By Daria Celeste Landress
Chair, Friendly Valley Entertainment & Events Committee
A seed was sewn into the heart of a woman whose life purpose has been to create beautiful music for the world to hear and feel. In 2022, Friendly Valley resident and concert pianist, Jan Sanborn, asked the board members of the Friendly Valley Recreational Association to consider purchasing a quality piano that would support musical events for the community.
Being faced with many expensive repair and restoration projects in the tired infrastructure of a 60-year-old community, the board had to decline the request for the piano upgrade.
Disappointed, but not discouraged, Sanborn did not let her dream of a new piano fade. Instead, she fanned the smoldering fire of her disappointment and went to work. In January, she brought together a small group of like-minded residents, and with the blessing of the FVRA, the Friendly Valley Friends of Music Piano Fundraising Committee was created.
The group’s mission was to raise the required money to purchase a new (to Friendly Valley) grand piano. The committee of nine FV residents immediately went to work organizing musical events to raise money. Donation by donation, and raffle ticket by raffle ticket, the quest continued.
By the end of February, the project had already benefited from the kind financial support of several private donors from Friendly Valley as well as from the greater Santa Clarita community. Soon after, the FVRA Entertainment and Events Committee envisioned a way to push the initial fundraiser over the top: The FV Men’s Golf Club tournament director was approached to ask for his help in hosting a special FV golf tournament to benefit the piano initiative. The answer was an excited “Yes!” and the FV Women’s Golf Club was also asked to collaborate on the effort.
By the end of April, the FV Friends of Music had raised enough money to begin the process of shopping for a suitable piano. Within a few days, a used Yamaha C3 grand piano that was within budget was located – at the Piano Kitchen in Santa Barbara. Some call it chance, luck, or perhaps Divine intervention, but whatever the case, it was meant to be, and the beautiful piano in pristine condition now sits elegantly in the Fireside Room of the Friendly Valley Auditorium.
The funds raised by the benefit golf tournament will be used to purchase necessary items such as a spider dolly and a high-grade piano cover. The highly anticipated tournament will also help to raise funds for other required expenses such as moving fees, a locking mechanism, and the eventual tuning and revoicing of the piano.
The FV Men’s and Women’s Golf Clubs and the FVRA Entertainment & Events Committee are pleased to announce the benefit golf tournament taking place on Saturday, June 10, at the FV Executive Golf Course. We are grateful to the many local business owners who have sponsored the tournament with financial donations as well as merchandise. Thanks to them, our financial goals will be successfully met.
This piano has become the nucleus of an enriching grassroots community fundraising effort, and many people, both inside and outside our gates, have been inspired and touched by the perseverance and determination of a woman whose dream did not fade and whose faith did not waiver. As a community, we have tended to the seed that was planted over a year ago, and we have nurtured and watched it blossom into the reality of a beautiful instrument that will serve Friendly Valley for many years to come. What a truly magical experience. Thank you to everyone who was involved.
So, what happened to the old piano? It was advertised for free to anyone who could pick it up. Last Friday, a local musician named Lee Lowe picked up the piano and kindly delivered it to a local family in Canyon Country. It just so happens that Lowe knew of a family whose mother had dreamed for her children to have the experience of learning music and playing instruments, so she made room in her home for the piano that had served us well. Lee will be giving piano lessons to the children.
The FV Friends of Music and the FVRA Entertainment & Events Committee plan to present a piano gala for Friendly Valley in October. Stay tuned for information regarding this event as well as other high-quality performances to come.
All stories have a beginning … and this is ours, and it seems to have been written in the stars. May the rest of the story unfold as sweetly as it started.
Friendly Valley is a 55-and-older residential community that is comprised of 1,290 individual households. It is a nonprofit senior community that relies on the cooperation of active social groups and club members to sponsor events and activities for FV Village residents.