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Donors fund Steinway for SFCC Music Arts program

April 23, 2012

in Local

The sound of music is sweeter at State Fair Community College.

Thanks to gifts totaling more than $100,000 from private donors, the college has bought a Steinway grand piano and will build two soundproof practice studios for students to use in its Music Arts program.

SFCC Foundation Executive Director Jackie Almquist said gifts came from former Sedalian Marjory Chipman Scott, who died Feb. 4, 2012; the estate of John and Clarice Ragland; and generous 2011-2012 Music Arts patrons.

The piano was delivered March 28. Construction of the studios is expected to be completed by fall.

Program Coordinator Ron Sayer said the Music Arts program serves about 225 students each semester.

“This gift will make a huge difference to our students,” he said. “The soundproof studios will allow students to practice and work through problems on their own, reinforcing concepts learned in class. They’ll be able to practice without interruption and without disrupting other classes.”

The studios also will provide additional teaching space and a soundproof space for recording, he said.

“Having this beautiful Steinway and the new studios demonstrates to both current and prospective students that SFCC has made a commitment to excellence for its Music Arts program,” said Sayer.

Harry Reed, senior piano specialist with the Schmitt Music Piano Center in Overland Park, Kan., said the Steinway & Sons Model B purchased by the college was designed in 1880 and is still considered “the most perfect piano ever conceived by man or machine.”

“Each Steinway grand piano takes nearly a year to create,” said Reed. “Each Steinway is created from more than 12,000 individual parts. Nothing is hurried.”

Scott, who lived in Dallas, was a long-time supporter of SFCC. In 2007 she donated $69,000 to the college’s “Power to Transform” capital campaign to establish the Marjory Chipman Scott and Oscar Lee Scott Junior Family Endowed Scholarship for students seeking an associate degree in nursing.

At the time, she said she still considered Sedalia home because she had family in the area. Her sister, Alice Shoemaker, and nephew Jim Shoemaker and his wife, Lisa, live in Sedalia; Lisa Shoemaker is a member of the SFCC faculty.

Ragland, of Cole Camp, served as superintendent of Benton County R-I Schools for 33 years. He was a charter member of the SFCC Board of Trustees, serving from 1966 to 1990. On March 31, 1997, the John W. Ragland wing was dedicated in the Fielding Technical Center to house the area vocational-technical school. 1990 the board designated Ragland a Trustee Emeritus.

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