The thing had to go. After all, it had been sitting under the stairs on the first floor of Azuma Middle School in Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture, Japan for decades, like a useless piece of furniture. You could tell it was a grand piano. But strings and keys were broken, a case for bulky waste. And indeed, Principal Hiroyuki Shimada would probably have disposed of the piano one day if he hadn’t felt the need to sort through documents in his office last winter.
In doing so, he came across a piece of paper that identified the thing as a precious rarity. It was therefore a real Pleyel. An instrument from the Parisian manufacturer, whose products were particularly appreciated by the Polish-French composer Frédéric Chopin (1810 to 1849). Shimada turned it into a teaching project. The pupils learned: that the grand piano, born in 1924, came to the school 64 years ago as an opening gift from an industrialist. And that it was placed under the stairs in 1995 for renovations.
According to the Asahi newspaper, the student body makes it sound again. Under the guidance of a piano tuner, she cleaned individual parts. She collects money for the expensive repairs, sells herbs from the school garden and plans events. Professional pianist Takashi Yamamoto has been announced for the school’s cultural festival on October 2nd. He should play on the wing that came out of the dirty corner. The thing has a future again.
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