Nacogdoches church donates 100-year-old piano for use at Old Uni - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches church donates 100-year-old piano for use at Old University Building

Pianist Linda Parr tests out a donated piano to the Nacogdoches Symphony Club, which is in turn donating it to the Old University Building. (Source: KTRE Staff) Pianist Linda Parr tests out a donated piano to the Nacogdoches Symphony Club, which is in turn donating it to the Old University Building. (Source: KTRE Staff)
A love story explains why the donation of the vintage piano is such a meaningful gift. (Source: KTRE Staff) A love story explains why the donation of the vintage piano is such a meaningful gift. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Carol Willis’ grandmother bought the piano to serve as a memorial for her late husband. Willis’ mother selected the purchase of the 1912 Steinway.  (Source: KTRE Staff) Carol Willis’ grandmother bought the piano to serve as a memorial for her late husband. Willis’ mother selected the purchase of the 1912 Steinway. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The instrument has had owners with giving hearts, but it’s the story of true love at the foundation of its timeless tale that makes it special.

The grand piano is now receiving an even grander home.

Pianist Linda Parr is just one of hundreds who has played this vintage piano that will most likely live out the rest of its use at the Old University Building in Nacogdoches. 

"This instrument is very special,” Parr said. “It was built in 1912."

It's the love story behind the piano that takes center stage. Carrie and Capt. Ira Sturdevant were married well over 50 years. When the captain passed away in the early 1950s, his widow found the perfect memorial for a beloved husband who loved music and the First United Methodist Church of Nacogdoches.  

"The Methodist Church was building the new educational building and had a beautiful new parlor,” said Carol Willis, a granddaughter of the original owner. “And my grandmother wanted to give the piano to the church in memory of my grandfather. He was a real mover and shaker in Nacogdoches."

The church has graciously donated the piano to the Nacogdoches Symphony Club, a club founded by Willis' grandmother in 1904. The grand piano will be used at the Old University Building.

"We're trying to get it renovated, so it will be in top condition for the future for performances here," Parr said.

Nio Ajero will be the first soloist. The 12-year-old gifted musician will learn to appreciate the quality of older Steinways as he performs a benefit concert on Saturday. It will raise money for the restoration.  

"The piano restoration will be covered by the sales and a little extra, which we will use for the upkeep of the piano,” said Carolyn Alhashimi, a member of the Nacogdoches Symphony Club.

"Now, it will continue to benefit people of Nacogdoches, which would have pleased my grandfather and my grandmother both very much,” Willis said.

The benefit concert by Nio Ajero will be Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Old University Building. Tickets are $40. Call Carolyn Alhashimi at (936) 564-3782 to make reservations.

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