My intention for this post started out as a simple update. I wanted to let you know that while 60+ pianos were damaged in some way, the majority of the damage fortunately turned out to be minor. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see my post from yesterday “Senseless Vandalism.” But I feel like this incident has affected me deeply enough that I need to respond more fully. First the update:
In a story posted today on the website of The Ithacan, the Ithaca College student newspaper, Don McKechnie the piano technician at Ithaca College said, “It’s very difficult to say how much it will cost to fix them. What I can tell you is that the damage is not in the hundreds of thousands of dollars like we had originally assumed.”
While I was a student, I was fortunate enough to take Don’s piano technology class, so I feel like I know him pretty well. This is something that I don’t think Don would mince words about, so we can take it as solidly good news. The funny thing is, at least for me, the amount of damage in a monetary sense is actually not that important.
In a post on his blog (which has become one of the major sources for information on this incident,) Zach Ford said that he considers this incident a hate crime. When I read that it really rang true for me. I guess I’m not sure who was being hated or why, but this feels so clearly like an act of hate. I find this both as intolerable and as incomprehensible as any hate crime that I’ve heard of.
Even though I haven’t been back to Ithaca in 10 years, and compared to many of my friends, I spent very little time and practice rooms while I was there, I can’t help but take this personally. I feel personally attacked. I feel like this is a direct attack on the spirit of music, that spark that drives all musicians at their very best.
To me, instruments are sacred. They all are almost magical objects which allow us to express things which cannot be expressed in any other way. To attack instruments in this way, in that most holy of musical spaces — the practice room is inexcusable. While I certainly hope that whoever did this is brought to justice through the courts, I hope more than that, they begin to truly understand how much pain they have caused so many people. Why would anyone do this? In one sense, I could speculate. In another sense, I can’t even begin to imagine.