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HPU thanks donors for support of piano lab project

BROWNWOOD – July 23, 2020 – Howard Payne University recently announced the completion of fundraising for updates to the Department of Music’s piano lab. The piano lab is used by all music majors and minors as part of the requisite semesters of piano instruction.

Updates to the facility will provide students and faculty with the equipment needed to meet the high standards of the Department of Music. Lab updates will include the addition of one digital instructor piano and 12 digital student pianos integrated through software that will allow for wireless control and interfacing during individual and group instruction.

Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, professor of music at HPU for nearly 30 years and current adjunct music instructor, expressed her appreciation for donors’ support of the project.

“I am so grateful for all the donors who have made our new piano lab possible,” she said. “Our current and future teachers and students are going to benefit greatly from this wonderful new piano lab. Communication between instructors and students, testing, ensemble playing, improvisation and even individual practice will now be much more effective and enjoyable. Thank you to our donors for giving so that HPU can continue providing a Christ-centered education to young men and women.”

Many music alumni contributed to the project in honor of the work and dedication of Patricia Banks, professor of music at HPU from 1991 to 2007. Banks emphasized the essential role the lab has in students’ instruction.

“The piano lab is vital to students in the Department of Music,” she said. “It provides professors a better way to deliver instruction, giving students a measure of expertise that they can build on throughout their careers.”

Dr. Wallace spoke to the legacy that Banks left through her work in the Department of Music.

“Ms. Banks poured energy and creativity into every class she taught,” said Dr. Wallace. “She demanded excellence of herself and her students. She prayed for and with her classes. She was a model of Christ-centered teaching.”

In addition to contributions from numerous benefactors, the Rea Charitable Trust and Mr. Ben and Mrs. Bertha Mieth were important contributors to the project.

Mr. and Mrs. Mieth gave to the project in honor of Kent Barnes, a 1982 HPU graduate and current associate pastor of music and senior adults at First Baptist Church Glen Rose. The Mieths have close ties to HPU, with two generations of family members as alumni.

The Rea Charitable Trust was created in 2009 in honor of Isabel McClintic Rea with the goal of promoting the arts. Rea was born into a well-known Midland ranching family. She attended high school in Midland and majored in music at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. Later, she married and returned to Midland, becoming known as one of the area’s most talented pianists.

To learn about more ways to support HPU’s mission to deliver Christ-centered education to students, please contact the HPU Office of Institutional Advancement at 325-649-8006 or, or visit


Cutline: The Davidson Music Complex houses the Howard Payne University piano lab.