Notre Dame Elementary receives new piano

The newest addition to the Notre Dame Elementary School arrived Wednesday thanks to the Observer-Dispatch and Rick Zuccaro’s Digital Piano Donation Program.

A black Yamaha DGX-660 digital keyboard, replete with functions for numerous instruments, was carried into the auditorium. For Notre Dame music teacher Matthew Murphy, the effect was immediate.

“It was perfect timing,” Murphy said as he felt the resistance of the keys. ”(An electric keyboard) gets used every day, probably nonstop for about four hours every day. It will be put to good use.”

The piano is the latest addition in a history of magnanimity by Zuccaro, vice president for the finance and insurance division at the Carbone Auto Group. Zuccaro, who is the centerpiece of Ricky Z’s Billy Joel Tribute Show, was a product of music programs in school that he always wished were better.

“It’s near and dear to my heart,” Zuccaro said. “When I was going to elementary school, we didn’t have a music program like this. It’s great to see they have an active and alive music (program).”

His own piano donation program already has promised 20 pianos to local schools – 10 of those he’s funded from his band. The other 10, such as the one funded by the Observer-Dispatch, were from local businesses.

“When you see what’s happening with school budgets and see how these programs are getting cut, this is kind of a no-brainer,” said O-D Publisher Terry Cascioli. “It made my day.”

Teresa Wojnas, whose children graduated from Notre Dame Elementary, was part of the selection process. Her school was chosen as the winner of a drawing that happens at Zuccaro’s shows.

For Margaret Trinkhaus, a sixth-grader who is in the choir and is involved with the piano nearly every day, the real excitement starts today.

“I’m so excited that we have our new piano in our school,” she said. “Like Mr. Murphy said, the other one is just really old.”