Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller
The James Madison Belle Grove Foundation is a non-profit organization (509 a2 – historic site). All donation will receive a letter of acknowledgement. Please consult your tax professional when claiming your tax deductions.
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Seven years ago, we received a beautiful donation, our 1854 Chickering Box Grand Piano. While beautiful, it needed restoration work. Most of the piano is original down to its ivory keeps, which only has two small chips in them. After years of searching for someone willing to take on this project, we found Noah. He came into our lives just as the pandemic hit. He started the work by cleaning the soundboard. To our great surprise, under the years of coal soot, Noah found that when putting the piano together, they marked each chord peg in quill pen with the chord note. Noah says this is highly unusual and makes this piano very unique.
Noah has removed the action (keyboard) and it is down in Richmond being cleaned. When he removed the action, we found quite a few surprises. First, we found that a mouse once called our piano “home”. This mouse has gathered items inside including a penny and cloth. There were also two letters from the 1920s, placed by a teenager that once owned the piano. We were able to trace the name on that letter and found that it was once in Suffolk, Virginia in the 1920s.
We love history at Belle Grove and want to preserve what we can. This piano is no exception. Many have played its keys, even John Douglas Hall, who portraits our Mr. James Madison. We hope that future generations will have the same chance to enjoy this top end brand of this piano.
During Christmas this past year, we asked our guests as well as our friends on Facebook to help us raise then needed funds to complete this project. Of the $8,000 needed to complete the project, we raised $2,450, a great start. But we still have a way to go.
We are asking for your help to complete this project. We are setting up a special link on our website and on Facebook to donate to this special piano. It is our hope to complete this project by March 12, 2022. One this date, we will be having our Living History – Madison’s Birthday Celebration. We would love to have Mr. Madison (John Douglas Hall) be the first to play it after its completion at this event. We are asking for your help.
These pianos are more than a piece of Art. Yes, there is doubt they’re beautifully made pianos. When built, they were one of the most well-regarded pianos available. However, now, in addition to their quality, beauty and sweet sound, these pianos have their own individual histories. This piano was built before the Civil War in 1854. This piano is an especially light color of Brazilian Rosewood and is of the Empire Revival style. It is slightly smaller than the typical square grand, giving it more flexibility as far as where it can be used.
It has been a cherished and well taken care of piece. These early pianos have an extremely sweet and delicate tonal quality, making them ideal for playing period music such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. Although this piano is an earlier model, it does have a full working damper pedal and soft pedals. This is a rare piece of American musical history and is being restored to like-new condition, inside and out.
Saturday, December 31st
6pm to 1am
The James Madison Belle Grove Foundation is hosting our Annual New Year’s Eve charity event – The James Madison Belle Grove Foundation Casino Masquerade Ball. Belle Grove Plantation’s Masquerade Ball is famous for its intriguing party guests and excitement during the evening as everybody will show off their most fabulous masquerade masks and New Year’s party attire!
This Amazing Fundraiser was Amazing Teams racing from one Challenge Location to another completing challenges, collecting extra bonus points and having an Amazing Day for Wacky Fun! Before this Amazing Event, location businesses in King George, Caroline and Westmoreland County allowed us to place donation jars for one and half months. We also conducted an Amazing Bake Sale and Amazing Online Auction! After the dust settled an the teams tallied up their scores, trophies were awarded to the InFirst Incrediales – First Place, The Gut Crushers – Second Place and Sassy Supergals – Third Place. The Gut Crushers also took Most Raised and Best Dressed. The Most Raised Donation was Hornes Diner in Port Royal, Virginia and Team Favorite Challenge Stop was Mary’s Cakery and Candy Kitchen in King George, Virgnia
With the donation jars, bake sale, online and mailed donations and the donations received during the race, the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation will be receiving $1,663.60. Last year’s total was $662.
After our Spirit Festival Event with the added funds from our Online Auction, the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation will receive $10,021.08!