Caryn Brooks

Galveston, TX | March 26, 2011 | Knabe

My father always wanted to get me a grand piano. It just didn't work out. Life changes, situations change, and it had always been a dream of mine to have a grand piano. You need to make your own dreams come true.

I had been looking for a piano for many years and had found this quirky, wonderful piano on eBay. You have a lot of choices when it comes to finding the right restoration place. After many phone calls with different places that I could tell weren't really as passionate and enthusiastic about this quirky, old piano as I was, I found Todd and Paul Lindeblad. And their just total embracing of the project was exactly what I was looking for.

Paul Lindeblad is the piano whisperer. He can take these old, wonderful pieces of wood and craftsmanship and absolutely get them back to life in such a magnificent way. It's just amazing what he's able to do.

When the piano first arrived in his shop it was not playable. Keys were missing, sound board was cracked, and he was able to take that, which many people would have thought should be destined for the scrap heap, and turn it into such an incredible thing of beauty. And every time I sit at it, every time I walk through the room or peek through the doorway and look at it-- as we say in Texas, like a goat looking at a new gate-- I'm sort of frozen there just admiring how beautiful it is. And then when I actually sit down to play it everything else just melts away for me.

These pianos, they have a sort of provenance. This particular one was played by a woman who played Carnegie Hall. And of course, in my vivid imagination-- hair swept with jewels and the cascading gowns of the day-- To me it's inspiring to have that sort of vision about what it may have been like throughout its life being played when I play it.

When I spoke with Paul he didn't act condescending toward me. He engaged me. He spoke to me about the wippens and the sound board, and educated me on the way that the piano mechanism worked, and what it needed, and why it needed it.

Several of the other potential restorers I had spoken with, they didn't want to get into a technical discussion with me about what they were going to do. And Paul wasn't like that. The communication is outstanding. You always know what stage your piano is in and what's going on with it at the present time.

To me, I wanted a piano that wasn't somber. And up to that point, I had had the impression that all these old pianos were a stuffy, somber, almost a sad tone to them. And when I discussed this with Paul and he asked me what I would like my piano to sound like, I told Paul, simply, it needs to be happy. And he did that.

He took this beautiful, old piano and he made it sound happy for me. And that, I think, is really where his artistry lies. And that, not only did he take it and restore it but he voiced it in a way that inspires me to play it, and suits my quirky sensibility.