Third Move for Austin Op 1544 (1929)

First Baptist Church Dedicates Restored Pipe Organ

Here’s a story about the new organ in First Baptist, Huntsville, Texas. My feeling is only a few Christian Scientist congregations continue to use and maintain their pipe organs, so this third home for Austin Opus 1544 may just be “the charm.”

The newly restored Austin Opus 1544 pipe organ was built in 1929 for the First Church of Christ Scientist of Glencoe, Illinois. In 2009, the church in Illinois was sold to a Korean Presbyterian congregation who wanted to use the balcony space.

“This is one of the few remaining 19th century American organs still in operation today,” said Jeff Bradley, First Baptist Church supporter. “This type of organ has long been regarded as being a standard of quality in design as well as tonal perfection. There are more early Austin organs still in use today than any other maker as their design and construction is timeless.”


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Organ Accompanies Film at Eastman

‘Silents’ Get Sound in Eastman’s Organ and Film Festival

“The art of organ accompaniment to silent film will be explored in an upcoming four-day event that includes screenings of several iconic movies from the early 20th century with live accompaniment by internationally known organists. The Organ and Film Festival, presented by the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative and the Film/Music Cluster of the University of Rochester, will be held Oct. 23 to 26 at the Eastman School of Music and several locations around Rochester. The program includes a number of public events that will appeal to both silent film and organ enthusiasts.”

Organists include Edoardo Bellotti, Tom Trenny, Stephen Kennedy, and Philip Carli. I wish I lived closer to Rochester!



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Keeping this Historic Organ in the Family (Lutheran)

Our Savior’s Lutheran to Dedicate Historic Pipe Organ

Read the story of this organ which has survived for such a long time with maintenance, rebuilding, and moving. It’s in Fairfield, Connecticut, now, and I hope it stays there for another century.

Our Saviour’s received the historic organ in June as a gift from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension, which closed its doors in 2011 after eight decades of ministry in Glendale, Queens, N.Y. The one-manual, eight-stop organ was built in Boston in 1875 by the firm of Hutchings, Plaisted & Co., using parts from an unidentified organ dating to the 1840s. After years of use at a Congregational Church in Maine, it was put into storage, where organ builder Jeremy Cooper of Concord, N.H., found it and began restoring it in 1978.

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A Most Unusual Review for Olivier Latry

Organ never soars for Olivier Latry

I am not posting about this unusual review because I approve or agree with it. Lev Bratishenko certainly has a right to his opinion, but in this case, I don’t think many of us would agree with even a part of what he wrote. I have heard Olivier many times and spoke with him for ten minutes or so twice, and he is extremely musical and as knowledgeable about literature, styles, and performance practices as anyone in the field. Read this review as a counterpoint to the “standard” reviews of organ concerts which recycle the same relatively positive points over and over.

“The relatively fast-paced program was a good choice because it contained many weak pieces. It began with Marcel Dupré’s plodding Cortège et litanie, Op. 19 No.2, which has the merit of being brief and ending with a bellow.”

What? But it gets worse, at least for me who has spent a great deal of my time restoring organ transcriptions, extremely popular in their time, of Wagner’s music. I simply do not understand how you can decry organ transcriptions of this great music. “Who thought it was a good idea to transcribe Wagner for an organ? I assume they have already been punished.”

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Unwanted Organ Taken by Unlikely Church


Unwanted Pipe Organ Saved from Scrapheap by Church

From The Courier comes this story which creates mixed feelings for me. It’s sad that this church in Dundee, Scotland, doesn’t want its organ, but it’s going to a home that most of us would find unlikely —  Kazakhstan. I think most people know where it is because of the maps shown when reporting on the Iraq-Syria-IS conflict. I’m sure it will be appreciated in its new home.

A Dundee church organ facing the scrapheap has found a match made in Heaven — 4,000 miles away in Kazakhstan. Craigiebank Church’s 114-year-old pipe organ had an uncertain future as the church is scheduled to be demolished before being redeveloped into a community project called the Circle.

Moved to Dundee in 1949 and made up of 1,446 pipes, there was no space for the huge organ in the church’s redevelopment plans.

“Many of us learned about the impending demolition of Craigiebank Church with something approaching horror due to the remarkably good organ”

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Organ Polychrome by Jan Kraybill Reviewed

Organ Polychrome Reviewed

Read John Sunier’s review (Audiophile Audition) of this high-definition audio recording by Jan Kraybill on the Casavant in the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s available in several locations including

“A complete list of the registrations of the Julia Irene Kauffman Organ appears in the note booklet, and Kraybill’s notes on each composer often end with a description of the construction and registrations of one of the works so that you can follow along while listening. Her playing is expressive in the quieter portions and pulls out all the stops when hitting some of the big orchestral-imitation passages in these colorful pieces.”

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Are We Going Backwards Here?

New Musical Arrangements on an Old Organ

Those who read my blog know that I go out of my way to ‘accentuate the positive,’ so to write. This post caught my attention, in a bad way, and I felt compelled to draw it to your attention. I won’t identify the organist or the location; if you’re really interested, read the article. All I can do is shake my head at what, to me at least, is a huge step backwards.

For a third annual concert, [the organist] wanted to do something different. Becker, the organist at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, will perform variations on classic hymns at the Oct. 19 concert at 2 p.m. The Hinners Organ at St. Paul’s is 111 years old and still in its original condition. “It’s a neat, fun instrument to play,” he said.

Becker will be performing familiar hymns such as “I Danced in the Morning,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Blessed Assurance,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Amazing Grace.” In past years, he said, he performed classical pieces.

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St John’s Cathedral, Albuqueque, and their Reuter

The Bible, Art, and a Pipe Organ

In addition to the recital, the article stated that the organist, Dr. Jörg Abbing, was delivering a free lecture at the Cathedral, discussing “the different paths of musical composition for the organ as they are represented in the 20th century.”

I don’t know how you feel about the instrument, but I love the organ, especially the Pipe organ. Always have, and I’m sure I always will. From my admiration of Albert Schweitzer (an organist and Bach specialist) as a teenager, to my father working for a time as an organ representative, I’ve had a deep admiration for the “King of All Instruments.” So the lecture was a no-brainer for me

Reading this post, I wished I had made a point to stop there the last time I was out West to a convention. This sounds like a cathedral that would prove interesting depth upon visitation and exploration. More information on the organ, including the specification, may be found on the church’s website.

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Clark Wilson Plays Nosferatu on the Lerner’s Kimball

Lerner Theatre presents “Nosferatu” with Live Pipe Organ

Last Saturday, Clark Wilson played another film at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indiana. The photo above shows Clark accompanying Buster Keaton in “Steamboat Bill Jr” there. For me, “Nosferatu” is scarier and less-often shown than the 1925 “Phantom,” and it’s a better choice for a Halloween program. If you attended, please post your comments here.

When the Lerner opened 90 years ago and the Kimball organ was brand new, this was the entertainment people came to see.

“Not many theaters still have a pipe organ. You’d have to go to Chicago or maybe Fort Wayne to even experience this, and we have it right here in Elkhart,” she says. “These organs are incredible, and we bring in talent to play these shows. It’s a one-man orchestra that plays in time with the movie and makes it come alive.”

BTW, I recommend Behind that Curtain by as a great way to keep up publicity for a venue like this. More theatres should do this.

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Miss Page & Cletus in the Embassy (video)

‘Miss Page’ Gets Musical Sendoff before Restoration

“Cletus Goens talks about The Embassy Theater’s pipe organ ‘Miss Page’ and plays a few songs before the organ is sent to be restored on October 8, 2014.”

Learn more about this great organ at There is more about Carlton Smith’s restoration plans at

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