Gloria is a grand piano expertly crafted by the folks over at Fandrich & Sons, and named after long-time guests Gloria and Don Swisher. Expert pianists have already commented on how she seems to produce more, and better, sound than pianos twice her size, and how responsive she is. This comes as no surprise to us, as Fandrich & Sons pianos have been the chosen instrument for numerous music festivals, music schools, and even classical music critic Tom Manoff for NPR radio show All Things Considered.
The naming of Gloria wasn’t just a casual nod to a long-time guest. Here’s what Innkeeper Laurie Anderson wrote about the decision:
"Gloria and Don Swisher have been guests of the Shelburne Inn, Restaurant & Pub for over 25 years
In fact, they not only fall into the VIP category here, but also that even more exclusive sub-group “BPB” (guests of the Shelburne Inn Before Private Baths).
Perhaps the greatest joy of innkeeping is getting to know our guests, particularly the return guests. Gloria and Don are lovers of music and reading, so we never run out of things to talk about with them.
When Laurie found out that Gloria was a music teacher she began picking her brain; first about instructional piano books and ultimately about choosing a grand piano. Gloria was so generous with her information, and so knowledgeable. She is a native of Seattle and holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Washington, an M.S. Degree from Mills College, and a Ph.D. Degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. She is both a Professor Emeritus and a Composer. Her compositions include works for solo instruments, solo voices and small ensembles, as well as concerti and compositions for band, wind ensemble, orchestra, and chorus, both accompanied and a capella. She has written two musicals and three operas, as well as settings of the Service of Holy Communion and choir anthems for church services. Gloria shared with David and Laurie that their church had purchased a Fandrich & Sons piano and that they were extremely pleased with it. She and Don offered to drive David and Laurie to the Fandrich & Sons studio to see and hear their beautiful pianos. It was love at first sight and sound, but Gloria’s expert ear and touch of the keys helped Laurie and David make their selection.
The whole thing felt a bit like a birthing experience, without the pain. So, when we pondered what to name our piano (anything that beautiful just had to have a name) we knew it had to be Gloria! Humble as she is, when we wrote Gloria to tell her of our plan, she signed her return letter, “Gloria Minor, your piano is Gloria Major.”
“In my travels over 30 years, I’ve played lots of pianos at hotels and bed and breakfasts and this Fandrich & Sons piano comes immediately into the Top 10.”