Pianos donated to schools

JACKSON — The township’s school district was the recipient of donations at a recent Board of Education meeting.

A total of $19,000 was raised to purchase a new upright piano and a Yamaha baby grand piano, said Barbara Spielman, wife of board Vice President Martin Spielman.

Student Sora Kang played the pianos for those attending the meeting, Barbara Spielman said.

Allison Erwin, a spokeswoman for the district, said the Parents and Friends of the Jackson Memorial High School chorus had begun raising funds to replace the piano several years ago. They were later joined by the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

However, it was not until Sora played the piano to the acclaim of the Women’s Club at Westlake that the fund drive really began in earnest.

“Last December the chorus came to Westlake (an adult community),” said Barbara Spielman, who is a resident there.

Erwin said that Barbara Spielman, a member of the women’s club, was in the audience during Sora’s performance at Westlake. To their surprise, Erwin said, the young woman thanked the club members for allowing her to play their piano, which she said was much better than the one used at the high school.

Surprise turned to determination. Once the women’s club began soliciting donations to replace the piano, Erwin said the Township Committee became involved in the drive, too. In addition, the law firm of Schwartz, Simon, Edelstein, Celso and Kessler, where school board attorney Marc Zitomer is employed, also became involved in the effort.

By the start of the new school year, Barbara Spielman said enough money had been raised not only to replace the school’s piano with a new one, but also to buy a baby grand, which is used by professional concert musicians.

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools Mark C. Demario was happy so many people had stepped forward to assist the students in achieving their goal.

“This baby grand Yamaha piano will inspire all those who play it,” he said.

— Joyce Blay