Click here to watch Michael Stinnett discuss the restoration process of the historic Opry pianos: http://youtu.be/trRo_Hh1qQI
The 1,000-year flood in Nashville caused enormous swelling of the Cumberland River in 2010 and damaged many buildings throughout the city, including the Grand Ole Opry House. The Opry lost many of its valuable, historic keepsakes and instruments, and three of its most revered Steinway & Sons pianos were deemed destroyed beyond repair.
After several experts refused the job, I decided to tackle this project as an opportunity to showcase Antique Piano Shop’s passion for preservation and history, as well as the skills of my talented team that is willing and able to restore pianos that others cannot or will not. In short, I love a challenge, and to be able to restore Steinways – the best name in the business – is a special pleasure all its own.
The oldest in the trio was a 1909 Steinway upright that the Opry had planned to put behind glass with a photo of President Nixon playing it on the opening night and dedication of the Grand Ole Opry House on March 16, 1974. Since this historic relic would live behind glass, the Opry did not want the piano restored to playable condition.
We spent hundreds of hours drying it out and gluing it back together, and while it is not actually playable, at least now it is mold free. Additionally, the old ugly black finish was left alone so that the piano still looks like it did in the photo when the former President played “Happy Birthday” on the piano for the First Lady (it happened to be her birthday), as well as “My Wild Irish Rose” and “God Bless America” to the 5,000-person crowd in the new $15M building.
The second oldest piano was the elegant Model “O” Steinway Parlor Grand Piano, hailing from 1920. This beauty was built during the height of America’s “Golden Age” of piano building. We finished the piano in ebony gloss finish to display overall appearance and fine detail of the exotic burl wood inlay and accents.
The sister piano of the Model “O” made the Opry its home during the 1940s. The piano demonstrates the significant change that occurred during this time to the Steinway style in terms of size and design.
Using our preferred methods to restore the Steinway pianos, we returned the two grand pianos to perfect concert quality once more. Taking on this task was no small feat, but the Antique Piano Shop was able to bring these historic treasures back to life because the team poured their talent as well as their full passion into restoring these beautiful pieces of music history.
Antique Piano Shop believes that the restoration of these instruments is vital to maintaining the standard Steinway holds today as well as the vibrant history the piano company has provided to the United States as well as the world.
Michael Stinnett, Founder, Antique Piano Shop