I was asked to tune a piano at the Ronald McDonald House, where children and their families are housed while they are undergoing treatment at Children's Memorial Hospital. When I walked in I heard a Mozart sonata being played on a horribly out of tune, honky-tonk sounding, 100 year old piano. They told me that Chloe, a 9 year old from Taiwan, who is staying there with her family while she is undergoing treatment, loves to play the piano every day since she has been there. I spent several hours doing what I could to tune the piano and tap in the tuning pins so it would hopefully stay in tune (and yes, I fixed the squeaky pedal before I left too!) They were very anxious and stood nearby the whole time I was working on the piano and as soon as I was done Chloe came to the piano and started playing and my heart completely melted when she did. Never have I heard a child that age play with such depth of emotion. You can see the video I took below.
Before I left, I found out that the Ronald McDonald House is moving into a new state of the art facility downtown near Navy Pier, and even though they are moving in late June they wanted to have the piano tuned for Chloe. I told them it wouldn't make a lot of sense to move such an old piano that is in such poor condition to a brand new facility, and I told them I would do what I could to get them a new piano.
With this new House being the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House, they told me that they are going to draw amazing and diverse volunteers from all around the city. They will be having pianists coming in to provide musical entertainment for the families who are going through one of the most stressful times of their lives. Also, they have patients and siblings like Chloe that are with them for extended periods of time that want to play and unwind some of their emotions.
I'm certainly not a fundraiser, but along with the help and support of the North Shore Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild, we thought we'd do what we could and ask folks like you for a donation, small or large, to help purchase a quality upright piano for the Ronald McDonald House.
All funds will go directly for the purchase, moving and maintenance of the piano. If for some reason the piano is not able to be purchased, all funds will be returned. Please be sure to give us your address or email address and you will receive a letter from the Ronald McDonald House that can be used as a charitable tax deduction. If you prefer to send monies directly to the Ronald McDonald House, please stipulate that it is for the purchase of the piano.
Carl Radford, RPT