Piano Maker’s Corner: A Truly Moving Tale
This month, Daniel Ley tells us the tale of an unusual piano delivery he once made. This story made me think again about how we never know who our music is touching—we just need to trust that it is.
A few years ago, I received an unusual call for a piano move; it was expected to be at the house in the early evening at an exact time, and was to be taken away in three hours. The piano was going to a home for a private concert and a small party. The host of the party and his wife had asked me to stay the full three hours; in fact, they encouraged me to enjoy the concert and to help myself to the appetizers.
The house quickly filled up with guests and the piano concert began. However, this was not a regular concert. I noticed that the host of the party would approach the pianist every couple of minutes and ask, “Could you please play _______? He would really appreciate it.” Followed by an occasional, “He really loves that song! Thank you so much!”
This exchange really intrigued me. Who was the guest of honor here? Well, I soon found out that the “party” was actually a funeral. Yet, I still did not understand why the host and his wife were speaking of the deceased in the present time.
Shortly after the party ended, right before I began to prepare for the move back, I asked the host, “Excuse me, but how did you know that the deceased enjoyed the concert?” The host smiled at me and asked me to follow him to the corner of the grand room, where the piano stood.
He pulled a large, decorative curtain aside… There behind the curtain, lay the client, on his deathbed. The man had apparently asked to have the funeral held while he was still alive. He wanted to enjoy the music he so loved one last time.
He passed away the next day.
Daniel Ley is the owner of Ley Piano Company in Tucson Arizona, where he carries on a tradition of quality piano care, service, and restoration. In addition to full service piano care, he and his craftsmen build their own modern American grand piano, Monserrat.