New Capsule Biography for Ralph Kinder

New Capsule Biography for Ralph Kinder

John Apple finished a new short biographical sketch for Ralph Kinder. I am including it in the upcoming restoration of his “Aphrodite.” I am posting it on the Biographies page where you can read it now. He had a fascinating life!

Capsule Biography for Ralph Kinder

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You Never Know Until You Ask

You Never Know Until You Ask

In his research, John Apple went about finding information on the composer of “Cascades in the Sunlight,” recently announced by Michael’s Music Service. Well, he got some terrific information in a very helpful response from an archivist librarian at the Plainfield Public Library. There was not room in the music for an article, so I included a few facts on the page for the restoration. Here in the blog, though, I have the room to present everything, and I hope you enjoy reading about another American organist who deserves to be remembered.

Subject: re: Contact Us: Howard Sylvester Savage
Date:      Mon, 5 Dec 2016 16:44:20 -0500
From:     Sarah Hull

Dear Mr. Apple,
Thank you for contacting Plainfield Public Library. In the time we are permitted to search without charge, we were able to locate the following information for you regarding Howard S. Savage:
His obituary from the Courier News on July 17, 1969, page 30 (attached)
Three photos of him from three Plainfield High School yearbooks (1956, 1958, and 1959 – all attached). There are no actual photographs of him in our collection.

He was president of the Plainfield Musical Club from 1943 to 1945. There is one photo of that Club, but I do not think he is in it (we think it is circa 1930s). You can see it here:
Finally, we have a folder of his sheet music. I have scanned the covers of 5 selected pieces for you (attached).

If we can be of further assistance, please refer to our Research Request Form, available online here:

Sarah Hull, Archivist
Head of Local History, Genealogy & Special Collections
Plainfield Public Library <>
800 Park Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060
(908) 757-1111 ext. 136
Donations to support our Local History program are always appreciated. The Plainfield Public Library is a tax-exempt municipal agency. Donations may be made via PayPal on the Library’s website: and checks may be made out to the library and mailed to 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060.



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Lew White’s Christmas Carol

Lew White’s Christmas Carol

I listen to this one every year!

While rummaging for Christmas organ music, John Apple came across this little gem of “A Christmas Carol.” Originally a four-disc set from 1941, he found it on an LP reissue. I had not heard this side of Lew White; he played a Hammond with the golden voice of Ernest Chappell narrating. There are plenty of other voices, and this is the best radio version of the Dickens classic I have ever heard. It is great to hear the organ used for accompaniment and played by a master. When this was released, no one expected the event of December 7, 1941. In light of our current events, how spooky is this for us today.

Be sure to read the notes for the video to read the cast list. Here’s a review also from that page. From November 16, 1941, in The Washington Post:

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is done up in an attractive four-disc Victor album which means you can have the famous Yuletide without reading it. Ernest Chappell who has been associated with the annual radio broadcast of the carol for several years, adapted and produced the piece for the records. He also narrates it with the help of a score of actors and musicians. It is all done with the utmost sympathy for the Christmas spirit, with the appropriate exception of the part of Scrooge who is played most villainously by Eustace Wyatt. Lew White supplements traditional Christmas tunes with original music, and plays it all on the organ. The album, G-29, is listed at $3.50.


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Marilyn Oakes Plays Thayer’s Fugue

Thayer’s Sonata II, Fugue on “America,” Marilyn Oakes

Watch this fine performance of the Fugue on “God Save the Queen,” which is known to Americans as “America.” It’s from Eugene Thayer’s Sonata II, and it has had a life separate from the full sonata because it was published in Music during the bicentennial of 1976. Marilyn played the II/33 Flentrop (1966) in St Anne’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

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The Organ in Madison Square Garden

A New Sound for the Winter Seasons

Here’s a story of a new Roland organ in one of the largest and most visible arenas in the United States. Just think of the thousands who will hear this live organ sound instead of the recorded pop music that has become the norm. Also fun is the 360 degree video; you can see his entire studio!

Ray Castoldi’s 27th season as the organist for the Knicks and 25th for the Rangers has already been like no other, largely because of the handsome Roland AT-900 organ that now hunches in a tiny booth five stories above the arena floor at Madison Square Garden.

Compared to a mere keyboard, which Castoldi had played at the Garden since 1989, the Roland, known generically as a theater organ, is a step up in class as well as a step back in time, to when ballparks and arenas were fitted with booming organs that provided warmer, richer, deeper sounds to sporting events.

Further in the article is this heartwarming bit:

Castoldi is happy to report that the number of arenas with live organists is growing, to 22 at his last count. Four N.H.L. arenas now use theater organs, including the United Center in Chicago; the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul; and Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., where the 24-year-old Lightning installed a pipe organ in 2010 for a more authentic hockey experience. “There’s like a revival going on,” Castoldi said.

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The Other Election Results

The Other Election Results

After a final burst of votes from one side, the votes pushed away from 50-50 for this narrow victory for “Principal.” For most of the duration, it was equal, and for several weeks, “Diapason” was in the lead. Several Facebook users made impassioned pleas there, but of course they didn’t count in the vote tabulation. There were many who insisted that there was a real difference, but most sources indicate that this is one stop on an organ and that it can have differing characteristics such as scaling and speech.

Here are the results.

I prefer to use “Principal” or “Diapason.” (original post is here)
October 5, 2015 @ 12:47 pm December 31, 2016 @ 11:59 pm

60 Principal (52%)

55 Diapason (48%)

From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music

Prestant Dutch
Principaal Dutch
Principal English
Principale Italian
Prinzipal German
Diapason English
Open Diapason English
Montre French
Flautado Spanish
Flautado Principal Spanish
Devanture French
Dulceon Czech
Frontispicium Latin
Fundamentalis Latin?
Jeu en Montre French
Monster French
Mostra French
Parade French?
Tenori Italian
Regula Latin
Primaria Regula Latin
Regula Primaria Latin

From The Encyclopedia of Organ Stops

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A Wedding Song, Some Sunlight, The Bells, and A Mighty Fortress

As I wrote last month, I couldn’t wait for 2016 to be over. May 2017 turn out better! The pieces for January present several styles which I hope will appeal to you.


1. CANTILÈNE NUPTIALE, by Herbert Fricker. He wrote this piece while he was the City Organist at Leeds Town Hall in 1906, before he moved to Canada. If you enjoy playing on two manuals with one hand, this one is for you!

2. CASCADES IN THE SUNLIGHT, by Howard Savage. There are lots of fast notes in this atmospheric toccata but they follow patterns which allow you to play them relatively easily.

3. THE BELLS, by William Price. As in the Fricker above, you’ll find the thumbing-down technique here. It is used for only two notes, repeated throughout, on the chimes, so if you can manage that, you have managed this descriptive piece.

4. VARIATIONS ON EIN’ FESTE BURG, by Henry Cutler. In 1878, Cutler wrote these variations in one movement on the tune we all use to “A Mighty Fortress,” though it was not so well known then. He indicated a solo instrument, but you can almost play it yourself; an assistant could easily play it on a separate manual.

MONTHLY DISCOUNT BUNDLE. To get the four pieces mentioned above, I offer a special price so you can buy all of the pieces above with one click and save money in the deal. I welcome your support, and if you don’t want to play a particular piece in the group, consider giving it to a student or another organist.

Next month, I hope to offer two excellent recordings to accompany two pieces. One is easy and one is hard — something for everybody! Thank you for your interest in this music, and I welcome your suggestions.


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Christmas Eve Can Be Tiring

“Hi, Michael and John! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I know it was filled with music. Mine was! On Christmas Eve, I played 30+ minutes of my favorite Christmas things, then 30 minutes of boisterous carols, plus the Episcopal mass. Then, we had to do it again for a Christmas service. Lots of fun, but tiring.”

“I would like to order a copy of A Tiny Liturgical Year by Ontko. I am enclosing my check for $20 for music and postage. I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous New Year. Can’t believe it is 2017! Thanks for all you do! I plan to order some more things when things settle down. Fondest Regards!”

—Georgia, USA

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Reginald Foort Capsule Biography Added

Reginald Foort Capsule Biography Added

I have added my capsule biography about Reginald Foort to the Biographies page. This is included in The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise, so there is a paragraph about the song writer, Ernest Seitz. You will find all of my posted biographies through the link above, “Biographies.”

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Thanks for the Speed

“Thanks for the speed on both the PDFs and the printed music! I received your package yesterday in the mail and am already rehearsing.” —Illinois, USA

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