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Nelson's 'Sleeping with the Steinway' - a thrilling success

Nelson's 'Sleeping with the Steinway' - a thrilling success

Sleeping with the Steinway is being hailed a ‘thrilling’ success by its tired but satisfied organisers. The 24hour piano marathon ended yesterday (Sunday 29 May) at 5pm, after a sold out finale with the Central School and Off Your Rockers choirs and the Steinaleles’ uke group.

The concert was at Old St John’s, which has housed the Steinway since the Nelson School of Music closed for earthquake strengthening. Creative Director Sarah Lewis stayed awake for all eleven concerts featuring the grand piano and says the whole event was ‘just beautiful’.

“We had three standing ovations for the work that Gareth Farr gifted us for the event, Ripple Effect played by eight students – two on the piano, a string quartet and two on the School of Music’s Victorian hand bells,” she said. “Then there was just a huge range of music, creative collaborations and performances by young and old - from the classical music of the formal concert to a drag cabaret turn and the Civic Choir with a Monty Python song.”

Ms Lewis said one thing that impressed the audience, and was commented on by visiting composer Gareth Farr, was the level of talent and expertise from the School of Music students.

“The concert showed that the School lives on in spite of our building being closed, and this event helps to bring us closer to the rebuild,” she said. She also paid tribute to Creative Coordinator Caroline Harvey who she says helped to realise the concept of the piano-athon.

Concert Producer Jan Trayes estimated there were 550 performers across the eleven concerts, and well over two thousand people attending shows.

“There is huge goodwill in Nelson towards the School of Music and people were very willing to help,” she said. “We had over 100 volunteers working at everything from setting the stage to running the bar.”

Would they do it all again? “We’d love it to become a regular event on the Nelson arts calendar,” said Trayes. “We certainly have a platform here for something that could grow – it has such a sense of community and of the value people place on music.”

The School of Music has $6.2m of the $6.4m needed for the rebuild. The Take Your Seat campaign is steadily gaining $750 donations in return for a plaque on a seat in the refurbished auditorium. Rainey House has been removed to clear the building site and the tendering process for the rebuild is underway.

ENDS

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