Piano damaged by April, 2011 tornado a key to local family's harmony

Marvin and Willie Quinn Remembering April 27, 2011

"I learned to play on this piano, my daughter learned how to play on this piano," said Willie Quinn.

The piano's ivory keys were in perfect tune until the night of April 27, 2011.

" ... and I said honey come in here come here. Come in here. Come in here, we have got to pray. A tornado is here now," said Willie Quinn.

Within minutes the tornado's impact destroyed the house the Quinns lived in for 42 years. Only a few objects were left behind, like their bibles and the piano.

"After the tornado everyone kept saying it couldn't be fixed," said Willie Quinn.

The days and weeks immediately following the tornado were flat.

"I think that was the worst day - is having to watch our house burn," said Quinn.

Quinn couldn't bear the thought of destroying the piano too and one piano tuner had faith.

"He said well if it had rained on it all night then he didn't think it could be fixed. Then he said, 'is that the piano that was in the tornado?' and I said yes, yes it is. He said play it everyday - play those keys every day," said Quinn.

Each day Quinn pressed the keys. Each day their lives came back into key. Volunteers rebuilt their home on the same plot of land they had lived on for 42 years.

"Other churches we don't even know came by and said here we want to give you this or send it, or individuals if they didn't come by, they would send it," said Willie & Marvin Quinn.

By October 2011, the Quinns were living in a new house and continued to press those ivories up and down.

"Sometimes I wonder when I get down in the dumps like everyone does, why he left us here and took so many of our neighbors," said Quinn.

Weeks, months, and years went by so the Quinn called the tuner again.

"So I called him back and he tuned it - it's still not in standard key yet," said Quinn.

The piano may not be perfectly in tune, but it survived just like Marvin and Willie.

"He said it might take three or four more times to get it in standard key. As long as it will play, it will be good enough for me," said Quinn.

Watch the Quinn's original story here.

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