Lock Haven College’s determination to donate 11 Steinway pianos to different establishments marks the day the music died on the small Pennsylvania faculty—or at the very least the day its music main formally ended.
Steinway pianos—utilized by artists from John Lennon to Billy Joel and past—are heralded and costly devices, with value tags stretching upward of $100,000 apiece relying on the mannequin. Since 2008 Lock Haven has had 22 Steinways on campus, because of a present from 1966 alumna and present vice chair of the LHU Council of Trustees Margery Dosey and her late husband. The reward led the Pennsylvania faculty to attain all-Steinway standing, which the producer bestows on universities world wide, typically prestigious music faculties, that solely characteristic Steinway pianos on campus.
Now, with Dosey’s blessing, 11 of these 22 Steinway pianos are headed elsewhere.
A bachelor’s diploma in music training, established across the similar time as Dosey’s reward, can also be on the way in which out, a casualty of low enrollment and the plan to merge six public universities in Pennsylvania. Based on the college, there have been no college students enrolled as music majors when the reduce was introduced final 12 months. Now Lock Haven is popping 11 Steinways over to 2 sister universities and different nonprofits.
“Based mostly on the decreased use by Lock Haven, it is sensible to switch among the pianos to our integration companions, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities. Each establishments have sturdy, vibrant music packages that may profit instantly from the donations to permit these fantastic devices to be maintained and performed,” college spokesperson Doug Spatafore wrote in an e mail.
As well as, two of the pianos are going to native faculty districts and one other to a church.
“One Steinway is being gifted to Renovo Elementary College—one of many smallest, most rural faculties within the system the place the piano is anticipated to have a right away, transformative impression on younger, growing minds—serving to to instill and foster an appreciation for music,” he stated.
Remaining Tune for the Music Main
If college students at Renovo Elementary are impressed by the brand new piano to review music in faculty, they received’t have the ability to take action at Lock Haven, at the very least not as a serious—although music will stay a part of the final training curriculum, Spatafore famous.
Chopping the music main at Lock Haven, a rural campus positioned roughly three hours from Pittsburgh, means one fewer choice for the native college students who comprise the overwhelming majority of the campus neighborhood, stated Richard Goulet, a historical past professor on the college and the chapter president of the Affiliation of Pennsylvania State Faculty and College Colleges.
“Eliminating packages of research (majors) reduces the alternatives for the largely rural inhabitants of central PA and belies the aim of the State System of Larger Training (PASSHE), of which LHU is one among 14 universities, to offer a complete larger training expertise to the residents of PA on the most inexpensive value,” Goulet wrote in an e mail.
The formal announcement of the top of the music main got here in March 2021, stated Goulet. He famous that the top of this program—and others—comes “from mandates from the Workplace of the Chancellor, Dr. Daniel Greenstein, that every one 14 universities of PASSHE meet monetary sustainability metrics based mostly on a method that originated from West Chester College (WCU).”
The metrics have in mind elements such because the variety of majors and diploma choices at every college, he stated, together with student-to-faculty ratios and different numbers. However Goulet questions the method as a result of “the benchmark measures used WCU numbers,” and West Chester is way bigger and nearer to Philadelphia than Lock Haven, he famous.
Eliminating Lock Haven’s music main additionally means the lack of school. One music professor has already been reduce. Music professor David Curtin has obtained a “letter of intent to retrench,” Goulet stated, describing the phrase as larger training jargon “for being fired,” and may even see his job eradicated by June 2023.
Curtin didn’t reply to a request for remark.
With 11 Steinways nonetheless available, Lock Haven maintains its all-Steinway standing even with the elimination of its music main, for the reason that remaining pianos all come from the producer. And different faculties within the Pennsylvania state system stand to realize from Lock Haven’s largess; Bloomsburg College and Mansfield College will obtain 4 Steinways every.
“The 4 pianos obtained from Lock Haven will transfer Mansfield nearer to All-Steinway standing and improve the providing of musical devices accessible to college students,” Ryan McNamara, a Mansfield spokesperson, wrote in an e mail. “A notable impression is that one of many pianos can be used within the Music Division’s recording studio, the place beforehand there was no piano accessible.”
The opposite three pianos can be used for pupil apply, tutoring and instruction, he added.
Bloomsburg spokesperson Tom McGuire stated by e mail that “the pianos can be housed in our Haas Middle for the Arts and utilized by our school and college students for educational functions.”
Different Casualties of the Merger
Although the bodily removing and switch of the 11 Steinway pianos could also be a visual image of the dismantling of the music program at Lock Haven, it wasn’t the one main reduce made because the Pennsylvania State System of Larger Training rethought teachers amid the continuing merger.
Goulet additionally pointed to prior cuts in international languages and the proposed elimination of packages or concentrations in areas reminiscent of math, physics, geology, athletic coaching and varied others.
College students enrolled in majors to be reduce will have the ability to end their levels as these are wound down, Spatafore stated.
Further job losses for school are anticipated to observe such cuts. Nevertheless, Goulet stated the elimination of quite a few packages isn’t occurring with no combat from the college union.
“APSCUF has filed a coverage grievance in opposition to the administration for not following the method of placing packages into moratoria as is printed in our Collective Bargaining Settlement,” Goulet stated. “The grievance is ongoing.”