Our Open Houses begin again on September 21, 2014! Stop by for a guided tour of the Kempf House Museum between 1 pm and 4 pm. They are FREE! Donations appreciated.
The Belle of Amherst Coming Oct. 18th and 19th
We are thrilled that Nancy Heusel will reprise her memorable role as poet Emily Dickinson in the William Luce one-woman play, The Belle of Amherst, this time to raise funds for the restoration of our historic Steinway grand piano. Nancy first performed at Kempf House in 1997 to assist with modest piano repairs, then again in 2004 to help establish a KHM endowment fund with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. Now, technicians have advised that our 137 year old piano needs major restoration to the tune of at least $60,000, to correct “sticky” and silent keys, uneven treble tones, cracked soundboard, and more. The good news is that we are assured the piano can be restored to once again produce a beautiful sound, with playing a pleasant experience for the performer as well.
Our 1877 Steinway, the first grand piano in Ann Arbor, was used by musicians Reuben and Pauline Kempf for over 65 years to teach piano and voice lessons in their home. The U of M even borrowed it for early concerts in old University Hall before the U had its own grand! The Kempfs were very influential in early Ann Arbor cultural and musical circles. Both led church choirs, and Reuben helped plan the first May Festival, led the U of M Glee Club, and organized a town-gown Gesangverein (later known as the Lyra Male Chorus), which performed annually for 35 years. Reuben and Pauline also entertained visiting musical dignitaries such as composer Victor Herbert, concert pianist Ignace Paderewski, and contralto Mme. Ernestine Schumann-Heink. The piano remains in the Kempf House where it continues to be used for recitals, mini-concerts, and as accompaniment at special events.
This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to help preserve a beautiful part of Ann Arbor’s musical heritage. As seating is limited, we are sending advance play information to members, friends, and past supporters.
The Belle of Amherst (refreshments to follow), $60/person, please contact the
Noon Lectures start on October 1, 2014 for our Fall Season Wednesdays, Noon to 1:00 P.M. Admission $2.00 (members $1.00)
October 1 U of M Historic Steinway Piano Restorations Robert Grijalva, Director University of Michigan Piano Technology Dept.
Bob will describe some of the UM’s important Steinway restorations, including that of the recently acquired piano of composer George Gershwin.
October 8 Food Gatherers – A Special Community Service Chief Development Officer
Mary will outline her organization’s amazing food rescue program, which over 25 years has provided more than 60 million lbs. of food to local families.
October 15 The Wm. L. Clements Library: Its Collections and Current Renovation Ann Rock, Dir. Development
Ann will introduce the collections, how they are used and by whom, and give an update on the building’s exciting two year $16 million renovation.
October 22 The Historic Kempf House Garden Deborah Burling, Kempf House Museum Garden Dir.
Deborah will show photos from the garden’s early years to today, talk about the progress made so far on its rehabilitation, and point out some of its notable plants.
October 29 The German Influence in Early Ann Arbor Grace Shackman, Author, Historian
Through photos and stories, Grace will document the influence of the German immigrants who comprised at least half the city’s population from its early days up to the 20th century.
November 5 Washtenaw County’s Unique Land Preservation Programs Barry Lonik, Pres., Treemore Ecology & Land Services
A veteran land preservation activist,Barry will present the history and successes of efforts to protect the county’s natural and agricultural landscapes.
November 12 History of Arab Americans in Michigan Matthew Stiffler, Researcher, Arab American National Museum
Matt will offer a general picture of the national Arab American community
with a special emphasis on Michigan.
November 19 “Historic Ann Arbor: An Architectural Guide” Patrick McCauley & Susan Wineberg, Historians
Using fascinating new photos, the authors will review their recent book which covers the city’s early to mid-20th century modern architecture.