Dr. Bethel Balge

Balge spearheads a 'key' acquisition plan for BLC

In a prominent location at the front of Trinity Chapel is a magnificent instrument. The instrument is a Steinway concert grand piano. Bethany Lutheran College is fortunate that, through donations from a variety of friends of the College, the Steinway found its way to the campus after serving as the principal performance piano at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado. 

Dr. Bethel Balge (Music and Piano Instruction) helped Bethany locate the piano. Balge earned a doctorate of musical arts in 2014 from the University of Minnesota and has performed throughout the world in Russia, Portugal, and Germany, and, most recently as soloist with the Mankato Symphony on February 19, 2017, at the Verizon Hall in Mankato for the Mankato Symphony’s Symphonic Series. She’s also appeared on National Public Radio for Bach’s Birthday Bash, and frequently performs with the newly formed Bekesh Trio. 

While the Chapel Steinway has been a tremendous addition to the piano program at Bethany, the College hopes to enhance the program with additional new Steinways in the near future eventually realizing the goal of becoming an all-Steinway campus. 

Bethany’s current collection of eighteen pianos is showing its age. Since pianos are foundational tools for study in all areas of music, this really affects all students, not just those in piano performance. Pianos are used for classroom instruction in music theory, ear training, music history, music literature, and performance classes. Every music student practices on pianos every day.

In order to begin the dialogue about replacing older pianos, Balge recently toured the Steinway factory in New York City and attended a conference aptly named, “Keys for Finding Funds.” 

“After touring the factory, I realized that the reason I as a performer and teacher gravitate towards Steinway is no accident. Steinways last on average 10-15 years longer than other pianos. Studies show that with careful maintenance (temperature control and timely repairs) they can last even longer.”

All told fifteen pianos on the campus are currently in need of replacement with the average age of the heavily used pianos at nearly 25 years. Bethany alumni and friends are a “key component” to this ambitious plan. Alumni and friends who are interested in helping the College secure new pianos are encouraged to contact the Advancement Office.