The Leigh Orpheus’s new keyboard.

We have the use of a pretty good quality piano at the Salvation Army Temple where we rehearse on Fridays. Many of the venues at which we perform have pianos or keyboards. So, generally, we can pitch up and use the piano or keyboard that is there.

However, that’s not always the case and over many years we’ve needed to have our own keyboard – and associated amplifier and speakers, leads, power cables, stand and stool – to use when nothing else is available (or where what else is available is not up to the quality we need).

Our old keyboard did us sterling service. We used it locally at such places as the Leigh Folk festival and the Mayoral concerts. It’s been on tour with us in the UK (some will remember a time in Poole’s Cavern on a Peak District Tour when an umbrella had to be used to stop the keyboard, and Jackie our Accompanist, being dripped on by water from the cave’s roof!). It’s bounced around in the holds of coaches when we’ve been on tour abroad (some will remember lugging it, with amplifier, speakers and so on, to a Cathedral on the top of a hill in Germany).

But as well as Covid impacting on the health of some members, Covid also seemed to impact on the health of our old keyboard! Having previously wired it up and switched it on it had always worked well, not so when we switched it on for the first time, post-Coviud, for our first performance on the Herts MiniTour. It was seriously ill! Three keys not working and not the quality of sound we expect and need. We got by with it on tour, but repair seemed unlikely or stupidly expensive and we needed something dependable. And potentially of much better quality.

With technology having moved on considerably since we purchased our old keyboard Dave recommended and Jan agreed a new model of digital piano. Much better quality and half the price of our old keyboard. And Kay likes playing it. It’s a beauty. It’s a Kawait ES520.

For those who are interested, here are a few of the technical details of our new digital piano:

  • Kawai instruments can be found in the most prestigious concert halls and musical institutions throughout the world, and are recognised for their outstanding tonal clarity and exceptional dynamic range.
  • All 88 keys of the SK-EX, SK-5, and EX concert grand pianos were painstakingly recorded, then accurately reproduced as high-fidelity digital waveforms. Unlike other piano manufacturers, Kawai records each note individually to preserve the grand pianos’ unique harmonic character.
  • The ES520 includes a total of 34 high-quality tones from all over the world, including electric pianos, church organs, strings, choirs, and rhythms.
  • Despite being a digital piano, the ES520 has the touch and feel of an acoustic instrument. The Responsive Hammer Compact II keyboard has been carefully designed to offer the distinctive touch of an acoustic piano with immaculate detail. The ES520 uses a spring-less design that delivers a consistent upward and downward motion for a smooth and natural piano playing experience.
  • The ES520 features a graded keyboard. Just as acoustic pianos utilise heavier bass hammers and lighter treble hammers, the ES520’s keyboard is appropriately weighted for each playing range.

If you want the full monty with 24 mins of explanation (and sales talk) click on the keyboard below.

A nifty piece of kit, eh? We anticipate it giving many years of service to the Leigh Orpheus. Maybe we’ll also need to invest in a new umbrella just in case we are ever in a dripping cave again?!