Grand Piano

Rev. Darlene Kuhn of Church of the Mediator and Donna Mitchell of SAM welcome the 1929 Apollo parlor grand piano to the church.

HARBERT — The first-ever grant made by the Michiana Arts Foundation, a newly-formed charitable organization with a mission to make fine music accessible in the region, has been awarded to the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Harbert,.

The gift was used to facilitate the acquisition of a baby grand piano.

The piano, a 1929 Apollo parlor grand, was originally owned by Andrew and Margaret Cooper of Lakeside. When they decided not to keep it this fall, Mrs. Cooper spoke to her friend, Lolly Roberts, who spoke to her friend, Tom Flint. Roberts and Flint both live in Three Oaks, where they are board members with the School of American Music (SAM).

Flint went to SAM Executive Director Donna Mitchell, who reached out to her programming partner, Linda Anderson of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator. SAM presents Free Family Concerts at the church.

“Oh course we’ll take a baby grand!” Anderson said when Mitchell approached her.

Members of the Church of the Mediator were eager to accept a piano to match the acoustics of their new church, a vaulted stone building constructed in 2010. But the church hadn’t been budgeting for a new piano and the expenses for minor repairs, professional tuning, and a dolly to safely move the piano were not major, but still prohibitive.

The community kept talking, and soon Garth Taylor, president and founder of the School of American Music, heard about the dilemma. The school has been providing music lessons and concert programming to the people of Michiana since 2012. Taylor tapped the Michiana Arts Foundation and through its grant, Mediator was able to meet all expenses. The piano moved to its new home in October.

Now, said Linda Anderson, “we look forward to the day when future Free Family Concerts feature this beautiful instrument.” But, she said, due to the pandemic, no concerts are currently scheduled for Mediator. See the SAM website for concert updates.

“We have this lovely story of serendipity achieved by people who were in the right place at the right time because they volunteer time to the arts,” Mitchell said.

Taylor said it was seven degrees of separation in action.

“Thanks to a multi-step chain of goodness,” he said, “the Episcopal Church of the Mediator got a concert piano.”

The Episcopal Church of the Mediator, located at 14280 Red Arrow Highway, was founded in 1962 as a parochial mission of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in St. Joseph, Michigan. Today under the direction of Rev. Darlene Kuhn, its congregation welcomes all people regardless of sexual identity, orientation, race or ethnicity. 

The Michiana Arts Foundation is a family foundation with a mission to make music and arts accessible in the Michiana region.

The School of American Music was founded in 2012 to provide education, performance, and audience opportunities in music and the related arts in the Southwest Michigan area. It is located at 3 Elm St. in Three Oaks.

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