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August 16, 2002

Norfolk Foundation funds the purchase of Steinway piano for Kimball Theatre

The E.K. Sloane Fund of The Norfolk Foundation has funded the purchase of a Steinway concert grand piano for the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square with a generous grant of $72,000.

Since its dedication in September 2001, the theater has had to rent a piano for a number of concerts including: a William and Mary faculty recital; performances by the American Boychoir and the Sammy Kaye Orchestra; a variety show by William and Mary students; a concert by the Williamsburg Symphonia Orchestra; and performances by the Hampton University Choir and by pianist Don Irwin.

“We are very grateful to our friends at The Norfolk Foundation,” said Jeanne Zeidler, director of community cultural affairs for Colonial Williamsburg. “The purpose of the Kimball Theatre is to offer a variety of live performances, films and educational offerings to enrich the cultural and intellectual life of this community by appealing to diverse audiences, including the visitors, the college community and area residents. Now, with its own concert grand piano on site and available as needed, the Kimball Theatre’s programming and scheduling will be greatly enhanced.”

Zeidler traveled to New York City with Randy Taylor, manager of Jordan Kitt’s Temple of Music in Virginia Beach, Va., to select a piano at the Steinway piano factory. Assisting with the selection were Steinway artist and College of William and Mary faculty member Christine Neihaus and her husband, jazz pianist Harris Simon. “We were fortunate to have eight Steinway model ‘D’ pianos from which to choose,” said Zeidler. “Steinway pianos are all individually handmade and in great demand. It is unusual to have such a large selection for consideration at any one time, even at the factory.”

The Kimball Theatre’s elegant, new Steinway piano—a 9-foot concert grand in ebony satin finish—will arrive in several weeks and will be used for future productions and performances.

“The Norfolk Foundation is very pleased to support Colonial Williamsburg’s efforts to enhance cultural offerings in the Williamsburg area,” said Angelica Light, president of The Norfolk Foundation. “This is just the kind of opportunity for bringing great musical performances to the public that E. K. Sloane had in mind when he left his estate to The Norfolk Foundation to establish this piano fund.”

The Norfolk Foundation is the oldest community foundation in Virginia and provides grants that transform the quality of life and inspire philanthropy in southeastern Virginia. Previously, the E.K Sloane Fund of The Norfolk Foundation helped enhance Colonial Williamsburg’s musical outreach programming with a $7,000 grant to fund the reproduction of a 1709 Thomas Barton harpsichord built by Peter Redstone, one of the nation’s finest instrument makers of English harpsichords.

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