GPRC Bachelor of Music student, Alex Windsor is excited for the chance to play on GPRC’s latest addition in their Fine Arts Department.
“I chose GPRC because it’s close to home, and gives students the opportunity to learn without having to travel far,” says Windsor, “Now, with the new piano being added to the department, students have the chance to learn on and be exposed to an instrument that will help us fine-tune our skills.”
After three years of preparation, GPRC welcomed a new $170,000 Steinway Model D, 9-foot concert grand piano to their recital hall stage this summer.
“It’s been a long process of research to find the perfect piano for GPRC, so to see it finally on our stage is really exciting,” says Carmen Gorgichuk, GPRC Fine Arts Instructor.
The current grand piano is 36 years old, and has had an amazing career on the GPRC recital hall stage. However, like all machines, it is starting to wear down.
“Our Fine Arts programs are essential to the college and our community which means we must ensure we provide our students the best possible equipment to achieve their educational goals,” says Susan Bansgrove, GPRC Vice President Academics and Research. “This investment in the college will benefit and inspire students and musicians in our community for generations to come.”
As the only institution in Northern Alberta to offer Fine Arts Education, GPRC provides students with the opportunity to complete their Bachelor of Music degree with other institutions in Alberta or across Canada through their collaborative university transfer option.
“A pianist cannot bring their instrument to class, unlike say a singer or violinist,” says Gorgichuk. “When students come to study here, we have a responsibility to not only give them excellent instruction but also provide them with excellent facilities and equipment.”
It was decided as a better investment by the college to replace the piano than to do further repairs on the existing concert grand.
“Steinway pianos gain value over time,” says Gorgichuk, who was one of the three artists chosen to play four short-listed pianos based on extensive research. “Which makes this a huge investment for the college.”
Gorgichuk, along with Emilio De Mercato, pianist and director of Alberta Symphony Orchestra from Edmonton, and Janet Scott Hoyt, University of Alberta professor emeritus, who also was on Edmonton’s Francis Winspear Centre for Music search committee for their current Steinway in the 1990s, rated each based on sound, performance and versatility. The Steinway Model D unanimously ranked the highest scores from all three performers and all agreed the final decision made was adding a truly remarkable piano to GPRC’s collection.
“This piano will benefit many different types of students that come through GPRC,” says Gorgichuk. “It offers a versatility of sound necessary for a recital hall like the colleges, which has junior and senior level piano students coming through the doors as well as world class concert artists.”
The Fine Arts Department is also home to the GPRC Conservatory, which offers non-credit instruction in music to approximately 500 students per year from young children to adults. The Conservatory serves a vital need in the community by showing music lovers it is possible to turn their passion into a career right here at home.
“We must remember we wouldn’t have students at the highest level if we didn’t provide an opportunity for students to start lessons at a beginner level,” says Gorgichuk. “We nurture them, and that’s why our Conservatory is so important. It serves a need in the community and gives students a foundation to their goals and dreams in music, while bringing awareness to the next possible step for these Conservatory kids in that GPRC offers university transfer music programs.”
Alex Windsor could not agree more.
“GPRC is benefiting their students’ learning,” he says. “I’m so excited to start my learning on an instrument that will help me fine-tune my skills and give me a competitive edge down the road in my future career.”
Click to learn more about GPRC Fine Arts Department or the GPRC Conservatory.