St. Nicholas School Receives Steinway Select K-12 Designation


St. Nicholas School is the first school in Tennessee to receive the Steinway Select K-12 designation. A celebration of this distinction is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, with a program featuring student musicians as well as performances by two Steinway artists, Gloria Chien and Ning An.

Afterwards, there will be a reception and the opportunity to tour the music studios in the school’s Chapel and Fine Arts Center that opened in October 2016. The public is welcome to attend. RSVP to Dexter Cantelou at


“We are excited to be the first Steinway Select K-12 school in Tennessee, but even more thrilled that our students now have access to such high-quality pianos.”

"St. Nicholas School was founded in 1958 in the basement of Grace Episcopal Church.  Since the very beginning, chapel has been at the heart of the St. Nicholas experience, and occurs at the start of each day.  This is a time when the entire school gathers to thank God in song, prayer, and community. Children leave chapel with a sincere and deep respect for God, themselves and each other, recognizing what they have in common as well as valuing their differences. 

"In 1994, the school moved to its current location, a 24-acre campus in East Brainerd. Facilities included 'cottages' for core classes, a cafeteria, swimming pool, administration building, library, playgrounds, an athletic field, and a gymnasium.  However, there was no chapel building…so for 22 years, chapel took place in the gym each morning.  Day after day, the music specialists, Carey Shinbaum and Kara Miscio, rolled out a Yamaha keyboard from which to lead the singing.  

"Programs, recitals and special events were also often scheduled in the gym, as it was the largest common space available on campus.  Though everyone at St. Nicholas recognized that chapel was more than just a space – it was a special feeling - the time finally came to move forward with the creation of a new Chapel and Fine Arts Center.  In November 2015, ground was broken and construction began.  Several months later, on Oct. 5, 2016, the first chapel occurred in the new building.  

"Thanks to the generosity of various donors, Mr. Shinbaum and Ms. Miscio were able to secure all new instruments for the space.  Under the guidance of Buddy Shirk from Summit Pianos, they chose a Steinway “0” for the chapel, a Boston grand piano for the music room, and four new uprights for the practice studios.  Students who participate in private music lessons in the afternoons now enjoy playing on either Essex or Boston institutional models.  Students are also able to share during daily chapel services, and for special events such as Talent Sharings and studio recitals," officials said.

With the purchase of six Steinway or Steinway-designed instruments, the school qualified for the Steinway Select K-12 designation. “We are so grateful for the support of our community, and the value that they place on arts education,” said Ms. Miscio.  “We are excited to be the first Steinway Select K-12 school in Tennessee, but even more thrilled that our students now have access to such high-quality pianos, and that their musical experiences will be enriched through the use of these instruments.”

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