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November 5, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

November 5, 2020
You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s raining cats and dogs?”  or you’ve read the children’s book, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs?”

How about this one: “It’s raining PIANOS!”

No cliché this time, no fictional children’s book title, this really happened.

During World War II, all kinds of production involving metals; such as iron, copper, and brass metals that were essential to the war effort, was halted by the American government so as to build much-needed guns, tanks, planes, and artillery.

Of course musical instrument makers (other than those who made woodwinds or stringed instruments) were affected by these regulations, which meant that either they had to manufacture something else the military could use, or wait for the war to end, which was as good as going out of business.

Piano makers Steinway & Sons decided that instead of shutting down their factory, they would bide their time and manufacture parts for troop transport gliders.

Steinway’s patience was rewarded when the US Military eventually granted them a contract to make something more in line with their talents -- heavy-duty military pianos. By June 1942, Steinway’s workers had designed a small upright piano, no more than forty inches wide and weighing 455 pounds. It was light enough to be carried by four soldiers. Each piano was treated with special anti-termite and anti-insect solution and sealed with water-resistant glue to withstand dampness.

The best part was the piano used only 33 pounds of metal, about a tenth as much as a typical grand piano. Since Theodore Steinway had four of his own sons serving in the military along with several of their cousins, he instantly recognized music’s potential for boosting troop morale.

Known as “Victory Verticals,” these pianos could be packed into crates and conveniently dropped by parachutes along with tuning equipment and instructions. An estimated 2,500 pianos were dropped from the sky to American soldiers fighting the war in three continents providing countless hours of diversion, education, entertainment, and worship for the troops.
Steinway’s pianos continued to serve the military well after the war was over. When the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thomas A. Edison was built in 1961, a Steinway upright was installed in the crew’s mess area at the request of its Captain. The instrument remained on board until the sub was decommissioned in 1983.

The US military knows the importance of music and singing for the troops. And so do we as soldiers for Christ. God’s people have also sung through the ages, from the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-21), to the battlefield (2 Chronicles 20:21-23), and from deep within dungeons (Acts 16:25).

This story struck a “cord” with me because God’s power and love can’t be fully described in mere words, we have to add music. And nothing boosts OUR morale like singing. So we worship outside to sing out loud and even when the weather forces us back into our Sanctuary, where Covid-19 keeps us from doing that, we continue to sing “songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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