University of Mobile piano students and faculty traveled to New York in April to select the perfect grand piano to honor the memory of William Myers “Billy” Breland. On May 3, 2016, they gathered again in Moorer Auditorium on the University of Mobile campus as the piano was delivered.
The 7′ Steinway B piano brings the university another step closer to becoming an All-Steinway School, a prestigious designation meaning that nearly all of the pianos used by the students and faculty are considered by professionals to be the best pianos in the world.
The university still needs about $69,900 in contributions to the All Steinway, All Together campaign to bring the final pianos home. A $250,000 matching gift from Mike Atkins and Sherry Turner kicked off the campaign in Fall 2015. More than half of the total 22 pianos needed have been delivered and are in use in practice rooms and recital hall.
To donate or learn more about the All Steinway, All Together campaign, go online to umobile.edu/Steinway or call the UMobile Development Office at 251.442.2412.
The Billy Breland Memorial Steinway B was made possible through donations made in memory of Billy Breland. He was the brother of Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Roger Breland, and the Brelands worked together in founding and managing the renowned contemporary Christian music group, TRUTH. Recently, the Christian university’s music school was named The Roger Breland School of Music.
Roger Breland, piano faculty Becky Fox and Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, along with seven UMobile piano majors, hand-picked the piano at the Steinway factory in New York. The students and faculty played six pianos, from which they chose “The Billy.”
“Every piano has a different musical personality,” Roger Breland said. They chose the piano that had “a striking, more bright sound” suitable for a concert hall setting.
Breland said the new piano will be featured later this year when the school presents a concert celebrating the completion of the All Steinway, All Together campaign.