Money raised for grand piano during ‘Festival’

Around 72 current and former faculty, interested parties and their dates gathered together at the Palomar Performing Arts Center to celebrate the second fundraising event formally known as “The Festival.”

The Howard Brubeck Theatre will receive a Steinway and Sons Grand Piano, valued at $127,000, after the Palomar Performing Arts Circle concluded its final fundraising event for the Peter Gach Steinway Fund on the evening of April 12.

Guests who attended the event experienced a variety of live performances, food, and spirits at $150 per ticket.

A silent auction was held at the beginning of the event for items like a solid bodied custom Koa by Taylor Guitars valued at $4,000, glass pottery donated by the Palomar College Art Department, San Diego Padres tickets and more.

“I’m so happy that so many people are here and supportive of the program,” said Palomar College President Robert Deegan. “I think it shows the local support, and the community support for the music program and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

The event was coordinated and organized by Dean Norma Miyamoto of the Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science Division, Dr. Peter Gach and members of the Palomar Performing Arts Circle.

The Festival is a part of a series of fundraising events for the Steinway Grand Piano that started in May 2012, in commemoration of Gach’s 31-year career as a faculty member of Palomar College.

Gach has established a career as an accomplished pianist, professor of music, and former Chairperson of the Performing Arts Department.

Miyamoto said that it was her idea to name the Steinway Fund after Gach.

“He’s a very humble man,” she said. “It’s all about providing this instrument for our future faculty, our current faculty, and our current and future students.”

“That was Dr. Gach’s vision,” Miyamoto said.

According to Miyamoto, this year’s Festival raised approximately $13,000 – $15,000 in combined ticket sales, silent auction bids, and monetary pledges. Last year’s Festival raised around $25,000, and more funds were raised in previous events.

“I’m delighted because the Peter Gach Steinway Committee that works with the fundraising has been working very hard for two years,” Gach said.

What made it possible for the Steinway Fund to reach its goal Saturday evening is when Richard Talmo, executive director of the Palomar College Foundation, announced that the Foundation is donating the remainder of the funds required, possibly as much as $60,000, to purchase the Steinway Grand Piano.

“We were anticipating at least another year, if not two more years, of fundraising to complete it, and we’re very grateful to the Foundation that they’ve come in and topped off the fundraising effort and brought this project to a close,” Gach said.

Of course, the Festival wouldn’t have been a success without the efforts of the actors, singers, and dancers who entertained the guests.

The Festival provided several performances including a saxaphone quartet, a reverse transcription play, a street band performance by Master of Ceremonies Ken Bell and Dr. Gach, a dance ensemble, the Chamber Singers, and an abridged version of the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” by The Boyz, a comedic trio of actors and alumni of Palomar College.

“None of these performances were compensated in any way,” Miyamoto said. “They all volunteered their time.”

The Master of Ceremonies concluded the Saturday evening fundraiser with the sounding of the conch and applause by the guests.

Before the crowd disbursed, a guest asked when Gach’s fans could expect a chance to hear him perform with the Steinway Grand Piano.

“Well, we’re going to have to get it first, and at some point in the fall we’re going to have to figure something out,” Gach said.

The piano will be named the Peter Gach Steinway in honor of the professor and is expected to be delivered in the fall.


Author: David Shrum

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