PipeChat Digest #693 - Sunday, February 7, 1999
Re: Fw: Re:playing to distraction
  by "Travis Evans" <tle6399@seward.cune.edu>
Kids, organs, practice, etc.
  by "Bud/burgie" <budchris@earthlink.net>
Re: Re. Playing to distraction(wdavis)
  by <GRSCoLVR@aol.com>
Re: Blowers
  by <GRSCoLVR@aol.com>
Suffer the little children
  by <WRansomeJr@aol.com>
Re: Fw: Fw: Re:playing to distraction(rick)
  by <GRSCoLVR@aol.com>
Re: Questions about practice...
  by <WRansomeJr@aol.com>

(back) Subject: Re: Fw: Re:playing to distraction From: Travis Evans <tle6399@seward.cune.edu> Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 00:16:14 -0500 (CDT)   This is how my interest started. I was 3 and would go with my mom to the adult choir practice when dad was out of town on business. I would watch the organists every move. I remember the first time he let me sit on the bench next to him, he even allowed me to play a couple of notes. That was 19 years ago, and I am now studying organ at Concordia University-Seward. I appreciate the opportunity I had, and it has led to me being able to experience such a wonderful instrument. I hope one day I can also be a part of introducing a young musician to the organ.   On Sat, 6 Feb 1999, V. David Barton wrote:   > I have to agree with Dr. Siegel. About a year ago, I was just finishing > playing my postlude, and I looked down to see a little boy of perhaps 4 or 5 > standing there, quietly as can be, next to the console, watching me > intently. So, I reached down and hoisted him up on the bench, and spent a > few minutes showing him the various stops and letting him touch the keys and > see for himself how easy it was to make the different sounds. The wonder > and amazement in this kid was absolutely fascinating.    
(back) Subject: Kids, organs, practice, etc. From: Bud/burgie <budchris@earthlink.net> Date: Sat, 06 Feb 1999 22:49:45 -0800   Despite the fact that the console at St. Matthew's is on the main floor in the back, I've only had one young man display any interest ... he usually stands rapt (at a safe distance) until I've finished the postlude. I've invited him to try the organ, but he's too shy. Earnest Young Rector's oldest, on the other hand, regularly pounds the stuffing out of the Kawai spinet organ in the parish hall ... he even occasionally practices his piano pieces on it. But I'm sure his father has instilled such an awe of what goes on in "big church" that he'd NEVER come near the Mighty Hammond without encouragement and Daddy's permission.   The congregation can't tell the difference when the Hammond's broken and I have to play the Kawai ... an organ's an organ to them (sigh).   I've occasionally organized chamber tours, etc., in churches where I've been blessed with a pipe organ ... one never knows whether or not exercises like that bear fruit later.   St. Matthew's is a high Anglican church. I have something on the order of forty-five minutes of choral music to prepare every week. I play a quiet five-minute prelude and a two-minute postlude. If I'm lucky, I have time to spend a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon on the organ music; otherwise, it's from seven to seven-thirty on Sunday morning, at which time Earnest Young Rector arrives to practice chanting the Psalm for the Day. Given the limitations of the Mighty Hammond, I DON'T spend a lot of time on organ music ... the Squirrelly Cantorum is a lot more fun, and a lot more rewarding. I often improvise the postlude at Mass; I practically always improvise the prelude AND postlude at Evensong.   Here's a sobering statistic from the latest Organ Historical Society journal. The thirty-five members of one of the American pipe-organ-builders' associations produced among them less that one hundred organs in 1998; on the other hand, Allen Organs sells ONE-THIRD of the church organs sold in the WORLD, has a payroll of over six hundred workers in the factory, and makes "tens of millions of dollars".   The author made a valid point: in the 1800s, small churches bought small, standardized "catalog" organs from builders such as Hinners, Estey, and Hook and Hastings. Those that couldn't afford pipe organs bought reed organ "substitutes", which Estey skillfully camouflaged with fake "pipe tops" ... no more dishonest than the local toaster dealer's facade of silent pipes to hide his speakers. The reed organs were the electronic substitutes of their day.   He also points out that the discussion is no longer about when the electronics will win, but rather a retrospective of when it actually happened. Most churches (and not a few organists) when faced with choosing between a divided one-manual pipe organ of five stops and a three-manual electronic will choose the latter, for good or for ill. I myself am torn between tracking down, moving, restoring and installing a used three or four-manual romantic pipe organ, or calling the local you-know-who dealer and ordering up a custom four-manual organ with English cathedral voicing and all the whistles and bells, which will take approximately two months to build and approximately a week to install and "voice" in our new church.   I suppose the best builders will survive, and produce a few fine pipe organs for large, important churches and halls, but I'm afraid (Organ Clearing House notwithstanding) that the day of the pipe organ in small and medium-sized churches is pretty much past.   Bud Clark    
(back) Subject: Re: Re. Playing to distraction(wdavis) From: GRSCoLVR@aol.com Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 01:52:13 EST   What a wonderful recollection about your *beginnings* in organ!!! Thanks for sharing!! Yes, I honestly believe that if we as organists and even as technicians, dont go out and *propagate the faith* (regards the love for the instrument and what it stands for) the next generations are going to be a bit thin IMHO! My first playing of the organ--- I was asked by my sunday school superintendent to talk to the organist (70 years old) , (me- 12 YO) and to try for permission to play the church organ for Childrens Day services. He agreed (could the fact that I had started organ as well as continuing piano with him made a difference ;-) All would have gone very smoothly except I got a horrible case of poison ivy 2 days before that service,,,I played anyway, but my friends all called me "mummy" for several weeks cause of all the calamine lotion and a couple of bandages. The picture taken of me at the console of our 3/~50 Austin left a bit to be desired in my opinion,,but,,,it happened anyway. Would others on the list like to share their "first" experiences with the organ? I think this thread is very interesting.   Regards, --Roc  
(back) Subject: Re: Blowers From: GRSCoLVR@aol.com Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 01:54:40 EST   John----could you get the wind pressure and/or number of fans off the case plate please? Thanks,,,, --Roc  
(back) Subject: Suffer the little children From: WRansomeJr@aol.com Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 01:57:03 EST   I am so thankful as a youngster that I was allowed free access to our venerable old 1925 Skinner organ. How the office personnel put up with umpteen "by ear" versions of Amazing Grace on full organ and still managed to smile at me and be encouraging I'll never know, but I am so very thankful. I'll never turn a soul away young or old who shows even the slightest interest.   I remember once coming home for a weekend from college, and stopping at the big RC Church in Cullman, AL to see the mighty Austin (it was really the fabulous acoustics and a chance to experience a pipe organ in these conditions that drew me). I found a Priest and inquired whether I could play the organ for a few minutes. "Oh, no," I was informed at once, "that is quite impossible, we were told not to let anybody play it." I quickly told him that I was studying organ in college and that my teacher was "Betty Louise Lumby," thinking that would open the door. His reply: "she is the one who told us not to let anyone play it!"   'nuf said!  
(back) Subject: Re: Fw: Fw: Re:playing to distraction(rick) From: GRSCoLVR@aol.com Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 02:12:55 EST   I am with you Rick! I have seen that exact scenerio a whole lot it seems lately,,,Children whappin their little fists on the keys and yanking on drawknobs for all they are worth,,,all the while the parental units are standing there saying nothing and smiling that beatific smile that says, *isnt my kid just great*. If the parents won't exercise control,,I have no problem telling them to wait until they are invited to try the organ. I dont think its right to *turn them off* but why suffer damage or potential damage, to say nothing of making yourself look like a fool to *management*.   Regards, --Roc  
(back) Subject: Re: Questions about practice... From: WRansomeJr@aol.com Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 03:22:44 EST   In a message dated 2/6/99 11:57:35 PM Pacific Standard Time, mreeves@vzinet.com writes: > If you play for Services on a weekly, or regular basis, what do you do to > prepare when you have many other activities (jobs, responsibilities, etc.) > during the week? Do you have rigid practice times? If so, how long and > how often? How far ahead do you plan your literature for a Sunday Service? > Do you spend much time on technical studies?   I am so glad to hear the same concerns I am facing. Mine are a little different from yours. When I was a part-time musician, I spent most of my time practicing! The other duties took very little effort.   Now that I have a "bigger" position, I find that I spend the majority of my time planning, in meetings (staff meeting, worship committee, music committee, choir officers - you name it), writing articles, pointing psalms, etc. I recently reorganized the handbell choir, and the only time was 7-8 p.m., right before our 8-10 p.m. choir rehearsal. I am just not able to focus in on the choir after an hour of handbells!   I have been a last minute *organ* izer since I have been here. And sight reading more than hymns or uncomplicated anthems is not my strong point! Twice I have burned the night oil because of inadequate rehearsal time! It just seems that something always comes up just when I think I will get to the console, finally!   I have just this week made a schedule of practice time, an hour each day - and I am publishing it among the other staffers, and I am going to stick to it save for an emergency! I can't tell you how much I miss the therapy of regular practice! I think it's just something we have to claim for ourselves. I certainly don't have a good excuse for lack of practice when I have the luxury of a "full time" church music position! But I am going to work very hard to change this in my case.   But I can sympathize. Even here time constraints are demanding. I have youth choirs and I am part youth director and am expected to build relationships with the kids and be available for them (not in the job description!) Adult choristers pop in for a chat every now and then. I am thankful for the pastoral side of my ministry and I know how important it is in building community. But I have decided to take charge and prioritize - I came here to be a choir director and organist first, and these things have to get first priority! Thanks for letting me vent!   Randy terry