A glorious grand piano now graces the Living Room of the new Chesterbrook Residences in Falls Church, Virginia, thanks to the generosity of Claire Reiss, David Chan, and their family.
Pictured left to right by the piano are David Chan, David’s mother Mee Sun Chan, Amanda Chan, and Claire Reiss at the dedication of Chesterbrook Residences. At the piano is Chesterbrook volunteer pianist Irena Lum.
Claire Reiss’ father, Frederick C. Reiss, bought the piano in the 1960’s in Kentucky. He taught himself to play the piano while stationed in Germany after WWII. Mr. Reiss was a physician, but played the piano recreationally when he had the opportunity. Mr. Reiss had an extensive sheet music collection spanning decades.
After Mr. Reiss passed away, Ms. Reiss and her husband, David Chan, moved the piano to their home in Arlington, Virginia for their daughters, Ashley Seitz and Amanda Chan, to use for piano lessons, which they did for several years. Ashley is now 24 and no longer lives at home, and Amanda changed from the piano to the viola so she could play in her school orchestra. Amanda is firmly committed to the viola, and is presently the principal viola player in the Yorktown High School Orchestra.
The Reiss/Chan family loved the piano because it was an instrument that had been in the family for decades and the decision to give it up was difficult. They did not want to sell it to strangers, and did not want to donate it to an organization they knew nothing about where it might not be cared for and appreciated.
However, it was not clear when or if anyone in their family would play the piano again, and it felt like a waste of a beautiful instrument to keep it sitting in their house unused when it could be enjoyed elsewhere.
Said Ms. Reiss, “When I saw a notice for Chesterbrook Residences in the Temple Rodef Shalom bulletin (Temple Rodef Shalom is one of Chesterbrook’s three founding congregations) last fall, I immediately knew it was the perfect home for our piano. I was familiar with Chesterbrook through Temple Rodef Shalom, so I had the connection I needed to be able to consider donating the piano. Nevertheless, it took a couple of additional months and some conversation before we were able to take the plunge and contact Chuck Thornton, Executive Director at Chesterbrook, to see whether they still needed a piano. Fortunately they did, and we are all very happy with the new home our piano has found!”
When the Reiss/Chan piano was moved from Kentucky to Virginia in 1999, it was documented as being worth $22,880.00. Today it sits prominently across from the fireplace in the Living Room at Chesterbrook Residences bringing music to formal and informal resident and visitor concerts. Said Thornton, “This is an incredible gift. We are so deeply appreciative of what Claire, David and their daughters have provided for our residents.”
This year, Chesterbrook Residences also received a $10,000 gift from Washington Gas for the purchase of gas appliances and equipment. The Robert Schlossberg family donated funds to purchase the new examination table in the doctors’ office, Suzi Podhorecki donated a chair lift, Phil and Minnie Gallman a recumbent bike for the Fitness Center and most recently, Bill and Renee Andrews donated a senior scooter for use by visitors and residents.
“The contributions of time and talents, and resources and funds by so many wonderful people have allowed us to achieve so much in the short time since we opened in November,” said Executive Director Chuck Thornton. “For all of this, we share a heartfelt thank you!”
Chesterbrook Residences is a non-denominational, non-profit, affordable Assisted Living Residence that opened in November at 2030 Westmoreland Street in Falls Church, Virginia. There are 97 apartments with immediate residential opportunities available. For more information regarding Chesterbrook Residences call 703-531-0781. Forty-nine apartments are eligible to receive housing subsidy assistance.
Chesterbrook Residences is a cooperative outreach project of Lewinsville Presbyterian Church and Immanuel Presbyterian Church, both of McLean, and Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church. These three congregations with the National Capital Presbytery, comprise the non-profit Board of Directors of Chesterbrook Residences.
Chesterbrook Residences is managed by Coordinated Services Management (CSM) Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia, operators of eighteen senior residences in Virginia including Tall Oaks at Reston, Potomac Place in Woodbridge, and Culpepper Garden in Arlington.
2030 Westmoreland Street
Falls Church, Virginia 22043