Local director’s mission: to tune needy piano’s for non-profits

by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Aaron Carpenter has sat down at many pianos to accompany his choirs entertaining nonprofit groups and schools over the years. He is frequently disappointed to find them out of tune.

So, the Land of Lakes Choir Boys’ artistic director decided to do something about that. He has raised  funds to purchase equipment to tune these pianos himself, volunteering his services.

Aaron Carpenter is artistic director for Land of Lakes Choirboys
Aaron Carpenter is artistic director for Land of Lakes Choirboys

“In my line of work, with these music organizations,” said Carpenter, who also serves a church and a community orchestra, “I find myself and my groups performing in nursing homes and senior living communities.

“Time and time again, we arrive to pianos that haven’t been tuned for a few years, if ever. I visit schools with the boys’ choir and find instruments completely out of tune.”

The music teachers explain to him  that tuning the piano is not a priority and is not in the budget.

“This is a shame. Students and seniors should be able to enjoy music on a tuned instrument.”

Carpenter’s goal was to raise $1,200 for piano tuning software, plus a tablet to be utilized with the software and to allow for mobility, along with a few updates to his own tuning equipment.

Happily, he was able to raise $1,275 over the weekend by using the Internet, in  particular the website “GoFundMe,” designed for  personal or organizational fundraising projects through social networking and emailing.

Carpenter plans to make himself available to organizations such as nursing homes, senior living communities, arts organizations and schools, and possibly more.

“I’m am not a professional (tuner), so this will be a learned process,” said Carpenter, who’s been seeking advice from tuners he uses himself.

He adds that he’ll just be working on ordinary or lower quality pianos. “I’m not going to tune any concert pianos,” he said.

Tunings usually cost anywhere from $100 to $250, he said.