The Presto Club Piano
Publication Date: 1964
On October 6, 1921, when the late Mrs. Torrance was president of the Presto Club, Dr. Edward Johnson gave a magnificent recital in the Opera House in Guelph. There was a large attendance. After the concert, a reception was held at the Blue Triangle restaurant on St. George’s Square. At Dr. Johnson’s request, the proceeds of the concert were to be used for the purchase of a grand piano for the Presto Club. A small committee, of which Miss Jessie Hill was convener, was appointed to purchase a suitable one. After careful selection, a Steinway concert grand was bought and placed in the Lutheran Church. The first recital given after it was placed there took place March 24, 1922. The artists were: Miss Jessie McAlpine, pianist, from Toronto, and Miss M. Skinner, vocalist. Owing to alterations taking place in the Lutheran church, the piano was removed to Trinity Church in November 1924. In October 1925, it was placed in the Guelph CVI auditorium. For almost 40 years the piano has been in constant use there. It was the wish of Edward Johnson that the piano be not only at the disposal of the Presto Club, but also of the Guelph CVI students for musical entertainments arranged by them.
In May 1958, the Presto Club, whose membership had dwindled to 299, ceased its activities. For 60 years it had contributed greatly to the musical needs of the city. In 1959, Hans Hauer, concert violinist living in Guelph, and Luba, his wife, concert pianist, gave the last concert that the Presto Club had in Guelph. Early in 1964 the club surrendered its charter. The Steinway grand piano after being donated to the Guelph Board of Education on December 9, 1963, was moved to Ross Hall auditorium where it is used for musical entertainments.
Sources of information:
Presto Music Club programme, Friday, Feb. 15, 1946.
Guelph Mercury, May 12, 1958.
Contributions by Mrs. Ross Maltby from conversations with Mrs. Price, Guelph Music teacher.