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December 15th, 2008
Concert celebrates acquisition of piano

SMHS played host Saturday night to the First Annual Generations of Performing Arts Holiday Concert Spectacular in honor of the acquisition of their long-awaited Baldwin Concert Grand piano. Many organizations and individuals were involved in both the effort to obtain the piano for SMHS, and in planning the event, including SMHS Choir Director Helen Miers.

Among the multitude of talented performers were current students and alumni from SMHS. The event also included some famous musicians such as vocal performer Cheryl Parrish, pianist Rick Rowley, and singer/songwriter Kim Miller.

Peter Baen, member of the San Marcos School District’s Board of Trustees and active member of Rotary International, was the Emcee for the evening. The program included musical performances ranging from piano pieces to operatic artists, showcasing a multitude of different acts in a musical variety show, not always involving the piano.

“As a result of this evening’s efforts, we have this concert grand. What a great facility, what a great piano, and what a great event,” said Baen. “We don’t have a full house, but we do have a house full of some serious talent. That is in spite of the competition which represents numerous Christmas parties going on… and the naming of this year’s Heisman Trophy winner.”

“It began with David Sergi and I having lunch. We talked about getting a piano. He picked up his phone and he called his buddy, Scott Gregson, and he said, ‘Scott, we need a piano,’ and Scott said, ‘You sure do, we’ll work on that.’ It wasn’t long before I had Scott Gregson helping me get this piano, along with David Sergi, of course,” said Helen Miers.

“It’s a lovely instrument, and we are so privileged to have such a lovely venue for it to be in, to have a new home for it. As we get older, we recycle things,” said Miers. “This is a wonderful instrument that has found its way to us here in San Marcos, and it’s going to be here a long time. We want to thank Scott Gregson for helping us get it going.”

The piano is a Baldwin SD10 Concert Grand, and was bought by the original owner in Arlington, Texas in 1990. It was then purchased by Michael White in Texas, and made it’s way to Pianos Unlimited in Kansas, where it was offered for sale for $35,000. Baen referred to the current pricing list on Baldwin SD10 Concert Grand pianos and pointed out that the price for a new equivalent to the one at SMHS would run over $135,000.

Halfway through the entertainment an award ceremony was held and Certificates of Appreciation were presented to attendees Scott Gregson, Helen Miers, and the San Marcos Education Foundation, who presented a donation of $5,000. Mayor Susan Narvaiz was also thanked, but was unable to attend the concert. Key donors were listed on a Piano Appreciation Plaque to be hung in the Fine Arts Theatre at SMHS.

Honoree for the evening was Dr. Shirley Austin. She is a Rotarian and retired teacher, as well as a member of the San Marcos Heritage Association, and Methodist Women. A teacher for 40 years in Drama, Music, and English, Dr. Austin was presented with an award in honor of her years of dedicated service.

“These 40 years have been some of the happiest years of my entire life,” said Dr. Austin. “I love San Marcos, I love San Marcos, I do.”

“We’ve come a long way, and we’ve a long way to go,” said Baen. “What a great Christmas present we have, in the form of this concert grand. Thank you, and your friends and family, have a very merry Christmas.”

To become a Piano Plaque Patron and support the community and performing arts, contact Ryan Patrick Perkins at 512-396-9424, e-mail, or visit

by Sarah Stevens

Note: Scott Gregson is a co-owner of

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