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#1324824 - 12/13/09 09:15 PM More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5602
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
© The Ithican

More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music
By Gillian Smith Staff Writer | December 13th, 2009

Filed at 05:28 PM

More than 60 pianos were damaged last night in the first floor practice rooms in the Whalen School of Music, according to Dave Maley, associate director of Media Relations.

Maley said officers were notified about the vandalism around 9 a.m. today and responded immediately.

Today, sophomore Andrew Thomson, a composition and instrumental major, said he went into the first floor of the Whalen Center to retrieve some equipment and found damaged equipment in all of the practice rooms.

"Two or three [pianos] were flipped completely over," he said. "Most were up against the doors somehow."

Thomson said the front sound panels and music racks were pulled off and most of the baby grand pianos were damaged.

Thomson said the damage comes before finals and juries — final playing exams — which start tomorrow.

"It’s perfect timing," Thomson said. "It’s wreaking havoc."

The New York State Police were also called to assist in the crime scene investigation.

Maley said the extent of damage varies from piano to piano. He said assessments are still taking place but there is "significant dollar damage."

At 9 p.m. tonight there will be a candlelight vigil by the clock in the academic quad to support the music school. Students are asked to bring their own candles.

Thomson said the incident upset him.

"You talk to any music major about this and we all feel like there has been some horrific murder here," Thomson said. "We are all waiting for information for now."

If anyone has any information about the vandalism, please contact Public Safety at 274-3333.

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#1324835 - 12/13/09 09:36 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Piano World]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Unspeakable.

What's this world coming to?

Norbert
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#1324840 - 12/13/09 09:39 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Piano World]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19796
Loc: New York
Wow -- that's Ithaca College. I've spent a lot of time up there (Cornell) and didn't know that the I.C. music school had that name.

And I certainly didn't think of Ithaca as a place where something like that would be likely to happen. I mean, not that it can't happen anywhere.......

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#1324844 - 12/13/09 09:42 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Mark_C]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
I don't understand it. I wonder what causes this type of behavior. We are rebuilding a recent vintage Steinway D for the primary concert hall of a prominant music school because of vandalism. As far as I know, those responsible were never caught.
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#1324852 - 12/13/09 09:51 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Keith D Kerman]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3345
At my school, we'd strangle the perpetrators with piano wire...
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#1324875 - 12/13/09 10:46 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: beethoven986]
PreparedPipa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 127
Loc: MA, USA
if the perpetrators are college kids, then it really, really makes me angry. so many college kids are hard-working, deserving people. but then there are those who just drink all day and came out dumber than when they got in. these are the people who have plastic and trash all over their own houses and thinks rich and famous equals class. puke!!

poor, poor pianos. frown
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#1324891 - 12/13/09 11:14 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Piano World]
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
Sorry to hear about this terrible vandalism.

There is so much senseless violence in this world. I am sorry about the pianos, but at least no one was killed.

I hope they bring justice to whoever did it. They sound a bit deranged, or perhaps so stressed they flipped out and it was internal job?
_________________________
Wade

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#1324901 - 12/13/09 11:34 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: brazospiano]
Igor Stravinsky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/03
Posts: 231
Shame, shame, shame. There are so many kids out there who cannot afford decent instruments... Yet there are some who are willing to damage pianos! Disgusting...

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#1324914 - 12/14/09 12:02 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Igor Stravinsky]
meowmix52 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 110
Come on guys... I know everyone has secret urges to hurt an innocent piano...

Seriously, the perpetrator is so random -- maybe he doesn't have the guts to hurt a human being, or even an animal for that reason -- and thank goodness for that.

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#1324968 - 12/14/09 03:53 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: meowmix52]
AJF Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1624
Loc: Toronto
For someone to feel compelled to destroy something so associated with beauty, they would have to be hurting very deeply on the inside. Or, maybe they were just some stupid little bastards who never learned the value of respect. Whatever the case though, I've got a choice- to either be furious and hope that the iron fist of justice comes smashing down on people like that or, see beyond judgement and 'right' and 'wrong' and realize that acts of anger and hate answered with more anger and hate just perpetuates more acts of anger and hate. Whereas acts of anger and hate greeted by unwavering compassion eventually immobilizes acts of anger and hate and forces the perpetrator to see that we are connected, not separate and alone.

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#1324982 - 12/14/09 05:27 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: AJF]
-Frycek Offline
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Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Embittered failed performance major? Someone who auditioned but didn't make the cut?
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#1324983 - 12/14/09 05:37 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: -Frycek]
victor kam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 421
Loc: Malaysia
If that happened in Singapore, those caught will be caned......For once, I think being a little barbaric in approach would curb those monsters (I know many won't agree here....)

There should be no excuse to vandalize instruments, they have gone way over board.
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NY Steinway D 423118 (restoration)
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#1325021 - 12/14/09 08:24 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: victor kam]
-Frycek Offline
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Registered: 08/06/05
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Loc: SC Mountains
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#1325025 - 12/14/09 08:37 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: -Frycek]
wcctuner Offline
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Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 114
Loc: Princeton, NJ
Glad to hear that the rooms are reopening. Unfortunately, things like this will happen, but I believe that 99.9% of the music students have enough respect for their chosen field that events like this are rare. I've been at Westminster for 30 years now, and only once has there been any vandalism on a large scale. About 20 years ago, 7 pianos were damaged- two were water damaged, others had hammers broken off. By the way, Ithaca and Westminster have a history-Ithaca was the location of the Westminster Choir School before it moved to Princeton, NJ and became Westminster Choir College.
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#1325031 - 12/14/09 08:49 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: beethoven986]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
At my school, we'd strangle the perpetrators with piano wire...


grin

Sorry, but I'm not of the 'understand why they're hurting' school of thought. Acts like this seem to reflect narcissism and self-indulgence more than deep inner pain. Punishment and recompense seem more appropriate than understanding. Forgiveness and understanding can come later, once remorse is evident and the guilty have done what they can to make whole what they have damaged.
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#1325724 - 12/15/09 03:18 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Piano*Dad]
anhmytran Offline
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Registered: 10/03/04
Posts: 34
Loc: Hartford, CT 06106
It forces me accept that every bad thing can happen.

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#1325738 - 12/15/09 05:17 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: anhmytran]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1230
Never mind the pianos, although that is important... Worse is that this is a deliberate attempt to stand in the way of these students progress.

I think the perpetrators should be made to replace the instruments. If that means the courts have to take charge of everything they own, leave them penniless and practically homeless, tough. They should have thought about that before they ruined the instruments.

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#1326072 - 12/15/09 04:59 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: joe80]
A441 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 207
Loc: N.Eastham, MA.
It is just plain disgusting !!!!!!!

Payment for the damage done and a little jail time is in order !!


A441

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#1326115 - 12/15/09 06:09 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: A441]
AJF Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1624
Loc: Toronto
Hang them! Burn them at the stake! Put 'em in the slammer and throw away the key!!

Let's not try to understand this sort of behavior, lets just make sure they're punished real good.

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#1326455 - 12/16/09 08:29 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: AJF]
Penseroso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 29
Loc: Turkey
I am a first timer in this forum, although I was reading almost every post before.
And I am very sad that my first repy is to a post with such a subject.
I agree people expressing anger and disgust here.
Apart from the beauty of a piano, all pianos have a character of its own and a life span like a human being. Its for expressing human emotions. So it is a massacre for me.
I always believed in the necessity of a kind of respect to the instrument for a musician. Especially to the one you play. This is basic for me.
And I also always hated the idea of musicians breaking or treating badly to instruments on stage for show purposes, like breaking a guitar or playing a piano with your feet etc.
If some students are involved in this violence (not vandalism), what can you expect from them as a musician in the future? This is like a dancer cutting his/her feet.
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#1326501 - 12/16/09 09:53 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Penseroso]
Jeff Clef Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I think the perpetrators should be made to replace the instruments. If that means the courts have to take charge of everything they own, leave them penniless and practically homeless, tough. They should have thought about that before they ruined the instruments."

This is a somewhat more realistic criminal justice approach. Make bad behavior (1) too expensive and (2) too troublesome, so that it, hopefully doesn't continue. Think of how driving infractions are handled... though this is more serious, and more deliberately hostile. Sometimes exposure to the public eye, confinement, restitution are tools that work. It can make someone feel really sorry (if only when they have to pay their lawyer), or at least, publicly humiliated enough that they leave town.

It would seem that the school may have a structural problem with the security of the practice rooms. Other schools where I have used such rooms, it was necessary to check out a key and show a student ID, and all the premises were under lock and key.

I am very sorry this has happened! I hope it can be set right very soon. And I am glad, as the previous poster said, that the actions were not taken agains persons or animals, as far as we know. But it does need to be seen to lest it escalate.
_________________________
Clef


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#1326537 - 12/16/09 10:44 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Jeff Clef]
John Chan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 124
Agreed 100%.

Pianos are the culminated effort of years of loving work, not to mention soundboard wood that took decades / centuries to grow. Such act is beyond criminal.

The pianos, even after the repairs, will no longer sound the same.

Just like the high-D in this picture... it is a goner.
http://intermezzo.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/09/18/voguepianodetailcaption.jpg

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#1328037 - 12/18/09 02:48 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: A441]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: A441
It is just plain disgusting !!!!!!!

Payment for the damage done and a little jail time is in order !!


A441


More than a little... They deserve to be punished as hard as possible. It is a cruel and brainless act of vandalism... mad
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Music is my best friend.


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#1328092 - 12/18/09 06:51 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: ChopinAddict]
Tweedpipe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 431
I’m very sorry to hear this has happened at the Whalen School.

Some interesting comments have been raised here.
I particularly liked and agree with the sentiments of Jeff Cleff, AJF, ChoipinAddict and others who say the perpetrators deserve to be punished as hard as possible.
If caught, a long prison sentence on nothing but bread and water I say! It’s a pity though that the do-gooders would never allow this, which is one of the reasons that acts similar to this (and worse) are so common.
As Victor Cam pointed out, this type of incident could never happen in a place like Singapore. Why? Just thinking about the penalties is enough to put any potential vandal off. Which is just one reason why it is such a wonderful, safe place, spotlessly clean and where the people are proud and strive to keep it that way.

In my home country and in my current location, perpetrators of vandalism (if caught) know they will be given at least 3 chances before any serious [sīc] steps are taken. Even if a prison sentence should eventually be delivered, they know that this will be suspended, a slap on the wrist will invariably be administered, followed by a release to the urban jungle to recommence their sick acts. It’s not always the case though.......

Only just this morning I opened my newspaper to read that in the next village a 17 year old youth caught breaking and entering into a bar in the early hours of the morning was shot dead with a shotgun by the owner of the establishment. Reading between the lines, all the sympathy appears to be for the family of the potential thief. The owner of the establishment has been treated as a “thick brute without a brain”. He’s been arrested, and although his act may have been in legitimate defence, he has been detained on a murder charge.
I wonder how many reading this Whalen School account - assuming they’d been armed at the time, and had seen practice rooms being vandalized and pianos being broken up – would have been highly tempted to put a few ounces of buckshot where it really hurts.


Edited by Tweedpipe (12/18/09 06:54 AM)
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#1328423 - 12/18/09 03:16 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: AJF]
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
This is just horrible. I have no sympathy for the ones who did this. I don't care how bad they are hurting. Such an act of violence is inexcusable.

This time it was violence against pianos. Next time, it may be against a person.

Gaby Tu

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#1328531 - 12/18/09 05:17 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Tweedpipe]
AJF Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1624
Loc: Toronto
For the record, I was being a little sarcastic in my post regarding steep an harsh punishment. Although I think it's very important for criminals to be made very present to the impact of their actions on others and be held fully accountable, I also find the mob mentality that has emerged here a little disconcerting. We seem to get really caught up in apprehending and punishing criminals in our society with a lot less emphasis on understanding why these things happen in the first place. I understand that acts like this make us very angry but when the focus is on 'catching those bastards and making sure they pay!' where does that really get us in the long run? We have overpopulated jails across North America with far worse crimes going on on the inside than on the outside. Places like Singapore and Japan have very low crime rates compared to North America but at what cost? Steep and merciless punishment reduces crime but also feeds a fear based society.
It's easy to look at a 'criminal' with disdain and disgust and anger and wish for severe punishment to befall them for their deeds. That feeds our animal and ego driven instincts. That's how we've done it as a race as long as we've been conscious enough to record history. When are we going to find a better model for dealing with criminals?
Will we ever get to a place as a society where the motivation to abstain from crime comes not from a fear of punishment but instead from a sense of love and respect for each other--being so I tune with how our actions affect others that we would never want to do something as horrible as destroy something like a piano simply because we would know the pain it would cause others?
If we continue to be angry instead of compassionate and judmental instead of empathetic, well then people are going to keep smashing pianos--or robbing and murdering each other.
If we cultivate compassion, empathy and ultimately love, then eventually crime will cease to exist.
It saddens me that this possibility is often so quickly dismissed on the grounds of being idealistic and naive. To me what's *really* naive is to keep working the same old broken model and think it's suddenly going to fix itself or miraculously start working.
We are all connected. Each and every one of us-- 'criminals' and saints alike. The sooner we start cultivating *that* as a society the sooner we stop seeing trashed pianos.

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#1328879 - 12/19/09 07:15 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: AJF]
moscheles001 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
It may well be that there is less crime (or at least, less vandalism) in Singapore and Japan because they are both cultures that value respect for property, etc.

Perhaps there is more mindless violence--against both people and property--in America because our culture has become one which values mindlessness more than people or property. The culprits were no doubt students, and students at a pretty expensive and prestigious school; so they probably weren't misunderstood, neglected ghetto youth, but rather upper- or upper-middleclass kids who graduated from high school with good grades.

In which case, is anything really accomplished by shooting or beating an idiot for stealing or vandalizing? Publicly exposing them for the spoiled little sh*ts they are and making them (or Mommy and Daddy) pay for the damage, including legal and police costs, would have greater effect.

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#1329407 - 12/19/09 07:28 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: moscheles001]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Well, AJF, I certainly understood your sarcasm. I just disagreed with much of it. Yes, the internet encourages mob-like expressions of outrage, but I think there is a reasoned argument for not bending over backward to 'understand' the poor people who do this. They are not necessarily the victims of whatever social pathology has gripped the apologists of the moment. As I suggested earlier, the reasons for this behavior may lie as much in narcissism and self-indulgence as it does with angst and tortured soul. Simple and well-advertised punishment can be an effective deterrent without turning us into a fear-based society like .... Japan? Do you have evidence that Japanese people feel fear that we do not, that they yearn for our supposed freedoms ... to do what, commit acts of indulgent violence like something out of Clockwork Orange?
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#1329601 - 12/20/09 03:32 AM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: Piano*Dad]
AJF Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1624
Loc: Toronto
Pianodad,
I understand your point. The problem, to me, isn't with 'simple and well advertised punishment'. The problem is that punishment becomes the focal point in these situations. I'm not a practicing Christian but that Jesus guy was pretty damn smart. Like when he said 'he who is free of sin, cast the first stone'. All the townspeople standing there eagerly waiting to stone a woman to death for her sins and then he steps in and says 'hey, why don't you all look at yourselves' which to me appeals to our sense of empathy (and makes us aware of our own hypocrisy). I would never suggest that any criminal should go without punishment. But the way it is administered in North American society disgusts me--completely void of compassion and love. We don't punish criminals out of a desire to help them see the impact of their actions on the rest of us so that they can learn to live well amoung us. We punish criminals to satisfy our need to see heads roll and to temporarily satiate our fear of bad things happening in our world.

I have no evidence that places like Japan live in fear. But I do know that their penal system is severe with a conviction rate in the high 90 percentile and I've been told that many criminals who enter Japanese prisons are never seen or heard from again. So you tell me: with statistics like that are you motivated to be a law abiding citizen out of respect for others or out of a deep fear of consequence?

All I'm really trying to say is that I believe that all crime stems from a place of fear (including narcissism and self-indulgent acts of crime which to me seem to be a desparate denial of fear). Having a cold and harsh approach to punishing crime creates fear in a society. Fear feeds more fear. And so the cycle continues indefinately--until you inject love into the equation. It's easy to love friends and family, but who's there to love the criminals and drug addicts and vandals and homeless people?
The more we look at them with hate and judgement the more we fuel their own fear. So I won't do it.
Some kids trashed some pianos at a school. Who wants to throw the first stone?

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#1330121 - 12/20/09 07:26 PM Re: More than 60 pianos vandalized in Whalen School of Music [Re: AJF]
Dan Wilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 72
Loc: Eastern USA
Those that need love and understanding the MOST, are often those who deserve it the LEAST.... just a thought....
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