Steinway Chronicle: A First in the Heart of Cajun Country

Nicholls State University unleashes a monster on campus as students, faculty, alumni and guest performers partake in the annual Monster Piano Concert.

As seen in the Fall 2012 edition of the Steinway Chronicle.

THIBODAUX, LA. – Through an unbeatable combination of visionary leadership and four years of undying dedication, Nicholls State University recently etched its name on a prestigious roster of All-Steinway Schools.

“Nicholls State University is the first public university in Louisiana to achieve this distinction, and serious students of music know just how significant that designation is,” says Dr. David Boudreaux, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “The students are truly grateful for the opportunity to learn, practice, and perform on the world’s finest pianos, and they are very proud that their regional comprehensive university has achieved such a distinction for their sake.”

Under the guiding hand of University President Dr. Stephen Hulbert, Dr. Boudreaux assembled a group of generous donors that made possible the All-Steinway achievement. “As leading businesspeople in the region, they understood the importance of music in our cultural lives, and they certainly understood that their gifts were investments that will be here long after we are gone,” he adds.

Dr. Luciana Soares, Associate Professor of Music, and Bruno Duarte, conservatory student, perform at Nicholls State University.

© MISTY LEIGH MCELROY/NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY

Similar to reactions at other institutions around the world, the All-Steinway news produced a strong ripple effect in the robust heart of Cajun Country.

“The greatest benefit of being an All-Steinway School is the support from our administration and our donors,” says Dr. Carol Britt, who heads the Department of Music. “Their support for our program strengthens us in this time of budget cuts to education, and helps build excitement about what we are accomplishing.”

“Our friends at Nicholls State have been fantastic to work with,” adds Steven O. Kinchen, President of Hall Piano Co. in Metairie. “Most, if not all, of the funds to purchase the new pianos were raised from private donations, and that’s no small task when you are talking about a small community of approximately 20,000 residents.”

When word spread that Nicholls State was close to achieving its milestone, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra invited the school to host a concert that included a world premiere performance by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Steinway Artist Jeffery Biegel served as pianist for the evening.

“That simply would not have happened without our being an All-Steinway School,” explains Dr. Boudreaux, adding that Nicholls State is working with the New Orleans International Piano Competition to bring winning performers to campus in the future.