A generous gift from a Siena alumnus in honor of his late brother – both of whom were musically inclined – will benefit the College’s performing students and faculty.
John Rowe ‘68 and his husband Jim Christen gifted a Boston baby grand piano to the College in memory of Rowe’s brother Thomas, Class of ’61. They were both in the glee club and ROTC marching band while students at Siena.
Rob White ’93, assistant director of major gifts, said music has “always been a big part of the Rowe family’s life,” and making a music-related gift really resonated with them.
The piano has been set up in Foy Hall 102. It is a gently used instrument that was previously owned by the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, Mass. It will be cared for by a local Steinway technician. Siena will also receive a new upright practice piano as part of the Rowe gift.
Siena had three upright practice pianos in Foy that were “not in the best of shape,” according to Tim Reno, D.M.A., associate dean of liberal arts. Rowe wanted to give Siena students a high-quality sound by which to practice.
Siena students who are involved in choral groups and take voice lessons will have the benefit of a more superior instrument for accompaniment. Another plus: Reno said a baby grand allows the instructor at the keyboard to see the singers as they rehearse.
“Since the sound board is horizontal, you can see the singers much better,” he explained. “It has a positive impact on the way we teach. Since the body is a singer’s instrument, the right posture and breathing are very essential and an instructor needs to see that.”
The new instrument was blessed by Fr. Larry Anderson at an October 12 reception for the donors and a few invited guests.