Thoughts from a volunteer pianist at Polesden Lacey

A pianists sits at a piano, looking at sheet music

This week on the house team blog, volunteer pianist Dinah explains why she loves playing the Steinway in the gold room.

Being a pianist at Polesden Lacey is rather like being at a party. 

Live piano music wafts around the house as people come and go, some stopping to listen, some stopping for a chat, or sometimes playing themselves if they feel the urge.  Others seem to glide by in an almost trance like way as they admire the opulence of the gold room, with music adding that extra magical quality to their experience.  

The beautiful Steinway piano in the Gold Room at Polesden Lacey
A view of the Gold Room at Polesden Lacey with the piano in the foreground

There is a merry team of us pianists and we are fortunate to be playing on a 1904 Steinway Grand, generously donated to the National Trust by a volunteer in 2004.  We choose the music with the house team, and play a variety of styles, from Bach to ragtime, and from Debussy to 'Teddy Bears’ Picnic', plus additional repertoire that keeps us in line with the current in house themes. 

When I’m feeling nostalgic, however, I play a song called ‘Forgotten Dreams’ by Leroy Anderson. It was written in 1954, so a little after Mrs Greville’s time, but it takes me back to my childhood with great fondness and is always greeted with warmth by visitors, so I hope I am forgiven for this indulgence. 

Dinah entertains visitors as they enjoy the opulent Gold Room
A pianist plays the piano in the gold room at Polesden Lacey

For my part, I am doing what I enjoy the most, and I know that the music we play gives much pleasure to the visitors.  

Music is both a passion and luckily for me also my job. I have been teaching piano for around 35 years – I currently teach piano, theory and aural groups, and I also give lectures at the Guildford Institute.

From the numerous thanks we receive, it is clear that it was a brilliant idea of the Trust to have real live pianists playing real live music, and I enjoy being a part of Polesden’s musical heritage. 

Mrs Greville speaks with some guests with a Facebook logo in the corner of the picture

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