And now for the story behind the story (or as Paul Harvery used to say "And now for the rest of the story").
It all began at the NAMM show in Anaheim (Jan. 2011). I was making my usual rounds saying hello to friends old and new, and playing pianos whenever I got the chance.
We (Kathy and I) had stopped by the Estonia Piano booth, which as everyone who attends NAMM knows not only contains lovely pianos, but also the most comfortable chairs in the show:-)
I sat down and played one of the Estonia pianos for a while. When I stopped Indrek (Dr. Indrek Laul, owner of Estonia Piano company) came by to chat. He complimented me on my playing, I mentioned that it was somewhat of a challenge for me to play a real grand as I only have a digital piano at home.
He couldn't believe "Mr. PianoWorld" didn't have a real (acoustic) piano at home. He said that just didn't seem right, I agreed. We talked more about it and how we might fix the problem. Bottom line, we came to an agreement that worked for both of us, and meant I'd finally get to have a real piano in my home.
Here we are enjoying the Estonia Booth comfortable chairs...
On top of that, Indrek knew we were planning a European Piano Tour
with a group of forums members for June 2011, so he invited us to visit the Estonia piano factory in Tallinn before starting our tour.
Kathy and I accepted, and my sister and her husband agreed to meet us over there (they were joining us on the tour as well).
And so the adventure begins.
On May 31 Kathy and I boarded a plane in Miami, 22 hours 3 plane changes, and 4 airports later we landed in Tallinn, Estonia. My sister Barbara and her husband Larry left a day earlier because they fly standby, and beat us to the hotel in Estonia (but not by much).
Indrek picked Kathy and I up at the airport and took us to our hotel, pointing out some of the sights as we drove.
Thursday June 2 we made our first visit to the Estonia Piano Factory where they had 3 pianos all ready for me to try.
Arriving at the Estonia Piano Factory (that's Indrek's Dad Venno waving. Venno by the way is a famous choir conductor and instrumental in getting a beautiful music school constructed in Tallinn)
Chatting with Venno Laul (Indrek's dad who overseas factory operations).
Indek Laul telling me I have 3 pianos to choose from, and that they are going to leave me alone to make my choice.
The View Outside the Estonia Factory Window...
Me trying out the pianos...
The three pianos...
Frank & Kathy with the Chosen Piano
Indrek, Frank, Venno (Indrek's dad), and the head of Production...
Kathy, Frank, Barbara (Frank's sister), Larry (Frank's brother-in-law)
Indrek & Frank with chosen piano