one of six new boston up-118s uprights gets a test in the practice room.
garden spot high school is the only senior high school in the eastern - richard fitz lancaster county school district, and is attached to the garden spot middle school. the school resulted from a merger of six schools starting in 1947.
new holland, pa – Richard Fitz could not believe the email from the Eastern Lancaster County School District, so he asked a colleague to confirm it. Garden Spot High School, his alma mater where he serves as humanities department facilitator, was getting nothing less than a Steinway grand! It would replace an aging instrument that despite valiant efforts by the school’s piano technician was beyond repair.
With approval in hand, Fitz contacted Jim Strite and Bob Rinaldi at Jacobs Music Company. It was not long before Garden Spot took delivery of a beautiful new sevenfoot Model B. A graduate of All-Steinway West Chester University with a bachelor’s degree in music education, Fitz has experience with many brands but remains steadfast in his love of Steinway.
Garden Spot is situated in a U-shaped building that houses the high school and middle school. Both music programs received material upgrades and when administrators asked music teachers for a “wish list” of new instruments, he set sights on studio pianos. In May 2018, the school welcomed a new fleet of six Steinwaydesigned Boston uprights. “The way the Boston feels it feels and that full rich tone – it’s like being wrapped in a warm blanket,” he says. Five UP-118S uprights found homes in the practice rooms while the UP-126E anchors the auditorium’s pit orchestra. “The UP-126E gives a little fuller, richer sound and really sounds incredible in the pit.”
Fitz is known as the “piano policeman” but rarely has to enforce any rules in respect to the instruments. “Some kids don’t have quality pianos at home so they stay after school just so they can play them.” After a year of daily use, the school’s tuner remains impressed: “He said they are holding up phenomenally well.”
About 15 percent of 1,100 high school and 18 percent of 500 middle schoolers participate in the music program. Garden Spot musicians and vocalists have garnered many top honors at district, regional and state chorus and jazz festivals.
“We can’t thank our school and district officials enough for their generous financial support. Our students are really excited to see new instruments, and their enthusiasm becomes infectious so that even more students want to participate,” Fitz says.
Citing studies that music produces high achievers, he notes that the program has produced several valedictorians and salutatorians. Many take it to the next level, either majoring or minoring in music at college.
Fitz studied chemical engineering at the Pennsylvania State University then transferred to West Chester to pursue a dual major in piano and percussion. He spent a few years with the prestigious U.S. Air Force Band before finding his way back home to Garden Spot.
He has no regrets about pursuing his ultimate passion.
“I’m still a band nerd,” Fitz adm
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