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Sept. 11, 2002


LA CROSSE, Wis.—Over 100 supporters of Viterbo University’s efforts to renovate a number of priceless Steinway pianos will be attending a benefit in the Fine Arts Center Saturday, Sept 21.

The group, "Save our Steinways" (S.O.S.), was formed four years ago to raise money to restore and reclaim the full beauty and sound of a number of older Steinways Viterbo owns. Approximately $50,000 has been raised and one seven-foot Steinway has been completed, renovated, and returned to service. Another nine-foot grand is nearing completion in work done by Joel Lidstrom at his studio in rural Caledonia, Minn.

According to Lidstrom, the process to restore the Viterbo Steinway he is currently working on requires "a tremendous amount of work."

"The soundboard assessment and repairs have been made. We are adding a new finish to the soundboard and the bridges—the interface between the strings and soundboard—will be re-done. And a new mirror finish will be applied. I am optimistic this instrument will be nothing short of world class," Lidstrom said.

Once back at Viterbo, the Steinway will be used by students for their recitals, as well as for faculty and visiting professional guest artists.
According to William Medland, president of Viterbo, because of the efforts of the S.O.S. committee and their fundraising success, the university has been able preserve instruments that today could cost in excess of $100,000 to replace. "Everybody involved in the fine arts who knows about this project is absolutely delighted," he said.

Viterbo owns a number of other Steinways and plans are to continue fundraising to allow the university to renovate several others.

The Save Our Steinways fundraising banquet is held annually and tickets are available through Sept. 16 by calling 796-3070.

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