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  • Writer's pictureJulia Pinckney Jones

Our Newest Addition!

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

It's Here!

We've just returned from our vacation/piano retrieval trip, and here is our new main studio, complete with 1925 Heintzman (basically the Canadian version of Steinway) "Boudoir Grand" piano!

This piano was purchased new by my great grandparents, handed down to my grandmother, my mother, and now me! And, by extension, you!

The biggest challenge for getting this piano was the fact that at the beginning of the last century (and for some time after) all pianos were, by default, made with key toppers for the white keys actually made of elephant ivory. In 1976, an international agreement (CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna) was adopted to make importing or exporting elephant ivory illegal (for sound environmental and ethical reasons, of course, but it does present a challenge when trying to move a piano across international borders)!

There are some exemptions to the rule, specifically designed to allow musical instruments made with ivory to be imported and exported, but you still have to apply for them, with proof that your piano was produced before the ban went into effect.

We had to provide documentation to Environment Canada and the US Fish and Wildlife Service that our piano was, indeed, built prior to the Convention being ratified. Fortunately, Heintzman Pianos lists the manufacture dates of its "legacy" pianos by serial number. This is how we discovered that it was built in 1925, since of course no records of its purchase almost 100 years ago still exist! With that information, we were able to get a CITES "reexport" permit (since presumably the ivory was imported to Canada at some point, it was a "re-export").

Upon discovering that virtually no moving company would take on the potential liabilities of transporting an antique piano cross border and cross country, we decided to do it ourselves, flying to Edmonton, renting a Uhaul, and taking a week to drive it out to the border crossing in Vancouver (since that's where the appropriate officials are - and we also needed 2 more kinds of permits, even for that!) and then down to Tucson! It's a good thing we are good at filling out paperwork and that we

like road trips!

Anyway, the piano movers took it out of the truck yesterday and set it up in our downstairs studio... the shocking thing is that after almost 2 years in storage and then a cross country (cross 2 countries) drive in the back of a Uhaul, it actually still sounds kind of okay!

(Which is good, since the movers recommend we wait 3 weeks to a month to have it tuned and it was going to kill me to leave it alone all that time!)

We can't wait for you to play it!

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