1. Buksnes Church: Steinway & Sons model C, 2007
Already in 2005, work began on acquiring Lofoten’s first grand piano. Buksnes Church in Gravdal – which turned 100 this year – was the necessary “breaking point”.
The then mayor of Vestvågøy – Guri Ingebrigtsen – took the challenge, but it took some time before the process started in earnest. In early spring 2007, she convened a meeting of the bank managers of Lofoten Sparebank and Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge. Knut Kirkesæther participated as a professional. In the meeting, more or less, Ingebrigtsen told what the various bank managers should do. And they listened carefully.
Out of the meeting she came with a promise of as much as 500,000, -, which at that time was only 200,000, – below the price of a new Steinway & Sons model C, second largest model. Knut Kirkesæther contacted Steinway Norwaythrough Thron Ihrby and made him aware of what was going on. He sympathized so much with the situation that he promised a one-year-old instrument for 600,000,-. Only 100,000,- was missing.
Committed private sponsor
During a board meeting of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival- just one month before the festival in 2007 – the matter was discussed. As a new grand piano in Lofoten would be of great importance for the implementation of the festival, there was a great desire to find a solution. It was in this meeting that Inger Benjaminsen (board member) announced that she and her husband Edvard wanted to sponsor the grand piano with the remaining 100,000,-. This was followed by a few long seconds while everyone wondered if they had heard correctly.
The grand piano in place
Lofoten’s first Steinway & Sons model C arrived at Buksnes Church before the festival. The instrument was solemnly inaugurated during a concert on Tuesday 10. July at 13.00 where Nils Mortensen and Kalle Randalu performed Schubert’s Fantasy in A minor «Lebensstürme» – four-handed.