The Knabe grand piano, which usually graces the stage of the historic Geneva City Auditorium/Rialto II Theatre, will be shipped to Sioux Falls, S.D., in the near future for some rebuilding which includes a new pin block and new strings. The Knabe dates to circa 1915. The work will be done by Tim Coates, a piano technician with an outstanding reputation.
The Knabe will travel back to Geneva in time for the 100th anniversary concert of the Geneva City Auditorium. The celebration concert, sponsored by the Geneva Arts Council, features stellar musicians, all with Geneva ties, including Willa Foster Jones, Ben-Kaye Skinner, Karen Kotas Eisenhauer, Tracy Wilson, Helen Waring Johnson and Ashten Linnea Smith. The concert date is April 19, 2015.
Howard Hamilton, surely the greatest Geneva booster that the community has ever known, organized the fund drive to purchase the Knabe grand in the early 1950s. He noted all of the autographs written on the backstage walls, and contacted those who had left their marks for donations to the project. The response was tremendous. Geneva piano teacher Ruth Ann Hrubesky selected the piano, and the Knabe has been an integral part of the musical arts from this historic stage since that time.
If you are interested in contributing to the piano project, contact Bill Turek at 402-759-3834, or send your donation to the Geneva Arts Council, PO Box 54, Geneva, NE 68361. Approximate cost of the project is estimated at $8,000.