After serving as a vital part of worship and music at Saint Andrews for 30 years, the Schimmel grand piano in the sanctuary is deteriorating and is nearing the end of its functional life. After a period of discernment and consideration of many options, the Session and Music and Worship Committee have approved the purchase of a new Yamaha CF6 7’ grand piano. This is a high-quality instrument with the size and sound characteristics that will make it well-suited to the long-term needs of Saint Andrews. It is expected to have a functional life in excess of fifty years. We are currently seeking donations toward the total purchase cost of $75,000. You can give toward that amount by following this link or by designating “Piano” on a check and either mailing it to the church or including it in the weekly offering.
As of June 5, 2019, $19,235 has been either received or pledged toward our goal of $75,000.
What’s Wrong with Our Current Piano?
In recent years, minor mechanical difficulties with the piano have become more frequent. In spring of 2018, SAPC leadership learned from the piano’s service technicians that mechanical components within the instrument were beginning to show significant signs of wear, and that something needed to be done within an estimated 12-18 months. As a result of these mechanical issues, SAPC has been spending significantly more money on instrument maintenance and tuning in the past 2 years to keep the instrument sounding good enough to use in worship and for church events.
What Options Did We Have?
Two options were available to us: repair the instrument with a significant rebuild and refurbishment of the piano’s mechanical components or replace the piano. The estimated cost of refurbishment was $25,000. This cost far exceeds the estimated value of the instrument itself. The rebuild would take approximately 4 months, during which SAPC would have to rent a temporary replacement instrument, adding to the total cost. It was estimated that the refurbished instrument would last another 10-12 years. The leadership of the church decided that the cost of refurbishment and expected lifespan of the refurbished instrument did not make this a good option for SAPC. Therefore, they pursued the other option – instrument replacement.
What was the Piano Selection Process?
As mentioned above, the Session and Music and Worship Committee decided that instrument replacement was the better option for our church. The Music and Worship Committee and Director of Music Ministries worked to identify the characteristics that Saint Andrews needs in its sanctuary piano, including considerations of size, volume, tonal characteristics, expected durability, and others, research was done to identify piano models that meet SAPC’s needs. They heard a variety of models played, in-person, as a means of further narrowing the list of possible instruments. Finally, they consulted with other churches in the area who had recently been through a similar piano replacement process. After narrowing the list to 3 models and receiving institutional pricing quotes on those models, the Music and Worship Team made a recommendation to the Session that the Yamaha CF6 be purchased by Saint Andrews as its next sanctuary piano. After discussion and review, Session accepted this recommendation. The CF6 was neither the most nor least expensive option considered.
Why was the Yamaha CF6 chosen?
The committee began its search by considering replacing our Schimmel with a new model of the same piano. The approximate cost of this piano would have been somewhere between $65,000 – $70,000. However, when heard live, it was clear that the new model did not have the tonal characteristics and quality needed by SAPC. Several models and manufacturers were considered, including Steinway, Yamaha, Bösendorfer, and others. When the Director of Music Ministries played the Yamaha CF6 for the first time, it was clear to those present that it was a beautiful-sounding instrument with a noticeable improvement in sound quality to other instruments under consideration. It is a hand-built instrument, and is the smaller-sized model of Yamaha’s concert model piano, the CFX. Thus, both the materials and manufacturing process are of a higher quality than some of the other models under consideration. Not only did this yield a better sound, it also increases the durability of the instrument from the 30 year life of our current piano to an expected 50 – 60 years. Durability and sound quality ultimately made this a clear choice to meet SAPC’s needs. Of note: both White Memorial Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Greenville have recently chosen the same model of piano for their respective worship spaces.
What about the Cost?
We’re seeking to raise $75,000 to purchase this instrument. As mentioned above, replacing our current model with the exact same model would cost $5,000 – 10,000 less. However, the CF6 sounds noticeably better and should last 20-30 years longer. Thus, for several thousand more dollars, SAPC will be getting a much higher quality instrument that will last much longer. Also, the retail price of the CF6 is $119,000. We received an initial institutional quote of approximately $85,000. However, during a significant sale in the fall of 2018, SAPC received a quote of just under $75,000 dollars. Through negotiation and discussion with the piano dealer, SAPC was able to lock in that price as guaranteed through the end of 2019 in return for a 10% down-payment, which SAPC made. Therefore, by raising the funds to purchase the piano by the end of 2019, the church will save a significant amount of money.
What Happens Once the Funds are Raised?
The piano SAPC is going to purchase is already at Ruggero Piano and is being held for us until the funds are raised. Once that happens, the piano will be delivered and installed in the sanctuary. There are plans to have a dedicatory and celebratory concert once the piano is installed.
What Can You Do?
If you feel led to contribute, you can do so by following this link or by designating “Piano” on a check and either mailing it to the church or including it in the weekly offering. Whether great or small, your contribution is appreciated and will have a lasting impact on SAPC and on the members of the arts community in Raleigh who rely on SAPC’s facilities each year. Lastly, you can support this campaign through your prayers as you ask God to bless this process as we seek to glorify Him by being good stewards of our facilities infrastructure.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions, you can email email@example.com. If you prefer, you can speak to one of the Elders who lead the Music and Worship Committee, or you can speak to our Director of Music Ministries. Also, read the announcements in the bulletin each week, read your SAPC emails, and follow SAPC on Facebook for updates and additional information. There will be videos posted where you can hear the new piano, and informational meetings where you can see what’s wrong with our current piano and ask questions in an informal setting.