PipeChat Digest #4462 - Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Re: Swingin' pipes
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
RE: Fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all
  by "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu>
Swinging in Polite Company
  by <RMB10@aol.com>
Re: "fraudulent" and "unethical" organbuilders
  by <TubaMagna@aol.com>
Re: Shady Pipe Organ Folks
  by "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com>
Re: Handel's Messiah
  by "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com>
Swingin' Pipe Organs
  by <Wuxuzusu@aol.com>
Swingin' pipes
  by <Wuxuzusu@aol.com>
Mack's e-mail address?
  by "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca>
Re: should fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all?
  by <RMaryman@aol.com>
Chris Howerter wins again!
  by "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com>
Re: should fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all?
  by "Andy Lawrence" <andy@ablorgans.com>
Re: [Fwd: (no subject)]
  by <Myosotis51@aol.com>

(back) Subject: Re: Swingin' pipes From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 15:19:02 -0400   On 4/28/04 1:59 PM, "Charlie Lester" <crlester@137.com> wrote:   > I can do gospel [on Hammond OR pipes] as well as any organist, of any = "flava," > if you want to know the truth about it.   Charlie, I think that's just TOO neat! We don't do a lot of "that kind = of thing," but we do it often enough that it never surprises anyone. Our = very classical organist USUALLY uses the piano for it (our organ is "quite" classical), but when he gets down, it's a stunner--and we've got enough folks in the congregation who KNOW the real thing since infancy, and LOVE IT.   Alan    
(back) Subject: RE: Fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all From: "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 15:23:03 -0400   Stan Krider recommends:   > The best suggestion I can add to this discussion is that you or the = church purchase a copy of Barnes' "Contemporary American Organ" and make = sure that the trustees or whomever is/are responsible for organ = maintenance and care read it often (everytime any problem pops up). I am = sure you are familiar with Barnes' work. It is invaluable in the organ = builders' trade.   Advice to study is always in order, but I couldn't assure anyone that = owning and having read this book will turn you into an authority and = either prevent your being fleeced or make you a blameworthy victim if = you are. On the contrary, "A little knowledge [when it is not = recognized for the little it is] is a dangerous thing..." I own this = book and have studied it, but am hardly qualified to be a consultant, = even after almost fifty years of other study and experience. =20   A construction project often has a clerk of the work (at least that is = the traditional term): an engineer or other knowledgeable agent of the = customer, who inspects the building as it is being constructed to ensure = that the materials and labor used by the contractors are up to standard. = If building-building projects need such, even on top of voluminous = statutes and building codes from the government, I don't see how = organ-building projects don't, other than the fact that the bulk of the = organ-building industry has great integrity. But there are exceptions. = =20    
(back) Subject: Swinging in Polite Company From: <RMB10@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 15:39:50 EDT     Charlie wrote: >Yes, with all due respect, the writer is quite wrong in this >regard. I do it every Sunday. So does Monty Bennett. And a >few others who would never admit to it in polite company!   I think that there are more out there who WANT to do it, but think that = the SHOULDN'T do it. Get over it, let your hair down and have fun....more organists need to relax and enjoy the instrument. Congregations would = enjoy the organ a lot more and it might keep some interest piqued towards the pipe organ = and take some interest away from praise bands. Most people only think organs = are for funeral homes (don't get me started on that topic! lol) because of = what is played on them by Left Foot Lucy or Dirgeful Don each week. Let the = people hear them swing once in a while--it could bring a bonus to your paycheck. = I forget who posted a couple of weeks ago, but it was about all the = compliments he had gotten when he played some theatre organ arrangement of an old gospel hymn....he let loose and the people loved it. That's is what I'm talking = about. It doesn't have to be every week, just once in a while....let your hair = down, have some fun. We are all too stuffy. Maybe it's because in my "daytime" =   job as a funeral director that I have to be Mr. Serious, that I need an = outlet to let out some of my goofiness and other emotions, but my music is a way = for me to let out my pent up emotions. God gave us emotions to release, not = to hold in and be stoic. Music is a wonderful way to let them pour from our = souls. Sometimes we need to be serious and emote with wonderful music like Vierne =   and other times, we need to swing with a romp around on an old gospel hymn = with some slushy strings, voxes, a tibia or two, and the trems wailing away!   Monty Bennett    
(back) Subject: Re: "fraudulent" and "unethical" organbuilders From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 16:28:37 EDT   Dear Ms. Hines, et alia: There are always at least two sides to a story (..."Rashamon"...); I = just came from playing a memorial service at a Catholic church in which the = organ presented some symptoms similar to those you describe. The very competent, friendly organist has played this wheezing, = butchered beast every day for three years, and sees nothing wrong with it, = disastrous as it is. Various windchest parts scattered about the floor of the organ = loft, wind leaks, a rumbling blower, a barely functioning, low-budget 1960 = console, teetering neo-baroque pipework gulping on 100-year-old windchests, the = works. When I mentioned to the Pastor that the organ could not have sounded = that badly out of tune unless it had not been tuned in many years, he pointed = to his ear and said, "All I know is what I hear, and it sounds fine." You may find that your organbuilder WANTED to do a good job, but found =   that it was a church that didn't pay its invoices. The church may also = have let him know, through word and action, that they had no interest in the = welfare of the organ. Temporary repairs are often affected by builders who really DO want = the organ to function for the musician on the bench, and they patch and lash together the organ just to forestall the installation of an artificial = device or a banjo-and-tambourine band. They may stick a bulletin in a stopper, or put = an external patch on a reservoir gusset, just to keep the organ going, with = the knowledge that the church will never, ever pay to have it done properly. On the other hand, calling in local people for bids and evaluations = and asking a chatlist full of strangers what to do may not be the best course = of action, either. If your church is truly interested in doing what's right, = call in some builders, regardless of proximity, who come with fine references. = Call those references. See those organs. Play them. Do NOT let an organbuilder tell you that NOTHING is salvageable from = your instrument, as that is almost NEVER truly the case. Even re-using a Pedal Bourdon can save you thousands of dollars. If you think the Great 8' Open Diapason is too big and round for your tastes, it may be just fine in the = Pedal. Vintage Vox Humanas can be found in any landfill, but if order one newly = built, it'll cost you many thousands of dollars. Quarry what you have, and put = your money into mechanical infrastructure. More than anything else, PLAN an organ based upon how it will be used = in the worship service, and what the established organ literature requires of = an organ. Always go for the necessary basics before the luxuries, and make = sure the proper stops are at the right pitches, on the right manuals, with particular attention to which stops are meant to play together, and which = in opposition, as prescribed by centuries of organ repertoire. Otherwise, = it's like buying a house with a bidet in the dining room and your bed in the garage. It sounds like this organ has been screwed with several times, but it ALSO sounds like you have already decided on a combination organ, from = what you have said in a few of your many postings. If you DO go in that direction, you'll be dealing with two builders and two service companies, neither of = which will truly be able to appreciate the other side of the bizarre equation. = Any decision you make regarding such an instrument is NOT for you. It is a = decision for the church, its parishioners, and future generations. Please make the right one.   Sebastian M. Gluck New York City   ..  
(back) Subject: Re: Shady Pipe Organ Folks From: "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 18:01:04 -0400     On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 10:50:08 -0700 Charlie Lester <crlester@137.com> writes: > In defense of Desir=E9e [not that she needs defending, of > course!], I point to the experience my church had back in > the 1960s when they set about purchasing a new pipe organ. > They were, essentially, HAD by a swindler. > completely revised specification.) >       We have "straightened out" a number of botched jobs over the years. In several instances we actually opened lines of communication with the "perp."   I have not yet run into a crook.   What I have discovered is that there are far too many poorly trained people in the field who have very high ideals and aspirations.   These builders get in over their heads with projects that they are not equipped to handle. Their "pride" prevents them from explaining the real situation. Stories of pipework in shipping containers etc. are very true, but the money problem started way back with a budget price, and an inability to design, organize and complete a job. They tend to "finish" jobs using capital from the down payment for the next. Or worse, they overprice the next job "for the good of the name of the pipe organ as an instrument of worship."   I know of at least three such men who ended up with nervous breakdowns and substance abuse problems as a result of the worry over completing jobs for which they had such high aspirations, and too little talent or funds.   These people have such high aspirations, that the power of denial reigns, and they cannot see that their own lack of experience is the real source of the trouble.   The A.I.O exists (in part) for the purpose of certifying builders. This is a great step ahead, but unfortunately I fear it may not work. It certainly has not worked out in the Piano Technician's Guild.   There is at least one organ builder who passed his AIO exam with flying colors, who builds unreliable junk.   The best possible way for a committee to proceed is probably to visit and audition several previous projects by the builder and really talk to the clients. It is also imperative to negotiate a payment schedule in which the equity is always balanced.   I believe that if I wished to make a living by nefarious means, I would be smart enough to realize that the organ building field is not the best place to make a quick buck. A degree in Art History would get me further. (Sorry, I apologize to the art historians out there, but I'll bet you know what I mean).       Jim  
(back) Subject: Re: Handel's Messiah From: "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 17:21:29 -0500       Blair Anderson wrote:   >On 4/27/04 9:31 PM, "First Christian Church of Casey, IL" <kzrev@rr1.net> >wrote: > > > >>Colin asked about Handel's Messiah being performed originally in a = secular >>venue. Some of you have a lot more music background than I, but I = remember >>being told (College music apprec?) that his style was considered "too >>secular" for a church venue at the time he wrote it. >> >> > >There was a great deal of controversy surrounding Handel's choral works = at >the time, particularly from The Church of England for what they = considered >his notorious practice of writing biblical dramas such as "Esther" and >"Israel in Egypt" to be performed in secular theatres, not in churches. > The opposition mainly came from the Evangelical wing of the Church of England, notably the Rev. John Newton of "Amazing grace" fame. The High Churchmen (known later by the Tractarians as the old "High and Dry" party) and the liberals (known in those days as the Latitudinarians) didn't have any problem with it.   There is some reason to suppose that what Handel would really have liked to compose was Italian-style operas, but these would have been just too much for respectable society in eighteenth-century England, so biblical oratorios were the next best thing. Handel was not the only composer to do this. Both John Stanley and Maurice Greene, for example, composed oratorios called "Jephthah". Some of these have survived, and it would be interesting to revive them.   > As the first notes of the >triumphant "Hallelujah Chorus" rang out, the King rose. > It is not entirely clear whether this was out of respect for the music or as a result of his sciatica troubling him, but nevertheless the King did rise, and the rest of the audience followed suit. Having suffered from sciatica myself I could sympathize with the King!   John Speller        
(back) Subject: Swingin' Pipe Organs From: <Wuxuzusu@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 19:51:43 EDT   Greetings Monty,   Do you have any recordings of yourself for others of us to listen to? What =   Fats did with that 1910 Estey in Camden, NJ, is nothing but awesome. I'd = love to hear someone else today who can play like that. Stan Krider   In a message dated 04/28/2004 3:20:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, = RMB10@aol.com writes: Stan Krider wrote: >I work for a pipe organ company, yet I am a fan of the electronic instruments >when they better suit the situation in which the church finds itself. = Except >for the famous Fats Waller, no (I may be wrong, however) church organist = can >make pipes swing the way the Hammond organ can.   Trust me, it can be done....and it is done weekly in a few churches, and surprisingly, there are a couple of white organists who do it, too! (I = speak from first hand experience LOL) However, it helps when you've got the right = kind of instrument on which to play--a neo-baroque squawk box doesn't quite cut =   it, but a Romantic slushophone or anything with some theatre organ stops will work just fine, thank you very much.   Monty Bennett Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Charlotte, NC    
(back) Subject: Swingin' pipes From: <Wuxuzusu@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:16:36 EDT   Greetings list,   Let's stick with reading the postings, and not presume to read the minds of=20 those doing the postings, folks.   I also believe that the respondee to my posting "may have made the mistake o= f=20 assuming that" I knew (or even cared about) the race of a fellow list member= ..=20 I was discussing the abilities of organists to make use of the instruments=20 they play according to the type of music their worship experience calls for.= To=20 spell it out, Fats Waller played an electro-pneumatic Estey pipe organ in th= e=20 most swinging style ever recorded, and his work stands today as the epitome=20= of=20 swing pipe organ. I'm talking stride bass, swing style, folks. Sydney Torch=20 came close, however.   Note I also stated "I may be wrong." Many good organists hide their lights=20 under a bushel simply because... (fill in the blank).   I think I can absolutely state that no pipe organist has ever RECORDED the=20 pipe organ in as swinging a style as Fats did. If any of you think you can p= lay=20 a "mean" swinging pipe organ, please record your work, and let us judge for=20 ourselves.=20   Stan Krider     In a message dated 04/28/2004 3:20:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time,=20 pipechat@pipechat.org writes: Subject: Swingin' pipes From: "Charlie Lester" <crlester@137.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 10:59:59 -0700   =3D-> I work for a pipe organ company, yet I am a fan of the=20 electronic instruments when they better suit the situation=20 in which the church finds itself. Except for the famous Fats=20 Waller, no (I may be wrong, however) church organist can=20 make pipes swing the way the Hammond organ can. <-=3D     Yes, with all due respect, the writer is quite wrong in this=20 regard. I do it every Sunday. So does Monty Bennett. And a=20 few others who would never admit to it in polite company!   n.b., I believe the writer may have made the mistake of=20 assuming that because Desir=E9e is African-American, she is a=20 gospel-organist. I don't believe that is the case! Any more=20 than when people assume that I, a "regulation issue" white=20 guy, play only classical music on a pipe organ. I can do=20 gospel [on Hammond OR pipes] as well as any organist, of any=20 "flava," if you want to know the truth about it.    
(back) Subject: Mack's e-mail address? From: "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:24:04 -0400   Can anyone send me Mack's e-mail address?   Thanks,   Bob Conway    
(back) Subject: Re: should fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all? From: <RMaryman@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 21:00:44 EDT   In a message dated 4/27/2004 10:34:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time, nicemusica@yahoo.com writes: what type of combo action was new in 1970? Solid State..right? So the people we work with said that the old type was new in 1970 (i think = i have read it asbeing "tripper") was new...ya know...the type where you = hold the piston...give it a little shove and the stop "clicks" to set in place.   Miss D   well, the truth here is that in 1970 solid-state combination systems were = in their infancy and NOT reliable by today's standards. Most new consoles = being built in 1970 would have either had the "tripper" system (push and hold = piston while setting/clearing stops) or the Reisner Remote Combination system (or =   variations thereof) which was a mechanical nightmare to rehabilitate if = they ever got out of adjustment! Wicks also had an electro-mechanical combination system (in use since the mid 1950's) in a remote box, usually co-located = with the relay boxes. and there were the switchboard setter systems for all = electric consoles made before the advent of reliable solid-state storage systems.   Rick in VA    
(back) Subject: Chris Howerter wins again! From: "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:12:38 -0500   I am forwarding this on behalf of Stephen Roberts who isn't on this list but since Chris is Stephen asked that I post it for him.   CONGRATULATIONS Chris!!   David ************************************************************************ Dear List,   Christopher Howerter, a subscriber to several organ lists, just received word that he won the M. Louise Miller Scholarship Competition sponsored by the Bridgeport CT chapter of the AGO. Entrants submitted recordings of their playing, recommendations, and an essay. The prize is a $1,000 scholarship and a recital for the Bridgeport chapter in the upcoming season. Chris won over several excellent contestants, including a student who is a junior at Juilliard. Chris' audition tape including the Bach Fantaisie and Fugue in c minor, BWV 537, and the "Prelude, Fugue, et Variation" of Franck. M. Louise Miller, for whom the competition is named, is still very much alive. Ms. Miller was a prominent and very distinguished church musician in the Bridgeport area for many years, and is still active in the AGO chapter there as far as I know.   Chris has been my student since late last summer, and he's made tremendous progress in that time. Chris is a very talented and hard working young man, who really loves the organ and church music. I'm very proud of Chris, as you all can well imagine. This is the second competition that Chris has won in the past couple of months. In March Chris won the Charlotte Hoytt Bagnall competition, also here in CT. Chris will be a freshman in my organ class at Western Connecticut State University this fall. He's competing in several other competitions over the next few months, so with any luck, we may have some other good news soon. Stay tuned....   Stephen Roberts Western CT State University, Danbury, CT  
(back) Subject: Re: should fraudulent and unethical companies bare it all? From: "Andy Lawrence" <andy@ablorgans.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:38:51 -0500   Don't worry, Desiree', we're with you on this! It really does sound like you are dealing with one of many organs that was dealt with badly. In = fact, the way you have described it, it sounds like not only did he (or they?) make temporary fixes and call it a restoration, but worse, actually did a rebuild with additions and changes, without thinking of longevity. He actually had the organ apart, giving opportunity to fix it right, but instead put it back together piecemeal.   Stepping back, though, in the grand scheme of things, I see a lot of = organs get replaced (either by an electronic or another pipe organ) because of = the high cost of restoring the old, when the old really could have gotten by = for a long time with a few repairs. Sure, if money were no object, you'd restore every organ from top to bottom and be done with it, or replace = with new if the old is not suitable. Not all budgets allow for it. I think = the main problem in this one case (and it happens all the time), that makes it =   shady and wasteful, is that the effort and money required for a real restoration was spent, and yet the real restoration wasn't done. When I = do things to try to postpone a full restoration, the idea is to avoid major = and costly disassembly. This buys the congregation time to save for the major =   restoration later, and allows them to enjoy the organ in the meantime. = It's basic economics... the longer you can postpone spending money, the better off you are... there's an official term for this but its been a while = since I've taken an economics course! Theoretically you can invest the money = now in something that appreciates (and organs do not appreciate) instead of spending it, and have more later. Of course, this assumes your investment =   can beat inflation. Historically and statistically, it usually does. = Also, everything has a lifespan, and the sooner you replace your old pair of sneakers, the sooner you'll have to replace it again. Same goes for organs. If a restoration will last 60 years, and you can postpone that restoration 20 years, that second restoration is 80 years away instead of 60. But if you have to take the organ all apart, you might as well fix everything before putting it back together. This was not done in this case. He did major work, spent big money, yet left it unrestored. Bad. = In saying this I am trusting you that your story is true and unbiased.   One thing we never did was answer the original question, which I think = was, is there any recourse? Someone did mention that there may be no legal recourse if there was a contract and it was followed. But do we have a = way of getting bad technicians and builders away from organs? I actually do = not know the answer. Here in the Northeast region of the US, there is a lot = of bickering among organbuilders and technicians, and its hard to sort out = what is a real problem and what is just strong opinion. For example, I know = one restorer who insists on leather nuts on old tracker organs, while I worked =   for someone who always replaced them with plastic because you can use a power tool to install them, making the job much less costly in labor. Guy =   (1) says guy (2) is unscrupulous. Opinion, in my opinion. Both parties have a point. Neither is dead wrong. Will the leather last longer? Maybe. Is the extra hassle worth it? Not sure. But we have had our = share of butchers who have left wheezing organs and penniless congregations in their wake. Can anything be done? I don't really know the answer, other than try to get there before they do. One problem is, as someone = mentioned, that most of these people are truly not out to screw people, but really think they can do the job, they love organs and want to save them, but get =   in over their head. This can happen to the biggest and best too (Moller, Aeolean-Skinner, name any big one that isn't around any more).   This will be my last post on this subject, just wanted to get in a few = final points. I hope I haven't offended anyone as a relative newbie to this room! I look forward to reading more if anyone has more (and different) input. I've enjoyed this discussion, its a topic near and dear to me. I think the issue of the _affordability_ of the pipe organ is key to its future, and its one of my pet issues. Full restorations and replacements are expensive and worth postponing when possible. But bad repairs can be even more expensive.   Andy     On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 08:29:38 -0700 (PDT), T.Desiree' Hines wrote > Paul > you said this very eloquently! > I agree whole-heartedly. This is EXACTLY what this company > did...poorly designd the organ to where no one over 200 LBS can get > in to tune or work on it. And they shoved 30 pounds of s&&& into a 3 > pound box. Im sorry, I still think they have done unethical work. > > Its a pipe organ folks...a PIPE ORGAN. And in my opinion, you don't > take cheap ways out looking at the fact that you have to buy milk > and bread tomorrow. Do one job, really well, and move on to the > next...that keeps you in business. Repairing things little by little > and making excuses as to polution in a city ruining leather, parking > thats totally free and off street, and all other blahzay stuff aside, > still, if some of the organ builders saw the work that was done (or > not done) they would be embarrassed. You dont take a pipe...and > glue...a piece of LEATHER TO IT to keep it from wiggling in a > toeboard thats too damned big. Ah, h$$$. I give up. LOL. I > dunno...my teachers have just always taught me that organs are > delicate and special and such harsh treatment ot them is just > uncalled for. > > Desiree'   A.B.Lawrence Pipe Organ Service PO Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 (802)578-3936 Visit our website at www.ablorgans.com  
(back) Subject: Re: [Fwd: (no subject)] From: <Myosotis51@aol.com> Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 21:38:46 EDT   Hello mixture@erols.com,     In reference to your comment: Hi Again; Final price reduction as my new 3 manual will arrive next =   week.   It is a great home, practice or chapel instrument. Details are:   2 manual, Digital, Model 702 Rodgers 1997, Electronic organ with = full compliment (2 large, 2 medium) of external speakers. Light Oak finish on = all. Full AGO pedalboard. Excellent condition. over 30 stops, couplers, 4 combination memory levels with 10 generals, etc., on each, many other = features include tuning and transposer,headphones which cut off all speakers. Organ will accept and is prepared for MIDI. (My MIDI unit is not for sale) Organ can accommodate pipes! Original purchase price was $24,988. Now asking $11,300 = with slight room for negotiations. Must act before unit is traded in. Feel free to forward this to your organ friends.   Roger Castellani 212-255-2044     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is in the NYC area, judging by the area code.     Victoria