from Mounds, Oklahoma USA

Hello, everyone!

My name is Mark, I live in Oklahoma, the southwestern United States, in a small rural town of less than 1500 population.
My wife and I operate a small specialty produce farm and I have a modest studio,
"The Dogwood and Brier". "Desmond Crawford" is my "nom de guerre" (lol),
my performer name. Mr. Jesse Crawford,
the "Poet of the Organ" and "Wizard of the Mighty Wurlitzer", along with Gaylord Carter, are two famous theater organists
who have inspired me to pursue my interest in Theater Organ, and music in general!

While the "genuine article", namely pipe organs, are within driving distance in larger cities, it is hard sometimes to get
access to them and practice because of
where they are located, usually in churches or schools and universities.
When I can I like to plan time with a real
instrument, there is nothing like it!

In my home studio I "rescue" and repair analogue electronic organs, as I can. I
can tell you that finding a new home for
one that is unwanted is a hard thing to do. Not many people want a home organ anymore, even a piano sometimes! My organs are a Conn 651 Theater model and a Hammond RT-2 "concert" model.
Both had issues and needed a home besides a dumpster, and I had to give them one. The Conn had a pair of 255/256 speaker sets and the Hammond
had four(!) H-40 tone cabinets and two 122RV Leslies as it was installed in a church. Both played- barely!

After getting service literature for both, and some tools, I set about the task of putting them back to playing condition. I'm happy to report that the Hammond is awaiting refinish of
its bench and console, it has been completely rebuilt and upgraded to -3 series spec with all new discrete components throughout, new smooth drawbars instead of the "ratchet" variety,
the original Hammond percussion and AO-28 preamplifier. Its tone generator has been recapped and the RF filters used in post-1963 B-3's installed. The pedal solo unit is in working order, and the 32 pedal AGO pedal clavier has been adjusted to a nice 3.5 ounce tension to clean refelted contact posts. A Fisher SpaceXpander tube reverb unit, line out with xlr and 1/4" jacks/effects loop/HampTone EQ/headphone jack give me some other means to "tweak" the sound of the Hammond. All four H-40 tone cabinets were in working order, with only one 10" speaker needing reconed!

After refinish the H-40's will be setup in pairs,
a Leslie with each pair- the Hammond has the factory installed "Main-Ensemble-Echo" selector switch. Surprisingly en
ough, the Leslies didn't need much more than
a thorough cleaning and new motor belts.
New wiring and discrete components- resistors and caps were added though, to
be safe. The RT is considered less than a B-3, but I think- with all the same features as the B-3 to begin with, plus the Pedal Solo Unit for 32' stops, and a
32 AGO clavier, that the RT is more organ than a B-3. No unkindness meant toward you B-3 folk out there, just my opinion...!
I also have a Hammond Solovox, Model L
fully restored, that I'll add to the RT.

The Conn is restoring slowly, but steadily. Most of the "stuck" notes are fixed, and the pedal contacts cleaned thoroughly (mouse problems), its Leslie 255/256 speaker set, along with some Allen Organ speakers I have, will have a good "full" sound once all the "bugs" are worked out of the organ.

I have a 1912 A.B. Chase 5' grand waiting to be restored, and am looking for a Hammond Novachord to restore. There also is a 1931 Reuters II/8 chapel organ
that I'm considering "adopting". This little
organ has an unusual "vox in the box" feature and two 16' stops. And it is a "real" pipe organ.

OK, that's all the "physical" instruments...

I am a "virtual pipe organ" aficionado as
well. Hauptwerk is new to me, but Miditzer and jOrgan with Gigastudio 3 Orchestra for their sound sampler, are what I use now. Most components- manuals and pedal clavier- I have obtained from long-since-"dead" organs I couldn't repair. I am working on a symphonic 5 manual organ definition, and will use Hauptwerk as well as jOrgan.
One of Hauptwerk's available models is the magnificent "Palace of the Arts" 5 manual symphonic instrument. For me this is the "shiznit", the "ne plus ultra".

Barton Theater organs are dear to my heart as well. There never was a five manual Barton built, even in prototype.
My favorite Barton is the lovely "Rhinestone" of Iowa Theater fame. I would like to build a virtual theater organ console for five manuals based on the classic Barton "circus wagon" style, and in homage to the "Rhinestone", utilize a similar decorating motif with heavy velvet and rhinestones to create a nocturnal, stellar creation I will call the "Night's Veil". It will be a "nonesuch"- something that will commemorate the genius of Dan Barton, but will not be a "true" Barton- maybe a model that "could have been".
If I ever make it this far, I will restore the
little 5' grand, equip it to be played from the "Night's Veil" console, and decorate it to compliment the console as well.

OK, I'm taking my medicine- no more "delusions of grandeur"... but I can still dream, can't I?

Mr. Magle, thank you for a wonderful site for musicians of all interests! May God richly bless all your efforts and kindness
shown here!

Respectfully yours,

Mark Hall, a.k.a. "Desmond Crawford, theater organist"

Last edited by a moderator:

Ghekorg7 (Ret)

Rear Admiral Appassionata (Ret)
Hi Mark and welcome !
I 'm impressed with all these you do in a small town and your love for the organ.
We have a lot in common, as you will find and I'm waitin' to see you in the discussions !
I' m less than a month here, but I've seen and enjoyed a lot, like being for months...



Hi Mark: Glad to see someone so interested in restoring as saving old organs which still have many years of life left in them. I got an old Conn Theater Organ just for hauling it off... and it plays and sounds fairly well for old instrument. I am sure you will find many people here who share your interest. Do you have any videos or audio files of your playing? a note: I was raised in Hutchinson, Kansas and went to Hutchinson Juco ( as we called it then ) and Emporia state before I left Kansas... Take Care during this time of year -- the old tornado... I remember well.

Corno Dolce

Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler
Greetings Mark,

Welcome aboard to a most wonderful site with lots of great people. Please do make yourself feel very much at home here.


CD :tiphat::tiphat::tiphat:


New member
Hi Mark

Welcome to the forum, good to have you here. Do have a look round and feel free to join in.



Staff member
Hi Mark :)

Welcome to this great forum community.
We will pass on the nice words to Sir Frederik Magle ... those are always appreciated.