October 7, 2019

Retired UW-Superior music professors donate their harpsichord to the Music Department

The harpsichord will be debuted in a concert Thursday, Oct. 10th at 6 p.m. at Cathedral of Christ the King.

Retired UW-Superior music professors, Harris and Diane Balko, generously gifted their beloved harpsichord to the Music Department this fall. Harpsichords were widely used in the 16th through early 18th centuries for Renaissance and Baroque music.

Harris acquired the harpsichord in 1966 when the owner of the music store where he was working at the time went to Germany. Harris asked if he would be willing to purchase a harpsichord for him while he was there, if he gave him the money. He graciously agreed and a couple of months later, the harpsichord arrived, which Harris used for several years while he was a high school music teacher. Later, the Balko’s kept it at their home where it was played occasionally.

“We’re getting up in years now, so we are starting to downsize,” said Harris. “I thought maybe the UWS Music Department could use it, so I called Dr. Brett Jones to see if he’d be interested. He said, ‘Absolutely,’ and we are very happy that it is now being used by students.”

“This well-built instrument will see a lot of use for period music performed by our choir and orchestra,” said Dr. Brett Jones, Music Department Chair. “We are very grateful to the Balko’s for their donation. Our keyboard students will now have the opportunity to study harpsichord playing technique with Dr. Thomas Hamilton as part of their well-rounded music education here at UWS.”

The harpsichord’s debut performance will be by keyboard performance major, Zach Grohn, at a concert on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. at Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior as part of the UW System Board of Regents meeting.

“I’m very grateful to the Balko’s for donating this instrument,” said Grohn. “We didn’t have a harpsichord here before and it is an essential to a keyboardist’s repertoire. This instrument will definitely benefit me, as well as other instrumentalists here at UWS.”

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