Friday, March 17, 2000

Vintage piano is grand addition

Auction offers music machine

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's big. It's beautiful. It's electric. And after years as a collector's item it still works.

        It's an electric baby grand reproducing piano, circa 1929.

        This is how organizers for this year's X-Travaganza, the annual fund-raising event to benefit St. Xavier High School, describe one of the most unusual items up for bid in the event's 27 years.

        The piano was donated by St. Xavier alumnus Alvin Wulfekuhl. He collects these pianos, which automatically mimic an artist's interpretation of a piece.

        The Weber Duo Art baby grand will be one of more than 1,000 items featured Saturday. It will be displayed in St. X's student lobby todayfrom 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., officials said.

        Organizers hope the auction will bring in about $375,000 to help support the school and its financial scholarships for needy students.

        Other items for auction include stock packages, Riverfront Stadium box seats, a $1,000 Visa shopping spree, and sports tickets.

        Mr. Wulfekuhl, a pharmacist who lives in Clifton, grad uated from St. X in 1951. He's had a fondness for the reproducing piano since he was a child, when his family stored one from 1934 to 1938 for their landlord.

        “When I was 2, my mother would put in a repeating roll (the mechanism that contains the musical piece) and I'd rock to it on my hobby horse,” Mr. Wulfekuhl said Tuesday.

        These kinds of pianos went out of style in the late 1930s after the onset of radio and recorded music.

        Mr. Wulfekuhl owns five of the automated music machines. He bought his first reproducing piano in 1964. In 1969, he bought the Weber Duo Art from its original owners for $300. The West End couple had bought the piano in 1929 for $1,700, Mr. Wulfekuhl said.

        He had the piano restored twice. It is now valued at $18,000.

        Ron Wehmeier, a professional piano restorer based in Price Hill, restored the pia no's mechanics.

        About 572 people are expected to attend the X-Travaganza auction and dinner. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. at St. Xavier High School, 600 North Bend Road, in Finneytown.

        The event is sold out, but sealed bids can be made by calling 761-7815 ext. 117.


Students save boy from attacker
Census adds choices for race data
Count is off to strong start, official says
Counting on a feast for the census
Luken's new job: consultant
Aronoff avoids trial on DUI
Creek rescue follows crash
Delay of city inquiry defended
Meat-eaters day in Covington
Schools try online auctions
Police setting up Internet sharing
Web site rates HMO coverage, performance
White teens admit to racist flier
Ceremony salutes Enquirer's 'Women of the Year'
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Strong family supports lawyer through tough case
Abortion procedure would become felony
Courts look at mental illness
Expert praises schools council
Kenton Co. lake targeted for cleanup
Killer gets life, and earful from a family
Ludlow water bills are in the mail
Millionaires post billboard bride want-ad
N.Ky. chamber bash leads spending list
Probe of 1963 killing almost over
Senate hurrying on budget
Sparks fly over MRDD questions
Tournament gets name back
- Vintage piano is grand addition
When 'Cats are away, the lawmakers play