Monday, March 20, 2023

Isn't life grand?

Staff Writer | May 27, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Some of the best ideas present themselves in the middle of the night.

That's what happened for Joanne Smith, who donated her $15,000 1983 Yamaha C-7 concert grand piano to the Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday.

"How often can you find a home for a piano that size?" she asked, glancing over as a moving crew carefully unwrapped the instrument in the front room of the conservatory.

"It just seems like it's at home here," conservatory executive director Julienne Dance said.

Smith is downsizing as she prepares to move into a retirement community. A retired piano teacher, she wanted the piano to go to a loving home where it would be appreciated. Her piano tuner had told her about a potential home for the instrument, so she wrote down contact information and went to bed. This was about two weeks ago.

"I woke up in the night and thought, 'There's a conservatory here!'" she said. "The rest is history."

Smith said she's a firm believer that when things are meant to be, they just happen.

"I just feel so good about this," she said. "I'm feeling wonderful. This is the most wonderful place for it."

Smith bought the gently used piano in 1991 for $16,000, although when brought brand new, these beauties can cost around $75,000.

"I've had it ever since, and I've taken good care of it and I love it," she said.

She sat on the bench of the 7-foot, roughly 800-pound piano and played a short tune, the velvety notes cascading around the room.

The Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene will start its Friday Night Live concert series on June 4, when pianist Marilyn Snyder at 7 p.m. will play the gifted piano for a night of "Johann Sebastian Bach: The Great Composer!"

"I'm coming the fourth of June for the first concert," Smith said, sweetly smiling. "That's my husband's birthday, who died eight years ago."

Smith also donated a filing cabinet of music and framed music pictures for the walls, along with the piano.

"It was so needed," Dance said. "We had performers who wanted a performance piano. With the concert lineup, I was, 'How are we going to do this?' and we just kept going forward. When Joanne called, it was like, 'Is it for real?' It was too good to be true.

"It just happened at the very moment, as I told her, impeccable timing," Dance said. "And you know what, my belief is, when the Lord's hand is in it, then it's impeccable timing."

The Friday Night Live concert series will include Kim Davidson and harp students at 5:15 p.m. June 11; guitar music from South America with Eric Sloyka at 7 p.m. June 18; the Inland Northwest Players performing "An Evening of Schumann" at 7:30 p.m. June 24; and more.

The Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene is at 627 Government Way.




Joanne Smith of Coeur d'Alene plays a little tune on the Yamaha grand piano she donated to the Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday.

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