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Sutton’s Gift Yields Refurbished Piano at ATU

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Arkansas Tech University alumna Janice Hinkle Sutton is modest when it comes to her musical talents on piano.

“I’m not an accomplished player, but I love piano,” said Sutton.

It’s a love that started with her first lessons at the age of 5, continued through her days as an Arkansas Tech student and has persisted through more than four decades playing piano at First Baptist Church in Mountain View.

Sutton has further demonstrated that love by contributing toward the restoration of a 1902 Steinway and Sons C model piano that has a long and colorful history on the Arkansas Tech University campus.

The piano was first purchased by the institution in 1940, and one year later it was placed in the lobby of Caraway Residence Hall. There, it was witness to and part of countless gatherings of the Tech community over multiple generations.

After more than seven decades of service, the piano was in need of expert attention. Sutton’s gift made that possible, and now the refurbished instrument has been relocated to Witherspoon Hall so that Arkansas Tech music faculty and students can enjoy it as part of their studies.

“I knew this would take a piano lover to do it,” said Sutton, who sang in Dr. John Wainright’s choir at Tech and graduated with a degree in home economics and business. “It’s just beautiful.”

Dr. Tim Smith, associate professor of music, had the pleasure of playing the piano for Sutton when she came to see the restored instrument.

“Having grown up on a $75 piano, and then going to school and playing the typical practice pianos, it is a treat to be able to come into studio and play a piano like this,” said Smith. “I suspect it will have a big impact on students.”