By John Lynds
For decades, East Boston High School housed a historic grand piano in the school’s auditorium and for decades the piano was used during plays, graduation ceremonies and music shows. However, over the past 20 years the grand piano fell into disrepair and needed a complete overhaul that proved to be too expensive for the school.
EBHS”s Class of 1970 initially wanted to raise enough money to get the piano in working order but following an assessment by a piano restoration expert, the Class of ’70 abandoned the original plan and set out to replace the aging piano.
On Monday, members of the Class of ’70 officially dedicated a new baby grand piano that has been refurbished and in good working order.
“We figured we could get the Class of ’70 together and ask our fellow classmates to donate $70 to help get a piano back at the high school,” said Debbi White, Class of ’70. “Some people sent in checks for $70, some sent in checks for a little more and we received donations from East Boston Savings Bank, the Rotary Club and the East Boston Foundation. The first push started a year and half ago to get the old piano fixed and we were told that was not going to happen so we figured we could find another piano.”
White and the Class of ’70 were contacted by Zumix who had recently got a commitment for a baby grand piano from a donor in Lexington.
“So the money we raised went to moving the old piano out and moving the new piano in as well as having the new piano cleaned up and tuned,” said White.
When all was said and done it cost $1,500 to get the new piano up and running.
“So we had a balance and we decided to use that money towards a scholarship for a graduating senior next year who is pursuing music,” said White. “So we are still raising money for that scholarship and checks can be sent to our scholarship fund at East Boston Savings Bank, Care of Jane Woodman (Class of ’70), 10 Meridian St., East Boston.”
EBHS Swim Coach and member of the Class of ’70 Dave Arinella was proud of what he and his fellow classmates were able to accomplish.
“I don’t have to tell you that the Class of 70 is one of the greatest class,” said Coach Arinella. “We wanted to do something that would be remembered by not only our class but remembered and enjoyed by every class now and in the future. We saw there was a need for a piano and the old one, that was here since 1960, while priceless in its time had fallen apart. So one thing led to another and here we are dedicating this new gift to the school.”
Both Arinella and EBHS Headmaster Phil Brangiforte hope the new piano will lead to bringing music back to the school.
“I think it is a great thing,” said Brangiforte. “The old piano was no good and this one is practically brand new compared to the old piano. The Class of ’70 did a great job raising money to help East Boston High. The piano will be put to good use for our drama class and the shows they do during the school year. I’m very excited by the idea that we can now bring music back to the school and we are looking to collaborate with Zumix so we can achieve that goal.”
Brangiforte said the first plan for the new piano is to move it into the school’s foyer during the last day of school and have student Nick Shea great students with music throughout the day.
“It will be a great way to close out the school year,” he said.