MIDDLETOWN SUNY Orange in Middletown will create an electronic piano lab that will replace 17 traditional pianos with 18 electronic keyboards. The new electronic pianos, expected to be in place for the start of the fall semester, will allow instructors to teach the entire class simultaneously or coach students individually in the same room. At its January meeting, the SUNY Orange Foundation agreed to support the creation of a high-tech piano laboratory for the college’s music program with an $8,000 donation to the project and $11,000 in grants from two other sources. The college will also make modest renovations to Room 32 in Orange Hall, where the pianos are now housed. The purchase of the new pianos is the first step toward creating a new high-tech music classroom/laboratory that will also include iMac computers with MIDI interfaces and music instruction software, and a Smart Board. “This is great news for our music students,” says Mark Strunsky, chair of the College’s Arts and Communication Department. “We are so thankful that the private foundations, along with the SUNY Orange Foundation, realized our need and felt compelled to help us. Technology is a growing force in the music industry, on many levels, and this new lab will allow us to use the latest advances to improve our academic and music instruction.” In addition to the SUNY Orange Foundation’s contribution, the college received a $1,000 grant from the REC Music Foundation in St. Louis, Mo., and a $10,000 grant from an organization that requested anonymity. The college will continue to seek partners to provide funds for the additional technologies needed to complete the laboratory. SUNY Orange has about 80 full- and part-time students who are majoring in music or have declared music as an emphasis in their liberal arts program. In addition, the Arts and Communication Department sponsors a series of performance ensembles, including symphonic band, community orchestra, choir, Madrigal singers, chamber ensemble, jazz ensemble and Apprentice Players. The department oversees two associate degree programs one in music, the other in visual communications technology.