A Pianist in the Making – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

A 9-year-old boy from Medford has a new piano thanks to generosity and good timing

Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Jackson Ghena, 8, from Medford, practices the piano at home on Wednesday.

MEDFORD — A nearly century-old grand piano was spared dismantling, or worse, last month when a boy with an impressive talent for tickling ivories enthusiastically agreed to provide the little piano with his forever home.

Jackson Ghena, who turns 9 in June, happily played the little piano in the comfort of his living room in Medford, almost in tune with the joyous chaos of siblings and cousins ​​around him one recent afternoon.

Smiling from ear to ear while showing off his skills, Jackson and the 1929 Laffargue piano were an ideal match.

The young musician was playing a cheap old piano, but a series of fortunate circumstances put him in possession of the photogenic Laffargue, which he hopes to one day take with him when he leaves the house of his mother and his son. dad.

TJ Elton, manager of the Artistic Piano and Music Gallery store in Medford, facilitated the Laffargue’s move. Elton said the store takes an unfortunate number of pianos – cheaper and older models – to landfill every year.

“We probably take at least 50 pianos a year to the dump and watch the bulldozers smash them,” he said.

“There are a lot of crappy pianos, like the ones you get for free on Craigslist. They were cheaper. No one will take them, even for free.

The big baby, however, was different.

The small piano, built by the Laffargue Piano Factory on 134th Street in New York in the late 1920s, is a beautiful instrument. Laffargue Piano Company built pianos, from upright pianos to full-size grand pianos, between 1896 and 1932, until the company was acquired by the Aeolian-American Corporation. The Laffargue name was dropped during the Great Depression.

Eric Werner, owner of Artistic Piano, found himself with the small piano half a dozen years ago, taken from the trade. When the store moved in 2021 to its new home on West Main Street, space became an issue.

“It’s not that it’s not a good little piano. This is a very desirable piano. We had it priced around $3,000, but it sat down. We eventually brought it down to $999, and we were eventually going to take it apart and remove the harp and strings and make a book shelf out of the case,” Elton said.

“When you spend that much money on a piano, you can get an even nicer one, and it’s right next door.”

Faced with the relegation of the piano to recycling or a trip to the landfill, Elton reached out to Jackson’s mother.

Pay the delivery charges, he says, and the piano goes home with the boy.

“She’s a local adoptive mother and she walks into the store draped in children. They are a wonderful family and the children are all great. Jackson comes out of his piano lesson and runs into our bathroom and puts on his Little League uniform and heads to his baseball team,” Elton said.

“One of the kids is running across the country and the other is wearing a karate uniform when he arrives. This woman is an angel on Earth, so we felt like she was a deserving family.”

Jackson’s mother, Leah Ghena, said she was thrilled to be given the big baby. A pianist herself, she learned on a grand piano as a child. Before getting the Laffargue, the family had “just an old, kinda shitty standing”.

“It worked well, but I grew up with a big baby, so it was definitely on my wish list. I didn’t want to spend money on that stuff until the kids were older, but it was impossible to pass up,” she said.

“I know there are definitely advantages to the new electric models and such, but I think it’s really fun to have this instead of something newer. I like that it has the keys of ebony and ivory. Good to think of all the people who played it.

Jackson’s teacher Margie Daly said she was thrilled to see her young protege end up with a beautiful piano. Jackson, she noted, brings an extra level of fun to her soon-to-retire teacher, even making up “raps” using the musical terminology.

“I can’t think of a better person to get it. He is very motivated, likes to practice and discover new things. This piano gives him a lot more possibilities,” Daly said, noting that Jackson recently mastered his next level of skill after participating in a statewide process through the Oregon Music Teachers Association.

“He has twin siblings, and one is a girl. He’ll play something a little jazzy and she’ll start dancing. The whole house is quite lively. I’m so glad this family has this piano.

She added, “Jackson is one hell of an athlete, but he’s a wonderful little musician. There was a conflict once with a baseball game at the same time he had a recital…and he chose the recital.

Busily playing his favorite songs, Jackson stopped and smiled at his mother. When asked how he ended up with his own grand piano, he simply shrugged.

“My mother had one, so now I have one because they are very good pianos,” he said.

“I don’t know its history or where it comes from, but it’s really old and it’s fun to play. I want to take it with me when I grow up, so my kids can play too.

Contact freelance writer Buffy Pollock at [email protected]

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