A Bösendorfer Miracle
Standing while playing became her only solution, and while her digital keyboard on a tall stand allowed her some pleasure, she longed to perform on her beloved Bösendorfer. Jeff offered to contact the company to see if it was possible to craft special legs that would allow Mary to play standing up.
Jeff teamed up with Marion Alexander, Bösendorfer customer care specialist, and Ed Whitting, RPT (Registered Piano Technician), who is also Mary’s piano technician. Turns out Ed Whitting had already contacted Ferdinand Bräu, Bösendorfer’s Senior Product Designer to find a solution to raise her piano. Over the next few months, measurements and designs flew back and forth between California and Europe.
Finally, at the company’s klavierfabrik (piano factory) in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, custom legs and lyre system were hand-crafted, with the pedal lyre moved forward so Mary could stand without the discomfort of having to place a foot underneath the piano.
Throughout the process, Ed Whitting would send Mary email updates, signing them “Keep a song in your heart.” Then, Ed emailed Mary once more to say “Not only will you have a song in your heart, but you will be able to play it on your beautiful sounding and playing Bösendorfer without pain.”
The first piece she played on her retrofitted Bösendorfer was the song in her heart, Claude Debussy’s L’isle Joyeuse, as an expression of her joy and gratitude. “I am the fortunate person to have benefitted from the help of an amazing group of caring and talented people to give me the gift of music,” Mary said.
Mary gives her many thanks to Jeff Bauer, Ed Whitting, Marion Alexander, Ferdinand Bräu, Bruce King, and David Durben for that gift. But, as Ed puts it, “At the end of the day, we, together, have changed the life of one person who truly welcomes the change. The meaning of life is no more complicated than this.”
Mary Shane's Letter:
I, Mary Shane, am the fortunate person to have benefitted from the help of an amazing group of caring and talented people who have come together to give me the gift of music. I would like to share this story.
As a child I always loved the piano. My father played bits of Rachmaninov’s “Prelude in C# Minor” and I wanted more than anything to play the piece in its entirety. By the time I was a teenager, I had achieved my goal and had established piano as an essential part of my life. I often used the piano to help me through rough times in medical school. I brought music to my family. My son at age 7 asked me to play the “United Airlines Song” (Rhapsody in Blue) which he heard on TV ads. I accompanied my sister on the flute and my husband and son for their singing. But mostly I loved playing classical music and dreamed of having a great grand piano. IN 2013 my husband purchased for me the incredible Bösendorfer 225 from Jeff Bauer at Keyboard Concepts. Jeff is a talented jazz and classical pianist who help me appreciate the beauty and unbelievable sound of this piano. We had plans to continue contact and to share music.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter I had a worsening of a medical condition that prevents me from sitting for more than a few minutes without pain. After many attempts to find a cure, I finally had to resort to using a standup keyboard for almost all of my playing time. My husband said it would be wonderful if someone could make a standup grand piano.
The last year a miracle happened. Jeff Bauer gave me the name of Ed Whitting when I asked him to recommend a piano tuner. Ed is a talented pianist and piano technician who on his own suggested raising the piano when I told him my story! I couldn’t believe at first that this could be a reality. However, with the amazing help of Jeff Bauer and the many wonderful, creative, and talented people at Bösendorfer in Austria I watched as my dream was coming true: Ed measured the new height that I needed and figured out proper pedal placement at G5. it has been a remarkable and awesome experience to exchange dozens of emails with Ed, Jeff, Marion Alexander, Ferdinand Braue, Bruce King, David Durben with drawings and photos showing the many steps in the construction of the extended legs and lyre. The exchanges were always filled with feelings of warmth and thoughtfulness.
Ed always signed his emails with “Keep a Song own Your Heart” and on Thanksgiving as the dream became a reality Ed emailed, “Not only can you have a song in your heart but you will be able to play it on your beautiful sounding and playing Bösendorfer without pain.”
The first song in my heart that I will play on my new piano is my favorite piece by Claude Debussy (which also was Debussy’s favorite) “L’isle joyeuse.“ I believe it expresses best my joy and gratitude for this great gift.
I hope to have ongoing contact with all of the wonderful people involved in this project and I hope that someone else will also benefit from this miracle.