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A new home for piano

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 08/05) - If Eric and Eva Henderson's piano could talk, it would have many happy memories and melodies to share.

"It would say, 'Not him again!,'" said Eric.

Eric and Eva Henderson sing a rendition of Sweet By and By on the piano they have owned for 50 years, but are now selling. - Dorothy Westerman/NNSL photo

Instead, it's the piano owners who shared the happy times they have spent gathered around their piano for a half century.

"When the (five) children were little, we used to sing around the piano and we've had lots of house parties," Eva said. "Eric doesn't like entertaining as such, but having a singsong is different." The Mason and Risch upright piano was built in 1903, and bought in 1955 by the Hendersons.

The piano followed them to Saskatoon, and then by train to Churchill, Manitoba where it was the centrepiece for many long hours of enjoyment.

It boarded a DC-3 from Churchill to Fort Smith and then to moved Yellowknife in 1976.

"We had it on the 12th floor of Fraser Tower and we got it stuck in the elevator," Eric said.

Eric and Eva, who operate a bed and breakfast here in Yellowknife have now decided to sell the piano. "We've had a lot of pleasure from it, but we don't really sing that much now," Eva said. "We thought maybe someone else would find pleasure in having it," she said. They remembered a couple from Mexico who had an extended stay at their bed and breakfast.

"He was a concert violinist and she was an opera singer. They liked to perform around it," Eva said.

Eric describes the sound of the piano as "strident", but for the last number of years, it has often sat silent. But will they be sad to see it leave after 50 years? "I think if we were sad to see it leave, we wouldn't sell it," Eric said, laughing.