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Thread: Organ donations

  1. #1
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Organ donations

    This is probably the only thread I'll ever start in the Pipe Organ Forum,
    and it's not about any aspect of music.
    I was reading about, as my father would say, a fellow countryman,
    and it turns out he donated over 7,000 organs to churches and concert halls.

    Who could that wild and global organ lover be?

  2. #2
    Commodore con Forza
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    It sounds like daydreaming to me. He (she??) would have to be a multi-zillionaire to do it. That's assuming it was sometime in relatively recent history.

    Back in about the mid-1950's I was told that the (then) relatively recent re-building of the Mormon Tabernacle organ had cost about $1,000 per rank. and I've seen that the total was about $125,000. That would have been in about 1948. I recently saw that the one in the new Conference Center was budgeted at something over $3,000,000. We don't all have the LDS Church's money, for sure. And there were a few decades of inflation to count.

    If there really is such a person, I'm sure we would have heard all about it long ago. 7,000 organs would take quite a while, and by about #25 or so, that person would have a world-wide reputation.

  3. #3
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    My organs are not worth donating.....
    I don’t want a signature any more

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  5. #4
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Yes there are still good folks out there who share. I have known a number of people who have donated organs to churches and schools.BUT REMEMBER many are electronics and not 1000's of dollars worth of pipes too. I had one to play for many years a 3 manual custom Johannus donated by 2 families and was over $50,000.00 in 1982.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    It's true ... found an article on Andrew Carnegie, commemorating him as the "Greatest Philanthropist in History".

    The article does not specify 'pipe organs' ... just says "7,000 organs".

  7. #6
    Commodore con Forza
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    Were there electronics in Andrew Carnegie's day? My understanding is that Hammonds first came along about 1935, and others came along later. Carnegie was largely known for donating his famous libraries.

    The monster at First Congregational L. A. has been largely donated over a number of years. The Schlicker is about 1969, and there have been some further additions. I've read that pretty much the same is true of the Cadet Chapel organ. So no one is denying that this happens -- it's just that one person donating 7,000 organs of any type sounds a bit far-fetched. The Schonstein organ at First-Plymouth in Lincoln NE was donated by a foundation. So there are ways of doing things if there is sufficient interest.

  8. #7
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Yeah, Krummhorn got it, and I'm sorry if my typing in "pipe organs" was confusing.
    It was an honour for me, changing the exterior lettering as a sign-painter,
    on the Carnegie donated library in my home town.
    It took reading a new book about Scottish history to find this out myself.

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  10. #8
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    . . . Hammonds first came along about 1935 . . .
    I wish they hadn't ... ... I, personally, do not even consider the Hammond to be an "organ" at all - I loathe their sound, so sterile and with that horrid key attack and release sound. Actually, those were called 'electric' organs ... since sound was generated via a tone wheel and not by transistors, diodes and resistors. Then that sinister vibrato ... yin-yin-yin-yin-yin ... eeuuuchhhhhh. Had to play one of these abominations for a wedding years ago ... the 'vibrato' could not be turned off ... imagine the Mendelssohn being played with full vibrato at the end of the service. I swore then to never, ever, touch those 'machines'.

    The fun thing with Hammond's was to hold down a chord and flip the power switch off, then on again ... that bended the pitch as the tone wheels slowed then sped up again.

    Contrary to popular belief, the pipe organ consoles with reversed colored keys were not inspired by Hammond ... (Hammond's presets were reversed colored).

  11. #9
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    I gotta confess, that "breathy", kinda windy sound of some Hammond stops,
    is one of the basic music tones in my mind, something I go for on electric guitar.
    I owned the largest rotating speaker cabinet, until I got a phase shifter that worked better.
    And the Presbyterian Church my parents were founding members of, my mother and I in the choir,
    bought a new Hammond organ and hired a musical director to play and conduct.

    Hearing the vibrato speed up and slow down is almost as much fun as flipping the power switch.
    My stereo amplifier works the same way with volume and added 9-volt battery juice.
    I still don't understand the special oil in the tone wheel of a Hammond organ.

    Krummhorn! For your own musical and physical safety,
    I heartily recommend that you never attend any rave or electronica dance parties.
    More than half of that music is single note ditty-bopping with that windy Hammond stop,
    to incessant 4/4 digital, uh, drumming.
    You might not want to surf the crowd, but you might be passed out the side door.
    Last edited by John Watt; Jan-16-2013 at 20:11.

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  13. #10
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Lars..not a bit fan of Hammond either. My first organ teacher had a big Hammond church model in her home...back in Kansas in those days 1950's that was a big deal. not bad for pop music but not for classical for me.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

  14. #11
    Commodore con Forza
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    I'll admit to having played my share of Hammonds over the years. In fact, a few months ago I played a memorial service at an Elks lodge with a Hammond - something of an 'old acquaiintance' thing. There was a time when they were almost as common as fleas.

    Although they went by various model designations, traditionally there were three of them -- "Home", "Church" and "Concert". "Home" and "Church" were the same except for furniture dresssing. "Concert" had a 32-note pedalboard, the only one that did. But I'm sure no one ever pretended that they sounded anything close to a pipe organ. I never saw one on which the 'vibrato' could not be turned off. And the 'vibrato' had about three degrees of intensity, if you please.

    Eventually, before the company's demise, there were some last models that had 'stops' in the form of the ubiquitous 'tabs'. And many of the older models had no labelling on the reverse-colored 'preset' keys. Hopefully, they had instruction books.

    Modern 'electronic' organs certainly come a lot closer to the real thing. But as they always say, the most important stop on an organ is the room it plays in. Then there's the one that more lives have been 'saved' on the Vox Humana than any other stop.

    Many times, we find ourselves playing what is available under the circumstances. Not always ideal, but we manage.

  15. #12
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Eddy Layton, "No Blues on This Cruise", was a hot Hammond recording.
    Hammonds, with their active rhythm section, were an instrument unto themselves,
    until rock musicians started chopping off the wood and hauling them around,
    or using the bass pedals onstage while the bassist played a synth.

  16. #13
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    I seem to remember that Woody Herman used an Organ in some of his recordings
    I don’t want a signature any more

  17. #14
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    . . . Many times, we find ourselves playing what is available under the circumstances. Not always ideal, but we manage.
    So true ... and I've had many a 'frightening' experience over the years. Once with a pipe organ with red stickers on the keys that ciphered or didn't play.

    There was a 'Thomas' organ I had to play as a substitute organist one weekend - there was no possible way to even see the organ before the day of the services (they said to me: "well, it's an organ - and you are an organist ... you just play it) and I had 30 minutes before the service to shake hands with this strange organ with all kinds of lighted buttons, graphic displays, and a 25 note pedalboard to boot.

    All went pretty well once I found out how to turn off the stupid vibrato so I could play Jesu, Joy of Mans' Desiring during communion.

    Lars

  18. #15
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    Krummhorn! At my last residence, that had a garage, I bought a Thomas Organ,
    with the 95 page manual, a box of music, and the bench, all looking new.
    They were asking $20 so I paid $25.
    The lighted buttons, and could have been keys, with the graphic displays,
    probably means you had the "Happy Feet" options,
    that allowed the rhythm machine to time itself with your chord patterns,
    or played your chords with a pulse that timed with the beat box.
    I got into it, but it didn't have 4/4.
    Jimi Hendrix used a Thomas Organ tone pedal as a wah-wah,
    until he got a company to make him "crybaby" wah-wahs.

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