Steinway Piano

Update: September 21, 2011: 

Thank You Class of 1961 for Restoring Our Piano!  A lovely thank you from Tech! 


Committee Makes Onsite Visit to the Restorer           Update: May 19, 2011

On April 16th, the Reunion Committee visited JB Piano located in San Raphael for an update on the restoration of Tech’s 1917 Steinway Grand Piano. Significant progress has been made and the project is on track! Committee members Helen (Chin) Klee, Pat (Bennett) Askew, Camille (Chupp) Reed, Iga (Schilman) Schafer, and Stephanie Williams had an opportunity to view the restoration work accomplished on the piano thus far and personally meet with the restorer. Enjoy the photos below.

When we began the donation drive, in early December 2010, the sum of money needed to do the restoration, $24,000.00, seemed a little daunting. However, we had the vision and the passion to move forward…today we have received $21,500.00, shy of the total by only $2,500.00! We feel so fortunate to have been so successful. Much gratitude to all those classmates, parents/friends of classmates, and community members for contributing so generously!

If you are a new classmate to this website, please scroll down to read all updates on this most significant project…it’s a good read! 


Steinway Enroute to Restorer!                                 Update: February 18, 2011


Last weekend, three of us visited a restorer in San Rafael in the final step for our decision as to who to choose to do the work.  We, as you may recall, spent several weeks interviewing several restorers.  We learned a great deal and we found the process extremely important in our decision.  Finally, we chose the piano restoration company JB Piano in San Rafael, California.  They come with excellent recommendations and maintain the pianos both for Dominican University and the Marin Symphony.  They also expressed sincere enthusiasm for our efforts and offered a sizable discount to us.  For this restoration, we will pay slightly less than $24,000...far less than we had originally thought.

With that knowledge, knowing that we want the piano ready for our reunion, and having over $15,000 in the bank, we gave them a deposit of $8,000 and saw the piano off to the restorers yesterday.  It was an exciting moment in this journey, not only for us but for Oakland Tech's music teacher and principal.  They again extend their grateful thanks to the Class of 1961!

Simply put, we have raised approximately two thirds of the money we need to complete the restoration.  (That is not counting the $2,000 we have in pledges.) Many in the community are supporting our effort and, to date, we have a total of 76 gifts towards this project.  The latest gift came Wednesday from a graduate of the 1948 class in memory of a Tech graduate of the 1923 class who played piano at their graduation....most likely on this piano!

We have $7,000 more to raise.  That is quite a bit of money until we realize how far we have come in just over two months.  The progress has been extraordinary.  Let's now work to bring this fundraising effort to a close. I hope that each of you will consider a way to participate.  A gift of any size matters.

And, finally, you can be assured that the community is also continuing their participation in this project and they will help us reach the finish line.  So many are inspired by our vision, our determination, our appreciation of the many ways this piano is important to the school, and our rate of success.


Spearheading the 'Steinway Restoration Project'...

NEW UPDATE:  Oakland Tribune article

In shaping our reunion weekend, the Reunion Committee discussed the possibility of a gift from the Class of '61.  The question was...what would that gift be?...what would it look like?...what can we give that would be meaningful to our alma mater?  

Exploring the possibilities with Tech's principal Sheilagh Andujar, and David Byrd, Tech’s music teacher, we discovered our alma mater is presently undergoing a significant restoration of the school auditorium in order to enhance and advance the school's impressive Performing Arts Program.  What caught our attention was learning that our school had made the restoration of the 1917 Steinway B grand piano its 'crown jewel project'.  The Steinway was purchased by Oakland Tech in 1917 and shipped to the school from the East Coast.


Discussing our findings with the Committee, it was agreed that the Class of '61 would proceed with building a capital campaign fund to restore the Steinway grand piano reestablishing the quality and architecture of its intricate infrastructure which no longer exists.  To restore would reinstate the unique and authentic quality sound produced by only a Steinway of that era.


David Byrd shared that "the finely restored Steinway will bring the type of talent that can raise the additional funds for the restoration of the auditorium as well as a very fine Performing Arts Program.  A Steinway B is a rare find in schools and we would have something very few high schools have".

Pat Williams, Chair of the Tech Auditorium Committee and the Tech Performing Arts Committee, shared, “the restored Steinway will be a gift that will benefit the Tech community for decades to come. An even more important gift is the spirit that you will bestow within the piano. The restored Steinway will symbolize your bond with your alma mater, your interest in connecting the past to the future, and your desire to make a lasting contribution. Your project will inspire Tech students, staff, families and alumni, as well as others in the broader community”.

A tax deductible donation letter was crafted and mailed to all classmates listed in our reunion database reflecting a current address.  We are hoping to secure $40,000 in financial support from our classmates, community influencers and organizations within our surrounding communities. If we are unable to meet the financial goal, we will decide as a class to either continue to raise funds for the piano restoration project or designate it for another use in the auditorium restoration project.  We will announce which project at our reunion.


Shortly, we will be displaying a graph/pie chart  of donations received to keep you updated of our progress.



If you have any questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to connect with Camille (Chupp) Reed, Chair of the Piano Restoration Committee via email

Your consideration and support is greatly appreciated!