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The day after the finale

I just spent the past twelve hours riding around Kalamamazoo in a Mercedes Sprinter van with Jarab and Bert. Bert was driving, Jarab was making silly jokes from the back seat, and I was admiring the spring flowers in full bloom from the passenger side. We listened to an eclectic mix of funk, do-whop, and blues. The day's driving was so pleasant that it felt like a pleasure cruise, but we had our work cut out for us.

Here's the deal: the grand finale of the 2022 Gilmore Piano Festival had happened the night before. The show featured pianists Wei Luo, Misaha Galant, and Maxim Lando, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performed under the baton of Julian Kuerti. The show was excellent, but it was also bittersweet. See, I've gone to some amazing concerts over the last few weeks, and It's felt a little bit like piano summer camp for adults. Lately, the days have gone like this: wake up early, meet up with Jarab and Bert, get a scone and a coffee from our favorite cafe, move a couple Steinway pianos around town for The Gilmore, eat lunch,attend a concert. Rinse. Repeat ad symphonium.

The finale's end meant that all the errant pianos had to come home. The Gilmore's instruments had to be taken back to their storage places downtown, and the borrowed instruments had to be staged at Chenery Auditorium for a final cleaning and inspection by The Gilmore's wonderful techs before the movers arrived from New York.

So, over the course of 12 hours we moved 9 grand pianos from venues around Kalamazoo, and we did it flawlessly. I mean it wasn't just flawless, we set some new records. We set up a Steinway D in 11 minutes after transporting it into the Gilmore's piano storage room, and we did it without rushing. I'm talking about pure, steady, unhurried, efficiency, we did what we do well, and we were grateful for the stretches of driving in which we got to cool off and joke a little.

I had fun, too. I love working with these guys, and I'm bummed the festival is over, but I'm super glad that I got to help with the logistics of one of the most excellent piano festivals in the world. It was an honor, a privilege, and a ton of work. I'm glad, but I'm also exhausted. So I'm off to bed. Good night, and keep tickling those (faux) ivories.

-Jakab S. Selner

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