Coronavirus stops Steinway piano for public

Jul 25, 2020

MARION — By the time event attendees are allowed to return to the Marion Music Hall, the Steinway Grand Piano on stage won’t be new to the building, but it will be new to them. 

And though the shell of the piano was built in 1969, many of its parts are new, as it was restored before its installation at the Music hall on March 26. 

The Paulsen family donated the piano to the town, in memory of Charlie Paulsen, who passed away in 2017.  

But it “needed extensive work,” as Treasurer of the Marion Music Hall Committee Phil Sanborn said. That work was financed by the Marion Music Hall endowment. 

The piano had many of its internal parts replaced, and all its finish redone to counteract years of wear from its last location: a house near the harbor where the windows were frequently open. 

“The [piano’s] finish was really a wreck,” Sanborn said. 

The restoration process took about a year and a half. But fixing up a donated piano was still more cost-effective than buying a used one for $100,000. 

Richard Fell, owner of Piano Service Pro in Woburn did the work to restore the Steinway. Fell previously worked for the New England Conservatory of Music and with artists like Tony Bennett and John Williams. 

Committee members hope the piano restoration will make the town’s event space “more of a viable music venue,” as Sanborn said. 

It’s just a part of a long process by the Music Hall and the town’s Selectmen to see more use of the space. The building’s committee previously bought a new sound system for the space and worked extensively on its acoustics. 

Sanborn said that in the past, good players were always complaining about the piano, and he hopes the new instrument will attract talented groups like the Buzzards Bay Music Fest and Music from Land’s End to perform in the space. 

Committee member Tinker Saltonstall said that the committee is always looking for additional endowments to maintain the music hall.