Piano restored to its former glory to be played at concert

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 4, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(l-r) Floyd Gadd piano technician, Pauline Minevich, professor in the Department of Music and Helen Pridmore, associate professor (music) and concert organizer.
(l-r) Floyd Gadd piano technician, Pauline Minevich, professor in the Department of Music and Helen Pridmore, associate professor (music) and concert organizer. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography.

The soft and rich sounds of the Knabe baby grand piano, built in 1928, will once again be heard at the University of Regina.

A concert March 6 will celebrate the completely restored Knabe, which was donated by the family of Dr. William Riddell. Dr. Riddell served as Dean of Regina College starting in 1950 and then was appointed Principal in 1960. He was instrumental in developing the College’s School of Art.  

The Knabe (pronounced kuh-NUH-bee) was donated to the university in 2000.

“Traditionally, the Knabe was considered a higher end, quality piano much like we think of the Steinway today,” says Helen Pridmore, associate professor in the Department of Music. “The sound from a Knabe is different from a Steinway. It is softer and richer. Steinways are wonderful, but the Knabe has a lovely kind of warm, rich tone to it. It’s very special.”

This Knabe has been restored thanks to the work of U of R piano technician Floyd Gadd.

“I’m delighted at how well this piano has responded to the restoration process,” says Gadd. “I’m also very pleased with how warmly this project is being received within the faculty.”

Gadd says this was a challenging restoration project. The laminated maple block, into which tuning pins are driven, needed to be replaced. It’s a procedure Gadd describes as “a bit fussy.”

He says, “it was my first time doing it. Fortunately it turned out well.”

The piano case was turned over to Nazarchuk’s Furniture Refinishing and Repair in Regina.
“Greg Nazarchuk and his team made the case look fabulous,” says Gadd.

As Pridmore saw the project move along, the idea came to the Faculty of Music to unveil the ‘new’ piano
with a concert.

“We felt we should do something to honour this piano and present it to the public,” says Pridmore.

“People will get to see it, hear it and see some of our music department perform on it. It’s a lovely way to welcome it back to our music family.”

The concert will feature works performed by Pridmore as well as some of her Department of Music colleagues including Brent Ghiglione, Dominic Gregorio, Floyd Gadd, David Dick and Pauline Minevich.

Regina composer David L. McIntyre, who sometimes teaches at the U of R, has composed a piece that will debut at the concert and be performed by Pauline Minevich, an associate professor in the Department of Music and assistant principal clarinetist with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and her husband Eduard Minevich – former principal violinist with the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
But the star of the show will no doubt be the Knabe.

“The Riddell family has been so generous in its support of the university. That is important for the faculty and students who have this rich legacy that has been left for them,” says Pridmore.  

Fittingly, the piano will end up in the voice teaching studio in the Riddell Centre,  

“I’m really pleased about this,” says Gadd. “It means that even though it is a grand piano of modest size, this gift from Dr. Riddell is finding a use to which it is ideally suited, and students will be interacting with it daily throughout the teaching year. What could be better?”
Event:       Concert to unveil the restored Knabe baby grand piano
Date:        Sunday, March 6, 2016 at 3 p.m.
Location:  Shu-Box Theatre, Riddell Centre, Main Campus

Free admission. Free parking in lots 8 & 9 nearby.

The Riddell Legacy

Although he passed away in 2000, Dr. Riddell’s family maintains a close relationship with the U of R, to the great benefit of students. Each year, the Doris and W. A. Riddell Graduate Scholarship of $2,500 is awarded to a student in Fine Arts. 

The Dr. W.A. Riddell Instrumental Scholarship assists students studying senior-level woodwinds or brass instrument and the Dr. W.A. Riddell award in Media, Art and Performance (formerly Fine Arts) supports undergrad students pursuing a degree in film, media, music, visual arts or theatre.

The U of R offers a wide array of scholarships.

See which one is the best fit for you by visiting our undergraduate scholarship and awards page or find out about graduate scholarships and awards here.