June 20, 2014

Avondale Celebrates 40 Years With Liberace’s Piano

Visitors to Avondale College Seventh-day Adventist Church
may be impressed by the inspiring music coming from its concert grand piano.

<strong>LADY ELLE:</strong> Pianist Claire Howard Race posing with Lady Elle, the piano that Liberace played and now stands in the Avondale church. Photo credit: Colin Chuang / Avondale

But few may know that the piano only ended up playing sacred
hymns after taking a bow in the entertainment world of television cameras,
stage lights and audiences numbering in the thousands of people.

Liberace, the flamboyant U.S. pianist and vocalist, used the
Yamaha nine-foot piano during his last Australian tour in 1973.

Avondale College of Higher Education recognized that history by officially naming the
piano “Lady Elle” at a recent concert, the college said in a statement. The
name is a nod to Liberace’s name.

The piano ended up at Avondale after shipping issues delayed
the delivery of a much smaller piano that had been ordered for the college’s
annual choir concert in 1974, said Lynden Rogers, a senior lecturer in physics.
Lady Elle was delivered instead, and the college community liked the piano so
much that they raised the extra money needed to buy it, he said.

Lady Elle has now been a part of college life for 40 years.

“She’s invaluable and irreplaceable,” said Avondale
Conservatorium director Aleta King.

Related link

Avondale College of Higher Education: “Lady Elle’s Homecoming”