Music Matters for Kendal at Oberlin

The Kendal at Oberlin community has a deep appreciation for music. And now, thanks to the generosity of a former resident and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, that affection has been enhanced with the recent acquisition of two Steinway pianos.

The Gift of Music

student at piano with audience
Professional pianist Marian Lott, who moved to Kendal in 2006 and lived there until her death last year, donated her upright Steinway piano to Kendal. A few weeks ago her piano was moved to the Penn Dining Room, where resident pianists can enjoy a quiet space to practice as well as perform for diners.

The 7-foot Steinway on loan from the Conservatory of Music replaces an old Steinway on loan from the college that was in need of significant repair. The new piano was the private piano of Wilbur Price, chairman of the college’s piano department who donated his piano to the conservatory when he died in 1996.

“I recently played it and it’s an extraordinarily beautiful instrument,” said resident Dianne Haley.

Kendal now has five pianos in public spaces along with dozens more in resident cottages. “That was the first thing I asked – can I bring my piano?” Dianne said. Soon after Dianne’s arrival in 2014 she met Marian, who arranged a duet concert for the two women.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music is an Important Partner

Musical gatherings, formal and informal, among residents and with visiting musicians and students from the Conservatory and elsewhere, are part of the fabric of Kendal. Even during the pandemic, residents found creative outlets for music by playing outdoors and in garages.  

Residents are avid concert-goers too, and often fill the auditorium at Oberlin College concerts. “So many residents say one of the main reasons they moved to Kendal is because of the Conservatory,” Dianne said, adding “It’s a nice partnership.”

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Author Molly Kavanaugh

Story by Molly Kavanaugh

In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.