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Gilmore Piano Festival,2022

It happens every two years in Kalamazoo: dozens of accomplished pianists come, either by themselves or with ensembles, to perform in the theaters, recital halls, barrooms–and even on the sidewalks–of our little Midwestern town. The impetus for all these piano-centric performances is the Gilmore Piano Festival.

The Gilmore is an organization that was founded to "...promote and develop world-class pianistic experiences that inspire present and future artists and audiences," and the Piano Festival is a magnificent display of the organization's commitment to its mission. Over the course of six weeks, rising stars and living legends will treat audiences to enthralling performances that range in genre from Baroque to Zydeco. The festival will present traditionally-formatted recitals, dinner dances, kids shows–and even a feature film–with the intent of connecting eager audiences to the work of master musicians. But at the center of all the excitement is, of course, the piano.

Some of the festival's performers will bring their personal pianos, but most of the shows will employ instruments from The Gilmore's own impressive collection. In order to facilitate the promotion of world-class pianistic experiences, The Gilmore Maintains a stable of world-class pianos. But fine instruments are finite, and with more than 60 performances happening in 28 venues between late April and mid May, the Gilmore's pianos will be asked to live itinerant lives for a few weeks.

A piano's presence is usually taken for granted. Most of us are accustomed to seeing pianos in our schools, our churches, the care home where we volunteer, and even in some of our favorite bars. We encounter so many pianos that we seldom stop to ask: how did that get there? Of course we know why there are so many piano's around–they're fun, they're versatile, they look nice–but the thought of moving one is usually far from our minds until a friend calls and says, "Hey, I'm moving, can you help me carry my spinet down three flights of stairs?"

Well, this year our friends at The Gilmore called and said, "Hey, we're putting on this awesome festival in support of piano music, can you help us move our grand piano's forty times in five weeks?"

Of course we said yes.

So, for the duration of The Gilmore Piano Festival, the Piano Quest crew will have the honor of bringing pianos to the festival stages. It's going to be a ton of work, but we're excited to help. We'll move the instruments so the virtuosos can move the audiences, and if all goes to plan, no one will even know we were there.

JSS, 28, April 2022

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