Dennis Tavernetti moved to Greenville over 30 years ago, due to a merger of two large paper companies. Having lived with his family only in major cities, including NYC, all which had abundant museums and performing arts, he almost said “no thanks” to the offer. Instead, he moved to Greenville and helped grow the local business from $15 million dollars to $500 million, before he retired as its head 12 years ago and was on the boards of both the Peace Center and Warehouse Theatre.
Dennis’ interest in the arts was the result of both his family’s financial ability to travel to art destinations in much larger cities as well as his mother’s love of the arts.
Every Sunday afternoon, Dennis and his brother, were required to report to the sunroom for 2 hours of culture exposure. It was the first time he was exposed to opera, with Lilly Pons singing via 78 rpm records and reading a treasure book series about famous operas, and listening to classical music of all types, including piano.
When he was exposed to the piano via those 78’s, he decided he wanted to do that. So, at age 9 he began, hired a music teacher and by 91/2 he was done! He discovered his love of music had nothing to do with his ability to create it, but in listening, learning and sharing all he knew with others.
His association with the Carolina Music Muesum began one intermission at a concert, when Tom Strange showed him some early concept drawings of the museum. He was intrigued, both by the concept and the individual who had collected over 40 early stringed keyboards. He became a volunteer docent because he knew it was an opportunity not only to support the endeavor, but to learn more about music he loved and the instruments he knew he never could play!
Lastly, one day, he looked around the museum, and seeing all the keyboards, he knew the museum was missing something…. sheet music! So, he began a search for authentic original 1750-1850 period sheet music that would correspond to the collection. The result is the Tavernetti Sheet Music Collection which is in the new CMM Library.
Dennis typically gives Docent Tours of the Museum’s collection every Saturday from 10 to 12 noon. Be sure you tell him how much time you have…or be prepared to stay awhile.