the pianos we restore.
These pianos have been valued members of families, generation after generation. Not only are older pianos superior to new pianos in their rich tones, they serve as windows to eras past. We seek to remember these “times gone by” through our restoration work, passing these historic musical instruments on to posterity.
One of the most important aspects of our work is helping people keep the memories of their ancestors alive. In fact, my “aha” moment was having a client cry uncontrollably when she came to see her great grandmother’s piano that the shop restored for her, specifically so it could be handed down to three generations to her. Upon seeing the piano, she was so deeply moved with tears of joy. In that moment, I realized I was doing something right. I’m not in it for the monetary gain, it’s simply a good thing to do. The entire staff believes the service it provides clients is something special and lasts far beyond a repair job; we help honor memories and give people the ability to pass them on.
Several years ago, I became aware that an elderly couple in New York was moving to assisted living, and their children had no interest in keeping the piano that had been in the family for five generations. The piano was a lovely, Rococo-style upright piano made of Brazilian Rosewood (now an endangered species) with what sounded like beautiful carving detail. From the way it was described to me, and the fact that the piano had been held onto for five generations, I knew this instrument was something special. I purchased it on speculation, sight unseen, from the couple and promised to restore it for a good home. From that ending comes a beginning. That beautiful upright now sits in a musically-inclined celebrity’s house, and it was her dream to have this exact piano to play, but that is another story for another time.
In the New Year, it is my sincere hope that we each reflect on these musical “times gone by,” and recognize the importance music had for our lineages and continues to have on us today. Whether we realize it or not, musical instruments have provided gathering places for families and loved ones over the years, shaping us indelibly. If our shop can help preserve your piano, organ or melodeon so future generations can share in the memories of yore, please don’t hesitate to let us be of service.
May you all have a musical and merry 2015!