Oracle Piano Society purchases former lodge; will turn building into performance and arts center

Val Bembenek

The Oracle Piano Society, widely known for presenting high caliber classical music performance events along with sponsoring regional youth music education programs, has announced it will soon have its own permanent home in Oracle. The three year old nonprofit is purchasing the former Oracle Masonic Lodge, a 3,600 square foot building for $200,000, according to Elaine Helzer, chairman of the society’s directors.

“This facility gives us not only a performance venue for our Baldwin concert grand piano, its versatile space lends itself to becoming Oracle Arts Center — for music, art, educational lectures and workshops sponsored by us and other community organizations,” said Ms. Helzer.

Previously, Piano Society concerts were held at DesertView Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke. “We appreciate all the support we received from the Center and the entire community,” said Mary Huebner, treasurer, adding “and look forward to possible encore performances at DesertView.” Concerts were also held at Tempe Center for the Arts, music festivals at the Triangle L Ranch Glow and lectures at the Oracle State Park Kannally Ranch House.

Located just off American Avenue on E. Kingston Street, the masonry building features a performance hall with high wood ceiling and moveable seating, a spacious lobby, modern kitchen and large parking area. The purchase is expected to be finalized by January 2016. Improvements to bathrooms and construction of a raised stage to hold the Baldwin piano and musicians will begin shortly after closing. Transporting the pianos and other musical instruments over to their new venue is one of the most important tasks that has to be completed. As if they get damaged on their route over, the damage could be severe. That’s why it is vital that they can find a reliable piano moving company that can transport their piano over in one piece. A company like Piano Movers of Texas would be a great place to start their search. You can go to for more information about what this company offers and to see if you can find something similar.

Dr. Steven Cook, founder and artistic director, revealed preliminary plans for a concert featuring a bassist from the National Symphony Orchestra, performance of a work by Irish composer Dr. Christopher Norby at Biosphere 2 and collaboration with the Biosphere Science Academy.

Major capital fundraisers are being scheduled. Must-attend events will include a white tablecloth dinner and concert in October, piano concert in November and Ravel concert next spring. The goal, of course, is $200,000 with benefactors and major donors joining families, small businesses and individuals from throughout the Tri-Community, the SaddleBrooke communities, Catalina and Oro Valley in achieving the vision of the Oracle Piano Society.

Information is posted on the website: Persons can follow activities on; call 623-295-9677 or write to Oracle Piano Society, P.O. Box 1564, Oracle, Arizona 85623.

Dozens of volunteers in the greater Oracle area, including directors Ms. Helzer, Rachel Opinsky, Mary Huebner, Earlene Lewis and Mark Freshwater, local artists and local businesses and organizations are welcoming this milestone in Oracle’s reputation as a destination for tourists and cultural center for residents of all ages.