Skip to content

Star-studded recital will showcase 'new' Steinway piano

1925 piano, gifted to St. Paul's Centre, has been refurbished and is ready for its debut
blair and don piano recital
St. Paul’s organist and choir master, Blair Bailey, left, and Don Atkinson, right, will be two of the featured performers at the Piano Showcase Feb. 23 at St. Paul’s Centre Orillia.

A piano recital showcasing the newly refurbished Steinway concert grand piano at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N. Orillia, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23. 

As well as classical masterworks composed for solo piano, this commemorative recital will feature a variety of other music genres, which will also showcase this grand vintage piano.

Local composer/pianist Michael Jones will perform a segment of his own compositions, many of which were inspired by landscapes of Orillia and surrounding area.

Piano solos by some of the great classical composers will be presented by Blair Bailey, Ross Love, a piano major at the Wilfrid Laurier University faculty of music, and Lidwien Wesselingh.

Toronto musician/pianist Doreen Uren Simmons, who is fondly remembered for her active participation in Orillia’s musical scene while a resident here in recent years, will also be featured with a rendition of Chopin’s iconic ‘Raindrop’ prelude for piano solo.

Bailey will also be the piano duet partner of well-known Orillia pianist Jacquie Dancyger, and will be heard on St. Paul’s fine Casavant pipe organ partnering with Don Atkinson for two pipe organ and piano selections.

Bailey will also partner with cellist Marta Solek to perform Brahms Sonata in E minor for cello and piano.

Solek, a native of Krakow, Poland, received extensive training in cello and eastern European folk music in her native country and has performed and toured extensively throughout Europe. After marrying a Canadian, the couple re-located to Canada and recently settled in Orillia.

Another highlight of the recital will feature the iconic duet for baritone and bass from the opera The Pearl Fishers by Bizet.

It will be performed by the father and son duo, David and John Jefferies, who are both well-known to Orillia and area audiences as featured performers in many choral and theatrical productions in Orillia and area.

St. Paul’s Centre was generously gifted with the seven-foot Steinway grand piano three years ago by the family of Wendy McQuaig–Fallis, a member of the congregation of St. Paul’s United Church, Orillia.

The piano dates from 1917 and was bought in New York City by the McQuaig family at that time. It has stayed in the family ever since.

After the death of Wendy’s parents and the sale of their Toronto family home, the McQuaig family decided to have the Steinway delivered to the newly created St. Paul’s Centre, where it could enhance the many musical concerts and productions that are presented there.

It is the only public concert hall in Orillia and area that has a Steinway grand. The name of Steinway is legendary in the piano world, akin to the name of Rolls Royce in the automotive sector.

Don’t miss hearing this incredible instrument in the acoustically wonderful surroundings of St. Paul’s Great Hall, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

Admission is by donation.