I have a Yamaha U7 piano. My mom and dad bought me this piano (thanks mom and dad!) about 35 years ago when I was doing concerts and competitions. The Yamaha U7 was the top of the line Yamaha upright, purchased mainly by musicians who needed a good piano but had no space for a grand. Many think the U7 sounded better than a small grand. Yamaha doesn’t make this piano anymore. There were only about a dozen of them in Canada.
Paul and I have struggled about whether to take the piano with us to Hong Kong. We had concerns about humidity changes, wear and tear of the journey and the potential that it might limit where we could live (a walk-up might be out of the question). As we saw it, our options were to a) take it with us to HK; b) sell it; c) store it; and d) find a good home for it while we are away. We thought we had made up our minds to take it, and then we waffled. So about a month ago (none too soon), we went on a fact-finding mission to help us with our decision.
Fortunately, Paul has connections. He had been e-introduced to John Lee, President of Tom Lee Engineering in Hong Kong. Tom Lee Music is the largest musical instrument showroom in South East Asia. Paul also has worked for many years with Dick Papalia at Ottawa Pianos, the Yamaha dealer in Ottawa, and knows the guys at the piano division of Yamaha Canada. He also worked extensively with Don Coté, one of the best piano technicians in Canada. Paul contacted them all – and got conflicting advice. Some feedback was to NOT bring the piano to HK as the humidity would cause the wood to swell. Other feedback was that the humidity in HK would be good for it but would be more of a problem going back to Canada (hmmm, we haven’t thought that far ahead). The option of selling it would mean leaving it in Ottawa and selling it on consignment. It would likely be advertised across North America. That kind of sale would take time and we would not do as well as we would if we sold it privately. Storing the instrument here would be iffy; we would have to put it in a temperature and humidity controlled warehouse or storage facility; that would be costly, especially over time, and then we would have to move it again to wherever we settle after our gig in Hong Kong. Finding a home for it would be possible, but again we would have the same problem at the end of our sojourn.
The piano’s safe arrival will require good fortune. We will need a great technician to loosen up the felts and bushings after it settles into its new home, and we will have to be vigilant about maintaining constant temperature and humidity.
So we have decided to take it with us. The piano will be moved out of our home (it has to go up a flight of stairs) by Don Pinard Piano Specialists, the best piano movers in Ottawa. A crew of four will move it upstairs where it will be bubble-wrapped by our international movers. It will then be moved by the piano movers into a crate that the international movers will have built for it. It will travel the world with our other goods in a standard (versus freezer) container that is fumigated against termites and rodents but not temperature controlled. If it has to go into storage for a while in HK, it will be stored in a temperature controlled environment.
It seems our concerns about moving the piano into HK apartments were unfounded. We are assured that movers can hoist these instruments outside buildings and do all kinds of magical things to get them into virtually any type of accommodation.
We can only keep our fingers crossed that it all turns out OK. Then I’d better uncross them and get back to some piano playing in HK to make it all worthwhile!