Are pianos becoming a thing of the past?

By BABBIE GUSCIOAugust 14, 2012 

In the late 19th and into the 20th centuries, pianos were the main source of musical entertainment in many American homes. Everyone who could afford one, had a piano. My mother had a Steinway baby grand that went everywhere she did. I, along with my sister and brothers, had to learn to play it.

Sadly, pianos as we knew them are being thrown away. Lack of demand for used pianos, cuts in music education in schools and lack of interest make digital pianos now the rage.

Pianos have thousands of moving parts and are expensive to repair. It is also very difficult to find a person well-trained enough to tune them. Digital pianos don't need tuning and have all sorts of gadgets built in and they don't cost much.

Thank goodness my mother's Steinway lives on in a loving home, well-tuned and waiting for Mozart.

  • At the farmers market this week I found some interesting bits of vendor talk:

  • The men who pop and sell the delicious popcorn that everyone loves to go through an average of 120 pounds of kernels every Thursday. Palm Key Barbeque has people lined up for their "que." My favorite farmer sells heirloom tomatoes, and they are gone in the blink of an eye. There are all sorts of plants. And divine breads and pasta just fly out of the stalls.

  • For a really special treat Aug. 30, we are having our first Bluffton Boiled Peanut Contest. If you or anyone you know has a special boiled peanut recipe and would like to enter the fun event, call me at 843-757-3855. We will have a website and Facebook page set up so you can sign up online and get the rules.

  • We will have special judges, and prizes will be awarded. If you love boiled peanuts, this is for you. Don't miss the fun. This will be a great kickoff to Labor Day weekend.

    * I have a special jaunt you might like to take. through Aug. 19. The Telfair Museum is showing "Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster." Also in Savannah, the new North Garden at the Ships of the Sea Museum is open. It has been beautifully laid out with a covered open-air pavilion that can seat 500 people.

    The garden has five separate "rooms" that transition from one to the other. The museum is on Martin Luther King Boulevard in a beautiful historic house designed by William Jay. The garden is open to the public throughout the day and offers free wireless.

    After soaking up all the art and history, head over to Broughton Street to the charming French bistro Papillote. This is a small authentic restaurant where you can order a real croque monsieur ham and cheese sandwich and pretend you are in Paris. If all of this isn't enough, Leopold's Ice Cream Shop is right down the street. There you will find all sorts of delicious flavors of homemade ice cream. Leopold's is celebrating its 93rd year in business Aug. 18. To find out more about this go to

    Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.

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