A Tribute to a Piano Tuner

Jody Hanson, Ph.D / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Claude Lavalle: a tuner who will be missed.
PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) – Gabi Faja-Holm from The Piano Shop recounts how he met Claude LaValle.
“I’d had enough, so I sacked the piano tuner. Then the reality set in. 
It isn’t as though there are a lot of trained ones to pick from in the Kingdom. 
I was in an awkward position as I didn’t know if there would be enough work to bring someone in from overseas.
Then, all of a sudden the door of the shop burst open and in waddled this huge guy, sweating profusely. “Hey, how ya doin’? 
I can tune pianos for $40 an hour.” I couldn’t believe it. 
So began the close working-friendship between the two men. Or as Claude would quip that good friendships were, “As tight as a crab’s ass, and that’s waterproof.”
Eighteen months later on Monday July 7, 2014 – two weeks after Claude died  after a long illness with complications – The Piano Shop hosted an evening of wine, nibbles and an opportunity for people to listen to the kind of jazz Claude enjoyed. 
The grand piano that had been donated by the Claude Lavalle Fund in memory of his musical contribution was the center piece of the performance. The piano will be available free of charge for music students who want to practice and events.
Gabi Faja-Holm’s Tribute to Claude LaValle:
“Here at The Piano Shop we are proud to entertain our guests in celebrating the life of our magnificent friend and colleague, Claude LaValle.
Claude and I often spoke about parties, jazz and wine. We know that he would have enjoyed such an event, so here we are this evening.
A special character with a rare set of skills, Claude was larger than life in every sense. A man of many lives and professions, he was a true man of the world, an old-school New Yorker.
He was only with us for about 18 months, before passing away at his home in Phnom Penh in his sleep. 
In his time here, he taught us the foundations of the piano business, passing on immense knowledge and wisdom. We have learned from a true champion of the piano industry.
His passion for pianos, his craft and his all-American wet-humor will be greatly missed. 
His very last job was this completely reconditioned Yamaha C5 Grand Piano, which was bought by the Claude LaVallee Trust Fund, set up to continue representing music, piano and humanity in Cambodia.
 We know he is tapping his feet and snapping his fingers to jazz with us tonight. Let’s enjoy our evening as if he were here with us.”

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