Sunday, September 23, 2007

Piano tuning and repair after Katrina (Updated)

[May 6, 2006...]

Radio blogging again.
Some of the best journalism available today is broadcast. Too bad, because it is lost the moment it is played, unless the program is replayed later. In some ways it is like a magnificently-decorated cake or ice sculpture. A creation for the moment, gone forever once played...

Thanks to the web we can now access radio archives. This morning I listened to an eleven-minute story I want to share. Peter Spring went to New Orleans to offer his skills as a piano tuner. He's helping repair instruments damaged by Hurricane Katrina. That is the totally inadequate description of what you are about to hear. No spoilers from me, but you might want to get a kleenex. Do yourself a favor and's too good not to listen.

[September 23, 2007...]

Nearly a year and a half have passed and here is a followup. Peter Spring is still in New Orleans and his mission is alive and well. As I write this I am listening once again to the NPR program that first gave life to this story. If you have not yet listened, you need to do so right now. The link is still active and still I don't want to give much away.

The Stephen Spring Foundation

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oregon musician and piano tuner Peter Spring awoke one morning determined to help the overwhelmed people of New Orleans cope with their devastating grief and loss. Having lost his 22-year old son Steven to cancer in 2002, Peter understood first-hand the power of music to heal even the deepest wounds. In September 2005, he established The Steven Spring Foundation to honor his son's memory and love for music by collecting and distributing instruments to hurricane survivors.

Since its founding, The Steven Spring Foundation has put hundreds of donated instruments into the hands of New Orleans Jazz musicians, music students, and children. By doing so, The SSF has brought the healing power of music to the people who need it most: to working musicians who become productive again through the donated instruments that they receive, to dedicated amateur players who are grateful to be able to express and release the deep, powerful feelings raised by the storm and its aftermath, and to all the fortunate listeners who reap the emotional benefits that only music can provide.

Today the SSF remains dedicated to utilizing the power of music to revitalize New Orleans. Using an all-volunteer staff, the SSF continues its mission of helping local musicians and music students to rebuild their lives following the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Providing donated instruments and free training remain some of the the Foundation's most inspiring and rewarding activities. We urge instrument donors to personalize their gift with a brief note, story or photo in order to create the personal, human connection that is the heart of all healing.

Go ahead.

Drill into the links.

The Times Picayune published a feature in June

He said he gives himself another three years in New Orleans. Before he goes, he hopes to start a church in his Bywater shop and call it the First United Temple of Harmony, a place open to music lovers of all faiths. On the walls, he would hang pictures of Louis Armstrong and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Music, Spring said, is the "deepest most visceral connection to the divine."
His time in New Orleans has confirmed another deeply held belief: "I have absolutely no doubt that I am in the right place doing the right thing."

Learn the story.

I hope you are as impressed as I am.

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