Highland Receives Antique Piano from Mack Porter

published October 22, 2014

Highland Receives Antique Piano from Mack Porter

Mary Helen (Gilmore) Porter was active in the music groups when she was a student at Highland Community College.  Years later, she and her husband, Mack Porter, created an endowment at the College which resulted in scholarships for music students and the naming of the stage in Culbertson Auditorium in her honor.  Following her death, Mack supplemented that endowment with the gift of an antique baby grand piano that Mary Helen has played in their home for over 30 years.  He thought there was no better place for the piano than where Mary Helen enjoyed performing, so it now sits on the stage named in her honor.  It was initially played at the College for the funeral of long-time instrumental music instructor Yvette (Cruse) Cook.

While the exact provenance of the piano remains unclear, inscriptions written in German that are on the piano do document that it was built in Germany in the late 1930’s.  It is a Gors Kallman piano, which, while a relatively unknown brand, was associated with the higher levels of German royalty.  It was probably made as a gift from a member of the royal household, so it is fitting that it now sits as a gift that will be enjoyed by the Highland students and the public in performances for years to come.

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