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The Schoonmaker Family Piano!

Brigham Larson Pianos

Hi, I’m Robbie Schoonmaker. My father is Bob Schoonmaker, and his parents were Jack and Ann Schoonmaker (Apple Jack and Apple Ann), who bought this family piano around 1952. The piano has a long history as an integral part of the family gathering place at the family orchard in North Logan, Utah. I took lessons as a child and love to play and hear the piano. Even though my skill isn’t nearly at the same level as some of my family, playing has been a balm for me during difficult times in life, and a source of joy. Early in my marriage we purchased a rebuilt 1930 Steinway M as a legacy piano that resonated with our souls. After our divorce, my kids’ mom has kept that piano, and while I purchased another piano it was not the family legacy piano I’ve wanted. My aunt recently gave me the old family piano to take care of and pass down for more generations. I have 8 children, some of whom play, including my son Gabe (generation 4) who is shown in the video. A rebuild is needed to leave this piano in solid condition for generations in the future.
Please watch the video for more information! The piano was built in 1911 or 1912, the same time my grandfather was born (1911). My grandparents lived in Amherst MA, but they moved to Logan UT in 1952 after joining the Mormon Church. They left their old family piano in MA but purchased this one soon after arriving in Logan. They first lived in a farmhouse at the current site of Old Farm Apartments in Logan (photo included of the piano in that home in 1953 with the logo visible prior to a refinish). When my grandparents purchased 11 acres in North Logan and built a home and orchard in the early 1960s, the piano found its home in the living room for the next 60 years. My family has always been very involved in music, as explained by my aunt Ann and father Bob in the video, and the piano was the source of a lot of family gatherings and impromptu concerts for the neighborhood. They would open the living room windows and the neighbors would sit out on the front lawn of the orchard house! My aunt Debbie was friends with Michael Ballam as a child, and the two of them spent many hours at the piano with Debbie accompanying and Michael singing in preparation for his career. Debbie later sang in the Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Craig Jessop, another childhood friend of hers. Ann sang a summer in Michael Ballam’s Logan Festival Opera. I’ve included a video of Debbie playing and Ann with her late husband Alan dancing at the family party during my grandmother’s funeral in the late 1980s, an example of how it was used as part of the family life. I am one of the kids in the background! My uncle John took over the family orchard (which is still in operation) and home and piano as my grandparents aged and passed. John passed a few years ago. After he passed, his wife Nadine learned to play on this piano at age 80. Nadine wanted to pass the piano along to another Schoonmaker who would care for it and use it as it has been for the past 70+ years. This piano is the kind of gift that comes with a responsibility and I’m grateful to have the chance to keep it in good care and use, and pass it down for generations to come. It is currently in my home in Pocatello ID. The case was refinished many decades ago and is in relatively good condition, but it has some dings and could use a cleanup. The bench was cross-stitched by my Aunt Debbie in the mid or late 1960s and could use some preservation. All of the interior is original parts and while it sounds really good for a piano of its age due to the care given to it, it could really use your help!

  • YEAR 1910-1920
  • MAKE Family of 10 Wants To Restore Apple Jack & Apple Ann's Beloved Family Heirloom Piano for Generations to Come!
  • FINISH Mahogany
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