first_imgA unique Vancouver institution that has lit up many lives with saleable skills and career possibilities is about to go dark. After 68 years, the School of Piano Technology for the Blind is preparing to shut down within the next few months.The school’s specialized niche has always drawn students in small numbers, and commencement ceremonies that used to boast six graduates have dwindled in recent years to just two, or even one. There are no students at the school now, executive director Cheri Martin said. The last two graduated in December.“We don’t have students,” she said. “We’ve done well in everything else. There’s no debt. We have strong assets. But we don’t have any students.”All of the nonprofit organization’s assets will be moved into a permanent endowment fund, named for founder Emil Fries, that makes “annual grants to organizations serving the blind and visually impaired community,” according to a statement. That plan was created in cooperation with Fries’ descendants, two of whom remain members of the board of directors. And, the tuning and repair business likely will continue as a private, for-profit business under instructor and technician Leal Sylvester.But the school itself is finished, Martin said. The property at 2510 E. Evergreen Blvd. will be sold, along with approximately 85 pianos and thousands of parts and tools that are still on hand.last_img