By Jeff Murphy, October 17, 2022
University of Central Missouri 2010 Distinguished Music Alumnus Dr. Garik Pedersen will make a public presentation at his alma mater on Oct. 27.
WARRENSBURG, MO -- The University of Central Missouri School of Visual and Performing Arts is hosting a public musical presentation about the World War II-era “Victory Vertical Piano” program by 2010 UCM Distinguished Music Alumnus Dr. Garik Pedersen at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 in Hart Recital Hall, located in the Utt Music Building. The public is invited to attend this free event co-sponsored by the UCM Department of Music and the UCM Speaker Series.
“Victory Vertical Pianos” were manufactured during WWII by the Steinway Piano company with the specific mission of enhancing the “morale and resolve” of soldiers in the field. The pianos were small, boxlike instruments that were packed in a crate; they came with sheet music, instructions, tools for tuning and repair, and had handles for easy transport. The enthusiastic response to the first shipment of 400 pianos resulted in more orders for O.D.G.I. (Olive Drab Government Issue) “field” pianos. By the time that production ended in 1953, more than 2,000 “Victory Vertical Pianos" had been shipped to troops on three continents, and countless hours of diversion, education, entertainment, worship, enrichment, and outreach had been provided. Pedersen will share the history of this unique program and provide illustrations through video and live performance of music from that era.
Pedersen began his musical career as a student of Emeritus Professor Dr. Wesley True at UCM prior to receiving a doctorate from the University of Iowa. Since then he has enjoyed a long and decorated career as a professor at Eastern Michigan University, as well as serving as a past president of the Michigan Music Teachers Association. A Steinway Artist, Pedersen has presented programs for the U.S. State Department, National Federation of Music Clubs, Music Teachers National Association, European Piano Teachers Association, Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Associations, Royal Conservatory of Music, and on numerous public television and radio broadcasts.