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Christchurch City Council Media Release 22 February 2000

Town Hall Needs New Steinway 

Christchurch residents are being asked to donate a new $200,000 Steinway piano of international standard for use in the Christchurch Town Hall.

The present Steinway, given in the memory of Christchurch Teachers’ College music teacher and music critic Keith Newsom, is reaching the end of its international life.

Councillor Barry Corbett says the piano has to be replaced if international pianists are to be attracted to Christchurch in future. "The Council has included the cost of a new piano in the draft annual plan over two years. It also has a need to provide additional funds for the refurbishment of the function and gathering areas and equipment in the Town Hall. It would be wonderful if someone could donate a Steinway so the Council resources can go towards maintaining our wonderful facility," he says.

"I think someone or an organisation might like to donate the money for a new Steinway rather than the City Council pay for one from rates," he says.

"Someone might like to have a new Steinway named after a relative and we could place a memorial plaque on it."

For nearly 50 years the Christchurch Civic Music Council has provided an international-standard piano for the city but the music council has exhausted its finances providing the $1.2 million Reigler organ in the Town Hall.

Its chairman, Peter Barton, says the present Steinway has been used by top international pianists. However, experts say such pianos have an international life of about 25 years. "It is still a good piano but it is approaching 25 years of age," he says.

Councillor Corbett says that while the cost could come from rates he thought a resident might like to donate a new Steinway. "The Music Council has done brilliantly in the past but it has now run out of funds."

He says the Town Hall is being used more and more for performing arts now that the Christchurch Convention Centre is built across the road. "As a top performing arts centre the Town Hall must have the best piano.

"The Council may be able to save on the rates if a benefactor comes forward with a Steinway. We need one to attract international performers to our world-class facility, he says.

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