Grand bequest from Ruth Whyte

03 May 2016

Lavington's Mirambeena Community Centre has welcomed a grand piano worth about $90,000 thanks to the Murray Conservatorium and Ruth Whyte Bequest.

Upon her death in 1999, Ruth Whyte bequeathed funds to Charles Sturt University to establish the Ruth Whyte Bequest and to work with the Murray Conservatorium to support the advancement of music in the region.

A poet and musician of considerable ability, Ruth and her late husband, Geoff were active in the artistic and cultural life of Albury, singing with the Albury Choral Society for a number of years.

Murray Conservatorium applied for funding from the Ruth Whyte Bequest to purchase the grand piano, a Kawai GX7, and decided to loan it to Mirambeena.

Murray Conservatorium CEO and Co-Chair of the Ruth Whyte Bequest Stephen O'Connell said that in accordance with the spirit of the bequest, the Murray Con would hold five concerts a year and weekly open rehearsals or workshops at Mirambeena Community Centre.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for emerging artists to rehearse new work in an open environment. It is also a wonderful opportunity for the public to watch rehearsal processes and to learn more about the work that goes into preparing quality music performances prior to the performance outcome," he said.

"The Murray Conservatorium delivers a number of music education and therapy programs ranging from early childhood music to special needs and services for the mature community.

"Placing the piano at Mirambeena provides an opportunity for the Murray Conservatorium to deliver accessible quality music education programs close to home for the Lavington community.

"Acquisition of a Kawai grand piano of this calibre provides an opportunity to attract worldclass pianists and other performers to the Albury-Wodonga Region. This has significant cultural, educational and tourism benefits for the region.

"Thanks to Touchstone Pianos, Mark Bolsius and Kawai."

AlburyCity Mayor Henk van de Ven thanked Murray Conservatorium and the Ruth Whyte Bequest.

"Mirambeena is an important community resource used by about 3000 people a month for everything from exercise classes to art and craft courses and meetings and this wonderful grand piano will be appreciated by the community," he said. "The piano will be used by the community for a range of non-profit events and is available for hire by amateur or professional musicians."