When Brenau University acquired the first piano in its $1.5 million initiative to become an “All-Steinway School,” it already had a name: The Dempsey Steinway.
That first piano, Number 481, a handmade Steinway & Son’s Model D Concert Grand, arrived on campus Dec. 4 and now resides in Pearce Auditorium. However, Brenau President Ed Schrader announced previously that it would be named for former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Wayne Dempsey, who retired at the end of 2012 for health reasons. The instrument made its public “debut” at a concert in Pearce Auditorium on Feb. 5.
After presenting Dempsey with a certificate and a plaque commemorating “The Dempsey Steinway” at a November dinner for the university Board of Trustees, Schrader said he could think of no more fitting honor for Dempsey’s service to Brenau. In his career Dempsey taught sciences and managed finances and business operations. But with his strong, clear polished singing voice and talent with orchestral instruments, he’s always been a front-and-center fixture around any kind of music at Brenau and his church. When the idea for the expensive All-Steinway program emerged, the money-conscious Dempsey was one of the first to embrace it.
“The All-Steinway project is an important statement about the quality of the music programs at Brenau,” Schrader says. “Wayne knows that better than anyone.”
Brenau announced more than a year ago that it had embarked on a plan to raise $1.5 million to replace worn-out, unserviceable pianos on campus. With fundraising still in progress, the university leased the concert grand, which when fully acquired will represent close to 10 percent of the total cost of the 30-piano acquisition.
The 1878 Council, Brenau’s advisory board, and Alpha Chi Omega sorority have thus far spearheaded the fundraising effort for the Pearce piano.
To contribute to the Dempsey Steinway and the All-Steinway project, go to www.brenau.edu/giving/donate/ and make your donation to the All-Steinway project. Or for more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-718-5309.