A few years back , we went to a bankruptcy auction down river from where we live. Included in the sale was a very old Hardman upright grand piano that had been through the latest flood....You could see the water mark on the piano legs as she now sat in 1/2" of river silt. I touched her keys and was quite surprised she played well for not being tuned in ? years.
My dear friend and neighbor told me to offer $75 instead of the asking $300. I thought as a joke I would...and ask questions later. Well, the man yelled "SOLD!!"... Uh oh..The next question was, "How are we going to get this HEAVY, 800lb piano into the 16' boat up river 15 miles, not to mention, back to our cabin on a bumpy trail?? Thank the Lord for a forgiving husband who would do almost anything for me....within reason, that is. I think this was the topper, though! Lol!
Many strong backs helped get the piano on board the boat for the ride up river, but after I met my husband with our mini truck, we were on our own.
With Lots of ingenuity, levers, pillows, planks, and a come-a-long, we made it to the homestead within a few hours. We had to wait two months before our yard dried out and firm up from the winter thaw before getting this beauty into our home.
While she waited under a tarp in our yard, we ordered antigue casters as some of the old ones were worn or broken. I also looked over her very sturdy insides and discovered a stamped number hidden from view. This is where the internet came in handy! I found out how old she was and where she hailed from before making the trek all the way to Alaska.
She was built in New York, New York in 1904. I still don't have her complete story, but, she was purchased in the mid 80's by the Dixon family who then owned Riversong Lodge. Mrs Dixon relayed to me that a few famous people did play her. Neil Diamond and Jimmy Buffet were two she knew of and my husband was a witness to Jack Hanna tinkering on it as well.
It wasn't long after she was in our home that I wrote Christmas Song. But, within a few months she became more out of tune because of our great variations in humidity and temperatures. This was very saddening, but expected. I contacted a few piano tuners, but upon our conversations, realized that to replace strings and get her back into tune would cost a mighty dollar.
We opted to let her grace our wall in the living room to be a treasured antique and conversation piece...and that, she is.
I solicited Patrick Endres, my husband's childhood friend and a wildlife photographer out of Fairbanks for photos to use in my video .Here's a little taste of this wild frontier:
Christmas Song, An Alaskan Pageantry
*Photo of Polar Bear Compliments of Patrick Endres
from Time To Fly
released November 28, 2016
Written & produced by Christine McHoes
Christmas bells by Peter Ratner
Guitar by Robert Siekawitch
Mixed RPV Media Group LLC Anchorage, AK
Mastered UVI Media Group LLC Albuquerque, NM