New piano arrives for Nevada’s auditorium

Story and photos by Marlys Barker
New piano arrives for Nevada’s auditorium

There was a ‘grand’ celebration at the Josephine Tope Community Auditorium this past Sunday.

Nevada Music Parents hosted a Donor Appreciation Concert that afternoon to celebrate the end result of the “Dream GRAND” fundraiser — a Steinway Model B grand piano, to be known as the Barb Toot Memorial Piano.

The impressive black instrument took center stage, as people, including a gathering of Toot family members, came together to listen to beautiful music selections played by various pianists, who in some songs were joined by singers.

The quest for a new piano to replace the Young Chang piano given to the district by the city when the auditorium was finished, began in March of 2015. The Nevada Community School Foundation pledged $20,000 to the funding and the school district committed $8,000. The Nevada Music Parents agreed to work to raise the balance of the $90,000 project.

To help the Music Parents, Joe Toot and his family made a sizable, $11,000, contribution to the fundraising in memory of the late Barb Toot, Joe’s wife and a lifelong musician from Nevada. Barb dedicated many hours over the 45 years that she was organist and music director of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. She also shared her talent as organist for numerous weddings and funerals at several local churches. After her retirement from teaching at Collins-Maxwell Community School District, Toot continued to offer piano lessons and became a music ministry professional for Memorial Lutheran Church in Nevada. She had served on the steering committee that led to the planning and completion of the Josephine Tope Community Auditorium. Her daughter and granddaughter, to whom Barb passed on her love of music, had the opportunity to perform during the concert.

Kirsten Weber and Sue Lekwa were instrumental in picking out the Model B Steinway as the perfect piano for Nevada’s auditorium, which will now be used in many of the presentations that are held in the auditorium.