do a Steinway grand piano and an old home in Dunedin, New Zealand have to do
and I spent a day in Dunedin at the end of February and had a lovely time
visiting the Albatross Colony, driving around the Otago Peninsula and visiting
Larnach Castle. A friend had suggested we visit Olveston which is an old home
that was bequeathed to the City of Dunedin in the 1960’s on the condition that
it was preserved as it was with its contents. We had a spare hour before
heading to the airport so decided to go and find the house.
was perfect timing as a tour had just started and we slipped into the dining room
with the rest of the group. It was a large two storey home and fascinating to
see the old appliances and furnishings. All went well until we entered the
drawing room and the tour guide pointed out the full size Steinway grand piano
near the window. Then she turned to the group and asked, “Does anyone here play
suddenly found the pattern on the carpet very interesting. I’m just a little church pianist … I can’t play a Steinway grand piano …
I wouldn’t know what to play …
I heard Kevin’s voice from the other side of the room. “She does!”
wanted to wring his neck as all eyes turned in my direction. “Please will you
play for us?” the tour guide asked.
made my way under the rope barrier and sat down at the piano. What could I
possibly play for this diverse bunch of people? What would they be familiar with? Then it came
to me - Amazing Grace. Breathing a prayer for help, I
placed my hands on the keys and began to play. The notes were pure and clear
and by the time I’d finished, I could feel God’s presence all around me. It was
a holy moment.
the tour group seemed to feel it too. Instead of a polite thank you, there was
a collective sigh and then people started thanking me, saying it was beautiful
and had touched them. I realised then how small-minded I’d been. “I’m sorry
God,” I prayed silently as we moved through the rest of the house. “I’m sorry
for not seizing opportunities, for doubting my ability, for being unwilling to
use the gift you’ve given me to bless others.”
brief concert turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me – and a
powerful lesson in always being prepared, always ready to take the
opportunities God places before me. I hope I will never be seen as a reluctant pianist again.