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Filed at 02:40 PMMore than 60 pianos were damaged Saturday night in the first floor practice rooms in the Whalen School of Music, according to Dave Maley, associate director of media relations.
Maley said officers were notified about the vandalism around 9 a.m. Sunday and responded immediately.
Sophomore Andrew Thomson, a composition and instrumental major, said he went into the first floor of the Whalen Center to retrieve some equipment and found damaged equipment in all of the practice rooms.
“Two or three [pianos] were flipped completely over,” he said. “Most were up against the doors somehow.”
Thomson said the front sound panels and music racks were pulled off and most of the baby grand pianos were damaged.
Thomson said the damage comes before finals and juries — final playing exams — which start today.
“It’s perfect timing,” Thomson said. “It’s wreaking havoc.”
The New York State Police were also called to assist in the crime scene investigation.
Maley said the extent of damage varies from piano to piano. He said assessments are still taking place but there is “significant dollar damage.”
Donald McKechnie, piano technician, said at this point most of the pianos have been restored to working order, but some had extensive damage and had to be taken out of commission.
“It’s very difficult to say how much it will cost to fix them,” he said. “What I can tell you is that the damage is not in the hundreds of thousands of dollars like we had originally assumed.”
McKechnie said it will only be him and his part time assistant working on the pianos until money comes in to speed up the process, if it comes in at all.
As far as finals are concerned, McKechnie said most of the practice rooms are open and available to students.
Vanessa Calaban, junior music major, organized a candlelight vigil in light of the vandalism.
The vigil was held last night by the clock in the academic quad in support of the music school. Students were asked to bring their own candles.
“The amount of support that I have seen for the students, faculty and staff of the Whalen school has been simply amazing,” Calaban said. “It’s really nice to know that we have a supportive community not only within the music school but also within the greater IC community.”
Calaban said she has been in contact with several alumni music majors and said they are deeply concerned about the welfare of the music students and faculty.
“I think this incident made a lot of people realize how truly lucky we all are to be able to have such a great facility and what a horrible tragedy it would have been if we had lost it,” she said.
Calaban said many students are very angry about the incident, but need to remember that since most of the pianos are restored to working order, it could have been a lot worse.
“A lot of students are very angry right now but it is extremely important for us to remember that we are actually quite lucky that there wasn’t more damage than we originally thought,” Calaban said.
Thomson said the incident upset him.
“You talk to any music major about this and we all feel like there has been some horrific murder here,” Thomson said. “We are all waiting for information for now.”
If anyone has any information about the vandalism, contact Public Safety at 274-3333.
Check back for more information.
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