Detail of Brenau's new Steinway

Grand Plan

Leaptrott and Dempsey with Steinway piano
Executive Vice President Wayne Dempsey, center right, and Music Professor Ben Leaptrott compare impromptu “thumbs’ up” reviews of the concert grand piano.

A year ago on these pages we announced Brenau’s grand plan to raise $1.5 million to replace worn-out, unserviceable pianos on campus. Today we can say that the fundraising continues, but that the first piano, Number 481, a handmade Steinway & Son’s Model D Concert Grand, arrived on campus Dec. 4 and now resides in Pearce Auditorium. President Ed Schrader announced the instrument’s imminent arrival at a surprise ceremony during the fall trustees’ dinner when he revealed that it would be named for former Executive Vice President Wayne Dempsey, who retired at the end of 2012.

The 1878 Council, Brenau’s advisory board, took on the All-Steinway initiative as its own and joined Alpha Chi Omega in the effort to raise money for the Pearce piano as the opening note of the campaign. That effort is still ongoing, but Steinway and the university made a deal to get the piano delivered early.

Schrader presents Wayne Dempsey with the ‘Dempsey Steinway’ certificate
President Schrader presents retiring Executive Vice President Wayne Dempsey with the ‘Dempsey Steinway’ certificate.

After presenting Dempsey with a certificate and a plaque commemorating “The Dempsey Steinway,” Schrader said he could think of no more fitting honor for Dempsey’s service to Brenau. In his career Dempsey taught sciences and managed finances and business operations. But with his strong, clear polished singing voice and talent with orchestral instruments, he’s always been a front-and-center fixture around any kind of music at Brenau and his church. When the idea for the expensive All-Steinway program emerged, the money-conscious Dempsey was one of the first to embrace it.

“The All-Steinway project is an important statement about the quality of the music programs
at Brenau,” Schrader says. “Wayne knows that better than anyone.”

To contribute to the Dempsey Steinway and the All-Steinway project go to and make your donation to the All-Steinway project.

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