Royce Boyer, a professional piano tuner, helped find a new grand piano for the Skipworth Performing Arts Center.
Royce Boyer was born in Indiana and can remember living by a neighboring county named Kosciusko. During World War II, Boyer moved to several different states with his mom and ended up in Virginia where he attended high school.
Boyer’s father influenced him into the life of music, teaching, and becoming a professional piano tuner. His father, who was a music professor, sent Boyer to piano tuning school in Chicago after high school after he mentioned interest in becoming a music teacher.
“He sent me to piano tuning school in Chicago after high school, and then I started a music conservatory in Indianapolis. I finished that degree and got drafted into the Army,” Boyer recalled.
Boyer spent four years in the U.S. Army Chorus in Washington. Boyer said he was fortunate to serve in the Army, where he furthered his education and received his master’s degree.
He went on to the University of Texas and spent five years there before graduating with his doctoral degree in music.
After college, Boyer had the opportunity to move to Huntsville, Alabama to start a music program at The University of Alabama-Huntsville. At this time, Boyer wasn’t tuning pianos much and spent his time teaching and being a choir director at church.
He taught for the University of Alabama for 32 years before moving in the mid 90’s to the Jackson area to teach at Millsaps College. Boyer got back into piano tuning and met Mrs. Carolyn Ritter of Kosciusko.
“Carolyn was a friend of my wife and I,” said Boyer. “She had a piano that needed some work done, and some of the keys were sticky.”
He got a call one day from Ritter about the Skipworth Performing Arts Center.
“Carolyn called me and told me about the renovations of the school auditorium and their hopes to make it a cultural center and their need for a piano for the stage,” he said.
At the time, Boyer had never seen the auditorium but agreed to help find a piano. From experience, he figured that a six-foot grand piano would be perfect for the auditorium.
“Before I started looking, I stopped by there to see the auditorium and was surprised to see how big it was, and it had a pit for an orchestra and a professional size stage,” Boyer said. “When I saw the size of it, I said, ‘Well, the piano I thought about is not big enough for this room.’”
Boyer decided that the auditorium would need a 7-7 ½ foot piano. His first thought was to look for one under the brand Yamaha.
He originally tracked down two pianos but had no luck. After no luck on his first two pianos, Boyer went to the Yamaha store in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was befriended by an old student who was the piano manager. Low and behold, Boyer found the perfect piano for the Skipworth Center.
“It was a used piano that only had one previous owner and came from Decatur, Alabama,” he said.
Before moving the piano from Alabama to Kosciusko, a customized cover was made so the piano would be in perfect condition for its new home on the Skipworth stage. Boyer mentioned that he secured the piano at a great price. Boyer recently visited Kosciusko to tune the piano before Joe M. Turner came to town in May.
Boyer said the Kosciusko Foundation for Excellence in Education is doing a great job in Kosciusko, and he believes that the new piano in the new auditorium will bring a lot of performances to the area.