How did we get towards the end of April so quickly! Beautiful spring weather has seen us through March and April with Ash Park looking glorious in the sunshine. My running kit always accompanies me in the car and if there is time at the end of the day I can head off into beautiful scenic routes from the showroom door. This time of year is particularly glorious in the nearby woodland with an abundance of bluebells carpeting the ground between the trees. Visitors to our Face Book page will have seen an image of the new addition to the Highland cattle that live by the entrance to Ash Park, an impossibly cute calf that is attracting attention from passing motorists. It really is a very fine place to have a piano showroom.
Reading back to the last update I was very positive about the activity around the showroom. I am very happy to report that this has continued throughout the spring, 2017 has so far been a real joy. Many of the Grotrian-Steinweg uprights selected in February have been arriving with some already delivered to their homes. A couple of them are sat awaiting delivery with more on order that were selected after my last report, it has been quite a year for Grotian-Steinweg uprights. One of the highlights of the last couple of months was a visit from a chap named Harold who I’m sure wouldn’t mind me mentioning is 89 years of age. Harold hasn’t played piano much for the last 40 years and is keen to get back into playing. During his visit he entertained us with his excellent piano playing and selected a Grotrian-Steinweg Contour as his piano of choice. What an inspiration! The showroom model had already been chosen so Harold’s piano is due over from Germany very soon. Other Grotrian models that have been selected are the Cristal, Studio and Carat with a very accomplished musician currently considering the Classic against one of our other uprights. Our beautiful restored rosewood Grotrian-Steinweg grand also found a perfect home in Winchester recently, we were sad to see it leave the showroom but happy that is went to such an appreciative pianist. I am looking forward to tuning it soon to see it settled into its new home. We have an elegantly styled Scheidmayer at the workshop awaiting transport to the showroom when we have room. With fifteen grands currently in the showroom we are a little tight for space, as soon as a couple of these are delivered the Scheidmayer can then be a welcome addition to our stock.
Our wonderful Kawai pianos continue to be very popular with visitors. We have just managed to fit in a replacement GL10 baby grand which is without doubt the most impressive small grand piano against any alternatives in a similar price bracket. We now have a total of six Kawai grand pianos to choose from (including the awe inspiring Shigeru) as well as the entire range of uprights. The K500 has been particularly popular this year and we currently have an ATX version on order for a young family who will be able to play the piano at all hours with the aid of the headphones, no waking the baby! We recently supplied a K300 to the local ABRSM centre and as a result had interest from two people who played it for their exams, one of whom purchased the piano after the exam session. We are still awaiting the additional two Haessler models, the Bluthner factory has been very busy so this order is taking a while, these pianos are not stockpiled in a warehouse awaiting distribution!! I have chosen to have these two models fitted with Renner actions (and always will, as is the 124 model in the showroom) and also Renner hammer heads, I’m really looking forward to hearing these pianos when they arrive. I have also been pleased with the 122cm Feurich model and the support the company have been giving us. We recently ordered a white model for a customer only to find that it was too big to go up the stairs! Feurich are kindly let us replace it with a more conventional black one, if you are reading this and the white appeals to you let us know quickly before it goes back, we are offering it at a very keen price..!
Life on the road tuning is as enjoyable as ever. We recently took over the care of Farleigh School pianos near Andover after their previous tuner, who we know well, moved to a new area. This is now one of four local independent schools who we visit before the start of each term, each with numerous pianos to get into shape for the rigors of school use. The music departments at these schools are all fantastic, what a shame that music doesn’t have such priority in the state school system. Private tuning remains as buoyant as ever with us all enjoying full diaries. John continues to help with the showroom pianos and also now helps with some private tuning. I have been visiting some of my tuning customers for twenty six years, it is wonderful to get to know so many people and see them regularly at tuning visits. I spent an enjoyable time today chatting to Mrs Bion who I have been visiting all of that time, she would have been sixty four when I first met her!
It is late and I must sign off. I am really looking forward to a visit in the morning from one of my favourite piano teachers with her friend who is a concert pianist, a treat in store! Over the Easter weekend we were very pleased to open our showroom to another concert pianist, Ivana Gavric, so that she could rehearse ahead of playing at Wigmore Hall. The Grotrian-Steinweg Cabinet grand and the Shigeru were both given a good workout and both thoroughly enjoyed!
As ever, visitors are most welcome. Ash Park is a wonderful place in the sunshine and our ‘Aladdins cave’ of pianos never disappoints.
All the best.