Welcome to the latest news update!

Welcome to the latest update. Similar to my last writing in April the sun is shining and it looks set to be a beautiful summers day. I’m starting this before heading out for the day which looks to be as varied a day as ever; a couple of local tunings, two showroom appointments, a repair visit and another tuning. As ever, my sports bag is packed and a run through the local forest after closing up will finish off what should be a very enjoyable day. I have received a few comments recently to the effect of how fortunate I am to have a business that I enjoy so much. This is completely true and whilst amassing a personal fortune will elude me I do count myself very lucky to have a thriving small business that I absolutely love. Every day I look forward to the people and pianos that I am seeing and never tire of the sight of my pianos when first opening the showroom door.! There is one in particular grabs my attention at the moment every time I enter…

As the sun started to appear in May things started to slow down a little in the showroom. We are still enjoying a good amount of visitors and pianos of all types are being selected but there is less activity than earlier in the year. So, this is the perfect time to plan ahead, ready for when the sun goes back in again! Michelle is working towards hosting our first piano club event, which we hope will be the first of many to come! The idea is that we invite a small group of pianists of a similar ability to visit the showroom and perform a piece on one of our finest grand pianos in a relaxed and informal setting. Piano playing can be quite solitary at times and we are hoping to provide a social event for like minded musicians of all abilities to share the enjoyment of piano playing with others. We are starting with an advanced group but are very keen that we offer this to all abilities and perhaps even extend it to a duet evening or accompaniment evening, as with most things over the last twenty five years, it will evolve..! If you are reading this and like the idea of joining us send Michelle an email, michelle@benwheelerpianos.co.uk, and she will take your details. These events may also act as an inspiration for busy people to learn a new piece, many piano players I know answer the question ‘have you been playing much?’ with ‘not as much as I would like..’ Michelle is a fantastic organiser and she will be very pleased to hear from you.

I myself have been inspired to learn a Chopin Nocturne recently after hearing a very impressive teenage pianist play it on the Grotrian-Steinweg 192 grand. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, being more of a busker than a reader. As far as Chopin Nocturnes go this is one of the more manageable ones and I have been quietly pleased with my efforts so far. However, after visiting to tune the wonderful Kawai K500 that the pianist purchased I was rather taken aback to find out that I had in fact been learning the wrong one! Oh well, you can never learn enough Chopin, I’ll set to on the original inspiration next, I may even join in an intermediate level piano club! Having recently read the interesting and inspiring book ‘Play it Again’ by Alan Rusbridger I am keen to prioritise my own enjoyment of the piano. Actually, it was partly this that inspired the piano club idea, the enjoyment of sharing music is very evident in the pages of the book.

We are looking forward to supporting two local concert events in June. the first is on 18th June and is a fund raising concert for Berkshire Music and Arts, www.berksmusicandarts.org.uk. This fabulous organisation is passionate about encouraging and nurturing the talent of young musicians, actors and writers. We are very pleased to be supporting this event, please come along it will be a very enjoyable evening. The second event is at St Pauls Church, Ashford Hill on 25th June. This is an all day event with an evening concert starting at 7pm, again an exciting musical event that we are very pleased to be supporting. For more information on this event the wonderful Vanessa Martin would be pleased to hear from you on 01635 299227. As ever we will be providing the piano for the local ABRSM exam centre, candidates will have a real treat this time with a Kawai K600 lined up to make the journey to the centre.

I have made a conscious effort not to mention individual pianos that have been selected recently as this seems to often be the main feature of my updates. I will, however, just mention one range that has been very popular, the GX Kawai grand pianos. We stock the GX1, GX2 and GX3 in the showroom at all times, all of these have been selected recently and continue to impress all who play them. As I write we are expecting the next replacement GX3 into the showroom, the GX2 is being delivered in a couple of weeks with the replacement on order and the GX1 replacement was ordered today after a recent selection of this model. They are all exceptional pianos and all three can always be found on display in the showroom. I’m not going to mention the many Kawai uprights, Grotrian-Steinweg uprights or restored grands that have been selected recently!

…I can’t possibly sign off before mentioning the piano that I am drawn to every time I enter the showroom at the moment. It is the spectacular Bosendorfer M200 grand piano from 1924. It is without doubt the finest restored piano that I have ever played, it is breathtakingly good, so good that I actually dreamt about it after it first arrived! Come and play it, you are all welcome, a piano like this doesn’t come along very often, this one will never come along again! I purchased it last year in very poor condition and sent it straight off to Barry Caradine in Suffolk. Barry received extensive training at the Bosendorfer factory in Vienna and became the top UK concert technician for this famous piano maker. His knowledge of Bosendorfer and technical skill is second to none and a couple of weeks ago he delivered it back to my showroom resplendent with a high polished black cabinet. Before bringing the piano to the showroom Barry displayed it at the Pianoforte Tuners Association convention where is was admired by the trade. The wonderful Valentina Seferinova visited the showroom to put it through its paces last week, she loved it and so did we!! I am happy to say that even my mediocre Chopin sounds amazing on this piano, all visitors are most welcome to play it, one of them will be lucky enough to purchase it but I’m rather hoping it won’t be just yet..

As ever, a warm welcome awaits visitors to the showroom. Enjoy the sunshine.

All the best.

Ben

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