A great ride!
The year was 1989, and it was a beautiful Spring day in Wichita, KS, where I was attending an MTNA national convention. On that particular day, I was especially looking forward to a luncheon engagement with Richard Chronister. (Dick's and my friendship dated back to the 50's when we were both piano majors at the University of Tulsa, and we usually always managed to squeeze in some sort of a "mini-reunion" during every event at which we were both present.)
On this day in Wichita, we went to an Italian restaurant and amidst the consumption of mounds of spaghetti and meatballs, Richard shared with me his plan to publish a national magazine designed specifically for piano teachers who worked primarily with pre-college level students. He wanted to know what I thought of the idea and of course, I was ecstatic over the prospects! He also wanted to know if I would be willing to head up one of the magazine's regular departments and if so, what topic I would most like to deal with. Without even giving it a thought I said "Yes!" and I designated "Home Practice" as my topic of choice.
A year later in the Spring of 1990, the inaugural issue of Keyboard Companion appeared on the scene, and for the next nine years, the magazine continued to prosper under Richard's superb editorship. His untimely death in December of 1999 both stunned and saddened all who knew him. Not only was this a personal loss to many of us, but also an immeasurable loss to the world of piano pedagogy. As reality began to set in, one of the issues of serious concern to many of us was what was to become of Keyboard Companion (KBC).
Ever since the founding of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy in January of 1999, Richard had conceived of the magazine's becoming a part of it. Unfortunately, this did not happen during his lifetime, but in the Spring of 2000, Louise Goss (Chair of the Center) approached me about this possibility, as well as about my willingness to assume the role of the magazine's Editor-in-Chief should this merger occur. I agreed -- in spite of the fact that I had had no previous experience with editorship on such a large scale, and that I didn't even own a computer. (Believe it or not, at that time, I actually did not know what E-mail was!) Be that as it may, shortly after our meeting, Louise approached Richard's wife, Marjore, with a proposal which culminated in the Center's acquisition of KBC in 2000.
For the first three years of my tenure, our primary goal was to assure our subscribers that the magazine would remain basically the same as it had been under Richard's editorship, continuing on with its original purpose in tact - namely, to provide for its readers, a magazine that is "relevant in the most practical way to the needs of those involved with piano study at the early levels." In the spring of 2003 we sponsored our first Readership Survey, and based on a gratifying number of responses, it appeared that we had indeed been successful in accomplishing our initial goal.
And now for
some parting thoughts
I think that periodic change can often be very beneficial, and apropos of this, I want to welcome Peter Jutras who has been selected to succeed me as the magazine's new Editor-in-Chief. I am confident that Pete's background and experience, as well as his ideas and imagination will bring a fresh perspective to KBC and I wish him every success as he now assumes his very challenging but greatly rewarding responsibilities.
As I step down, I want to both thank and praise all of the Associate Editors with whom I have had the privilege of working. Without a doubt, these individuals have been largely responsible for the magazine's success, and my gratitude and appreciation for what they have accomplished is boundless.
I also want to thank Bruce Berr for his exceptional work as KBC's Website Designer and Editor. Thanks, too, to Norman Vesprini, Carmela Casipit, and Maggie Zullinger for their dedication and tireless efforts in behalf of the magazine's growth in advertising and circulation.
Many thanks as well to our printer, American Web, and also to all of the advertisers who have supported us (and without whom the magazine could not continue to exist). In addition, I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Scott Lewis (layout/design) who has really been my right arm during these past six years. I shall be ever appreciative of his artistry, imagination, expertise, and - patience. What a joy it has been to work with him!
Last but certainly by no means least, I want to thank you, our readers, for your continuing support of KBC and for your ongoing input which has provided us with many useful ideas as well as much good food for thought. We're counting on you for more of the same in the years to come!
A final postscript
I am also proud of both the present look and content of the magazine, and I believe that were he here, Richard would be extremely pleased with the results of our efforts. Most importantly, I think that we have truly accomplished our goal -- to nurture the life of a magazine that is "relevant in the most practical way to the needs of those involved" with piano study. More I could not ask. My ongoing wish for Keyboard Companion is that it will continue to prosper and enjoy a long and successful life!
From that spaghetti and meatballs lunch with Dick in1989 until now, these past sixteen years of association with Keyboard Companion have been wonderful.
It's truly been a great
About Our Cover Art
Thank you to Ann Schein and Jerry Wong for providing us with the photos that appear both on the cover of this issue as well as within the REPERTOIRE AND PERFORMANCE article in the print magazine.
To see larger images of our current and past cover art, please visit our Art Gallery.
Table of Contents of the Current Print Issue
Winter 2006, Volume 17, Number 4