The Raudenbusch was the piano used for lessons, but if you completed your lessons and made it to the big recital you were allowed to play on the Steinway Concert Grand Piano in the parlor. The Steinway was Helen’s most prized possession. It came from Dyer Bros of St Paul in 1923. Helen and Hallie Fillebrown were looking for a secondhand Grand, and paid $700 for this one to be refurbished. The rosewood veneer received nine coats of hand-rubbed varnish. It has the first patent from Steinway after they converted from square grand pianos, and that number indicates it was made in 1862. This piano has the first patent from Steinway after they converted from square grand pianos, and that number indicates it was made in 1862. Note that it only has 2 pedals instead of three; that development was still ten years away. The bench did not come with it; it was from the Salvation Army. This was the “Recital” piano, and played by the hundreds of nervous fingers of students from the White Bear Lake area on special occasions. The piano has undergone a $10,000 renovation, which will insure that its golden tones will delight people for years to come.
“I needed a piano out here because I had an increasing number of White Bear pupils. I had a studio in town, and I needed something here. So we went to the old Dyer Brothers in St. Paul and inquired. Well I wanted a grand, so I told them and gave an idea of what I was planning on having or hoped to have, and we (this is my mother and myself) made many trips to Dyer Brothers to ask them them if they had a secondhand Grand for us. Well they didn’t until finally after we were becoming rather impatient, the manager said, “well I don’t know I have a Concert Grand here if you could make room for it. It’s very old, but we could renew it and varnish it and put it in as good shape as possible for $700.” Well we knew we had a rather large house, had no idea where we would place it, but loved its antiquity, and I thought no matter what it sounds like I want that in my home. We put in our order, and it took them ages and ages to finish it for us. I think they had nine coats of varnish if I remember rightly. They’d varnish it and rub it down, varnish it again and when it came, it looked like satin. It was the most beautiful wood I thought I’d ever seen. It’s rosewood veneer.” -Helen Fillebrown