OKLAHOMA—Piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons has recognized Herbert W. Armstrong College as one of its 221 “All-Steinway Schools.” The certification, which Armstrong received news of in May and official notification of on July 20, is given to schools whose pianos are made or designed exclusively by the German-American piano company. The college qualified earlier in May after purchasing a Steinway Model B for the Armstrong Auditorium rehearsal room.
With only 72 students, the college is one of the smallest schools to “demonstrate a full commitment to excellence by providing their students with the best instruments possible for the study of music,” as the All-Steinway program is described on Steinway.com.
The college began the process by purchasing a Steinway Model D from the company’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, in 2009. The sponsor of the college, the Philadelphia Church of God, had previously purchased a 1983 Steinway Model D from Ambassador College in 2004. Since then, the campus’s dozen or so practice or performance areas have transitioned from lower-quality instruments to Steinway-designed pianos, typically an upright from its Boston brand.
When the college finished constructing the Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory in 2016 and purchased two grand pianos and an upright for its classrooms, the school’s quantity of Steinway-designed pianos rose high enough to qualify it for the recognition.
“Having toured the Steinway facility in Hamburg, we understand what it means to have this peerless name associated with our institution,” music director Ryan Malone said. “We feel honored to receive such a distinction. Though we’re not a large school, or even a music school, this recognition highlights how we are committed to the highest quality education when it comes to the performing arts.”
The Church’s chief financial officer, Andrew Locher, gave an example of other effects of the recognition: “Being an all-Steinway School adds a respectable credential to Armstrong College in the eyes of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. While we meet the necessary standards to have international students granted a visa for study, each recognition like this helps the reputation of our college.”
The college plans to host a presentation ceremony with Steinway representatives in the months ahead.