Lifestyles: Boyer helped find the perfect grand piano for the Skipworth Center

Lifestyles: Boyer helped find the perfect grand piano for the Skipworth Center

Royce Boyer, a professional piano tuner, helped find a new grand piano for the Skipworth Performing Arts Center.

Royce Boyer was born in Indiana and remembers living in a nearby county named Kosciusko. During World War II, Boyer moved to several different states with his mother and ended up in Virginia where he attended high school.

Boyer’s father influenced him in the life of music, teaching and becoming a professional piano tuner. His father, who was a music teacher, sent Boyer to piano tuning school in Chicago after high school after mentioning his interest in becoming a music teacher.

“He sent me to piano tuning school in Chicago after high school, then I started a music conservatory in Indianapolis. I finished that degree and was drafted into the army” , recalls Boyer.

Boyer spent four years in the US Army choir in Washington. Boyer said he was lucky enough to serve in the military, where he continued his education and earned his master’s degree.

He went to the University of Texas and spent five years there before earning his doctorate in music.

After college, Boyer had the opportunity to move to Huntsville, Alabama to start a music program at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. At this time, Boyer did not tune many pianos and spent his time teaching and conducting a church choir.

He taught at the University of Alabama for 32 years before moving in the mid-1990s to the Jackson area to teach at Millsaps College. Boyer went back to piano tuning and met Mrs. Carolyn Ritter of Kosciusko.

“Carolyn was a friend of my wife and I,” Boyer said. “She had a piano that needed some work, and some keys were sticky.”

He once got a call from Ritter about the Skipworth Performing Arts Center.

“Carolyn called me and told me about the school auditorium renovations and their hopes of turning it into a cultural center and their need for a piano for the stage,” he said. declared.

At the time, Boyer had never seen the auditorium but agreed to help find a piano. From experience, he thought a six-foot grand piano would be perfect for the auditorium.

“Before I started looking, I stopped there to see the auditorium and was surprised how big it was, and it had a pit for an orchestra and a professional-sized stage,” said Boyer said. “When I saw its size, I said, ‘Well, the piano I was thinking of isn’t big enough for this room.'”

Boyer decided that the auditorium would need a 7-7 ½ foot piano. His first thought was to look for one under the Yamaha brand.

He first found two pianos but was unlucky. Unlucky with his first two pianos, Boyer went to the Yamaha store in Huntsville, Alabama, where he befriended a former student who was the piano manager. Low and be, Boyer has found the perfect piano for the Skipworth Center.

“It was a used piano that had only one previous owner and was from Decatur, Alabama,” he said.

Prior to moving the piano from Alabama to Kosciusko, a custom cover was made to ensure the piano was in perfect condition for its new home on the Skipworth Stage. Boyer mentioned that he got the piano at a bargain price. Boyer recently visited Kosciusko to tune the piano before Joe M. Turner came to town in May.

Boyer said the Kosciusko Foundation for Educational Excellence is doing great work in Kosciusko, and he thinks the new piano in the new auditorium will bring many performances to the area.

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