By Rev. Terry Harpole, Maben United Methodist Church
Photo right: This is the baby grand piano at Maben United Methodist.
Photo below right: Tiny Little with Lawrence Welk in 1955. Photo credit YouTube.
Unless there should come any bad luck or any happenings, the piano at Maben United Methodist Church, pastored by Rev. Scarlet Shepperd, should still be around after a lot of the current members are gone.
In 1983, when the Rev. Mitchell Thomas was pastor of the Maben Church, a delegation of members was appointed to search for a much needed piano. The appointed committee went to Ridgeland, Mississippi, near Jackson and looked over a stock of Kawai Baby Grand Pianos at the Alegrezza Piano Store.
After looking at all the pianos, it was decided which piano the church should buy-one that would blend in with the sanctuary. After reporting to the board at Maben, a piano was purchased-the church, not knowing all the details that would soon follow.
On the day the piano was delivered a fairly large group of members and the pastor and family were all at the church to see the new piano setup. The crew from Alegrezza's brought the piano into the sanctuary and put it together. After finishing set it up, a member of the crew, said, "Tiny, come on up, and try it."
A heavy set man walked up to the piano and sat and played some of the most beautiful Jazz, popular music and gospel music.
A few of the members asked, who Tiny was, and Tiny, himself told them, he was none other than "Big Tiny Little," one of the baby grand pianists who had been with The Lawrence Welk Orchestra.
Tiny Little, was a part of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, from 1955-59, and died on March 3, 1979.
At the time, the church bought the piano, Tiny was working six months of the year for Alegrezza's in Ridgeland, and the other six months was playing with a jazz band on one of The Mississippi River Queen cruise boats.
After 33 years, this piano has kept its useful look and sound, unlike many people.
The Maben church has long been used for Friday night gospel singings, and as host for The Maben Memorial Gardens Cemetery Memorial, and a lot of pianists from many places enjoy playing this piano and have complimentary remarks about it.
When you walk into any church, you never know about the history of lot of things in the church, but the first person to play the Kawai baby grand piano at Maben United Methodist Church was "Big Tiny Little" of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.