© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Andrew Zinck, right, chairman of UPEI's music department, says the university would love a qualified concert level piano tuner like Mark Cerisano of Montreal to set up shop in Prince Edward Island.
Mark Cerisano wants to tinkle Islanders’ ivories on a regular basis.
The Montreal piano tuner comes to P.E.I. four months a year to tune pianos. In that time, he typically tunes 110 to 120 pianos.
Cerisano would like to ply his trade year-round in the province if he could drum up — or perhaps that should be plunk down — enough business.
A mechanical engineer by trade, Cerisano has lived in Montreal for about the past 10 years. He feels a strong draw to P.E.I. where he has made close friends while living and working in the province over the past handful of years.
He purchased a farmhouse in Richmond five years ago. He rents the place out in the summer but settles in with his wife, Cathy, and the couple’s four home school taught children in May, June, September and October while Cerisano busies himself tuning pianos in the province.
Cerisano hopes to eventually set up shop, and home, year-round in P.E.I.
Andrew Zinck, chair of the music department at UPEI, would certainly welcome that development.
The department, working like the rest of the university under the strains of a very tight budget, must pay for airfare and accommodation to get Cerisano to come to the campus to tune pianos.
One tuning could cost $700 to $800 as opposed to just $100 to $120 if the qualified piano tuner lived in P.E.I.
The department is forced to spend a couple of thousand more dollars a year to bring Cerisano in from Montreal to cover his expenses.
“And that’s money we don’t have at this time ... it’s tough,’’ says Zinck.
The problem is no one in the province is qualified to do professional concert level tunings.
Zinck says a piano tuner of Cerisano’s high caliber is needed to do top-notch maintenance and tuning of the music department’s Steinway concert grand piano as well as the “kind of backup’’ concert grand.
“Professional musicians are fussy,’’ says Zinck in reference to pianists who perform at UPEI’s annual fall concert series.
“You want to make sure that those musicians feel comfortable and will want to come back.’’
Zinck says ideally the music department would love to have Cerisano, or a piano tuner of his ability live on P.E.I. year-round, sign up to an annual service contract to maintain and tune the department’s pianos.
“We have yet to be successful in encouraging anyone to set up shop in the Island,’’ he said. “The market is small.’’
He hears there is plenty of demand for piano tuning in the province.
He just needs to get enough of a share to allow for a permanent move to P.E.I.