A grand gift for the Opera Hall

archive_import /

By ABBY SOUZA

More than 75 people gathered Wednesday night to celebrate a very special addition to the Sonora Opera Hall.

"The day we waited for has finally arrived," said Melina Cherling of Jamestown as she stood beside the stately Kawai grand piano recently purchased for the historic hall.

The piano, worth nearly $21,000, is the result of a year-long fund-raising effort led by Cherling. It was dedicated and played for an audience for the first time Wednesday evening.

"We're so thankful to have this piano," said Cherling. "I think the community will enjoy it for years to come."

Until now, any group using the hall and needing a piano had to rent or borrow one.

"Here was this wonderful opera house, but with no piano," said Cherling in her speech at the dedication. The moving and borrowing of pianos became expensive.

So Cherling and others approached city officials for help. That was in April of 1999.

At first, the plan was to ask around in the community for a used piano. However, when no piano was donated, the Sonora Opera Hall Piano Fund Committee began sending out letters in early 2001 to solicit donations from community members.

By January 2002, the group had raised enough to purchase the piano.

"Which I think is very good for a small community like this," said Cherling.

"The list of those who aided us is long," she said. Among donors was the Sonora Area Foundation, which gave $6,000 to the cause. Proceeds from the St. James Concert Series also went into the piano fund.

The 88 Key Club was also established, where community members donated at least $100 each to the fund. These people were given an actual piano key and a certificate of appreciation at the dedication ceremony.

Sonora Mayor Liz Bass was at the ceremony and was presented with a gold plaque to be placed on the $20,900 piano.

"We all know this is Melina's night," said Bass.

11700393
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday April 30, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
New $65M courthouse to open by end of 2019

04/26/2016

State officials are working with architectural consultants on final designs for a ... more

Lake is full, marina is open

04/26/2016

The temperature was in the high 20s Tuesday morning when Jacob Hartley, ... more

Increased pulse flows for fish begin on Stanislaus River

04/26/2016

Agencies that control flows on the Stanislaus River below Tulloch and New ... more

Rim Fire recovery plan released

04/28/2016

Federal custodians of the Stanislaus National Forest are publishing a plan today ... more

Director resigns as infighting continues

04/27/2016

Bryan Adcox has resigned from the Mother Lode Fair Board of Directors ... more