"Before you had a very short time to practice and get it right,"
said Eileen Santos, 16, who is accompanied by a pianist as she plays
the flute. "There are a lot of people that have to practice with a
piano accompanist, and you have to take turns, but when there are
three, you can all work at the same time, in less time, instead of
But some of the pianos were beyond fixer-uppers, said Mary Rago,
choir director for John Burroughs High School. One of the four pianos
delivered to her classroom had no legs, and others were very badly
out of tune.
One of the pianos at Burbank High School is mildly temperamental
and risks going out of tune if moved, Immel said.
But even if the piano grants did not turn out as everyone
expected, intentions were good, music instructors and Los Angeles
County Arts Commission employees agreed.
"The commission would never have donated a defective piano if it
knew it was defective," Bradley said. "It's a thoroughly correctable
For now, correcting the situation means getting rid of one of the
pianos at Burroughs.
The commission will pick up one faulty piano given to John
Burroughs High School but might not be able to replace it, because
the 28 pianos originally offered to local school districts have been
liquidated, Bradley said.
The commission's goals are long-term, and the pianos were meant to
be a helpful bonus. The delicacy remains in considering the
unintended consequences of a donation, she said.
"The intentions could not have been more solid and, forgive the
pun, sound," Bradley said. "But we will take a look at the
ramifications, to not make more of a burden than a gift."
* ROSETTE GONZALES covers education. She may be reached at
(818) 637-3205 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.