After working as a pianist for Von Maur for several years, they asked if I would be interested in preforming on a CD that would be played when there were no pianists at the piano. (Whenever we would take a break, we would flip a switch under the piano that would turn on a CD of piano music that was located at the customer service desk.) Of course I said yes, what an honor to be asked!
So, everything was arranged and when the time came, I drove to a college in the Quad Cities where an amazing piano waited for me. When I arrived, the man from the recording studio told me I would be preforming on a 9’6″ Concert Grand Bösendorfer piano that had 97 keys instead of the traditional 88. I was nervous enough with just doing this job and now hearing this, my heart raced even more. I was very intimidated with this beast of a piano, as I had never played on a concert grand and now knowing there were extra keys, I was excited and overwhelmed!
When approaching the piano, the extra keys were at the lower end, all bass clef. They were all black (even the white ones were black) …almost unnoticeable as they rather blended in with the black color of the piano cabinet. I had never seen anything like this before and was so intrigued of how they would sound. As I put my hands on the keyboard, I first gently pressed one key in the upper range. Such a sweet and tender sound! With the lightest pressure, every key I pressed made the most delicate sound. (On most pianos while pressing very, very lightly, the key will not make a sound.) I continued to play, forgetting about the extra octave below, playing louder and louder until the sound nearly scared me because of its intensity and thundering power. I immediately diminished and realized I had been holding my breath the entire time!
My focus then went to those extra bass notes. I started playing around with them and loved them, they were deep, dark and intense. So many times over the years as I was playing, I had wished the keyboard would go on, especially on the lower end. It’s my wish come true and knew at that moment I wanted a Bösendorfer! The most delicate sound, the most intense sound all in one beautiful instrument.
I really am so blessed to have a beautiful Yamaha Grand at home and for years now, have had the privilege to break in many Yamaha pianos at Von Maur, (they lease them and every 18-24 months we get a new one.) They are very nice pianos with a great action & sound and with a reasonable price. I have also played a few Steinways (not concert grands or brand new) and many other very nice pianos with reputable names. But never have I felt the power and the sound in a piano like I have in this Bösendorfer.
And then there was the touch…the action of this piano was incredible. It felt like the keys were butter and my fingers just melted right into them. I had never felt a piano like this one. The recording guy started talking and brought me out of my dreamy state. He told me to be careful with the pedaling…not to get a “pedaling noise” as the microphone could easily pick up that undesirable sound. The piano was opened up as far as it could go and inside, there was a large microphone right in the middle. It was set up on a stand that was on the floor, carefully not touching any part of the piano. I knew exactly what he was talking about, as I mastered that issue years ago as a young student and it is something I’m constantly helping my students with.
Once I had a few minutes of warm up, the recording guy asked me if I was ready. All feelings of nervousness and intimidation were gone and I was ready to perform. So, for hours I played as he recorded me, one song after the other. The acoustics were just incredible in this recital auditorium. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent playing on this magnificent piano, a time I’ll never forget.
When I arrived home, I told my husband I knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas; a 9’6″ Bösendorfer piano with 97 keys! He laughed as I told him the price tag was well over $80,000 and that we’d have to add a room to the house! This took place about 20 years ago and after looking up the price today…the suggested retail price for a new one is now $306,999! You guessed it, I’m still playing and teaching with my old Yamaha grand. But I’m still blessed!
So, over the 28 years of playing at Von Maur, I did 3 different CD sessions for them, the last one, recorded about 5 years ago, is still playing in their stores today. Sadly for me, the next two times I recorded, I did not get the privilege to play on the Bösendorfer. Instead, I went to the studio of the same recording guy in the Quad Cities and performed on his piano there. Guess what kind of piano? A Yamaha Grand! It’s perfect fit since I’ve spent a lifetime on that piano brand, I know it so well! The last CDs I did for them, they put me up in a hotel as it took two days to complete. I also recorded Christmas CDs in that session, I believe we made more than 10 CDs full of piano music!
So the next time you go into a Von Maur store, no matter where at in the United States, if the piano is not being played by a live pianist at that time, you will hear me on the piano, as all Von Maur stores across the country play the CDs that were made in our last recording session!
What an honor and privilege to be chosen out of all their pianists to perform on their CDs!
Does Shannon appear “live” any place? Can I access her schedule? I have heard her twice in person and could not have spent a more enjoyable evening. I have one of her CDs, which I thoroughly enjoy. What a gift God has given us through Shannon! Janice Legg
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Hello, thank you for your sweet comment! At this time I have no events scheduled and I have retired from Von Maur. But that doesn’t mean I’m not spending time at the piano…I teach children and adults piano lessons, play in church and still play at home. I will put it out there if I again play publicly.
Shannon, This is so amazing! Thank you for sharing!!!
Shannon, your piano journey has always been such a delight to follow! Thank you for sharing this special moment with us! Congratulations for this recording opportunity AND the Bosendorfer experience! Blessings sister… keep sharing God’s gift with the world.
Thank you Rhonda!
Shan, the Lord has definitely blessed you in many ways. I am honored to have known you and grown up with you. Love you so much!
Love you too dear Susie and I love our memories from the past! God has richly blessed you too…how many grandchildren?! They are the absolutely the best. I wish you lived closer, I miss you! ♥