Historic Pipe Organ Will Ring Out Again

Historic Pipe Organ Will Ring Out Again in Pittsburg

From Pittsburg, California, comes a story about an organ being used in a theatre. What a great way to celebrate the Holidays! Read details in the article. I posted about the organ back in 2014 but I would to get a new specification; can you help?

The timing couldn’t be better for the return of a magnificent organ whose pipes will resonate in the California Theatre as part of a holiday music show. The Robert Morton organ last played at the theater in 1948 after a 20-year run that began in the silent movie era. The restored organ makes its public debut during the Pittsburg Community Theatre’s Dec. 17 production of “Home for Christmas.”

The production will feature a range of Christmas skits and carols sung by local gospel and choir groups in addition to organ music played by Dave Moreno. Moreno, along with Tom LaFleur, helped in the four-year long restoration effort that took place in LaFleur’s nonprofit office on Railroad Avenue near the theater.

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A New Tracker in Sinai

Sinai Lutheran Church Installing New Pipe Organ

A Lutheran Church in Nebraska is happy to get their kind of organ. It sure looks like a good decision to me.

Clear, crisp musical notes filtered through the air as Claire Bushong played the new pipe organ at Sinai Lutheran Church. At one point, there was the sound of tinkling bells, later followed by a low, almost rumbling note on the organ — both showing the new instrument’s range and versatility. Bushong, the church’s organist, did a lot of smiling as she played. So did Cynthia Lauritsen, chairman of the committee that spent many hours working to get just the right pipe organ for the Fremont church.

Now, church members look forward to Sunday services and future concerts in which the new organ will be played — the fulfillment of a longtime dream for the church, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The Fremont Tribune reports that Juget-Sinclair of Montreal, Canada, built the mechanical action organ.


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Finding Organ Music That Has Been Forgotten

Thank you again for finding organ music that has been forgotten and now brought back to life! Many of the pieces you promote from the past are right in time with organs of today. I’m sure there is a wealth of this literature out there, unfortunately out of print, that you are bringing back to the forefront of current organists.

I like pieces that are pedal solos, or organ duets. Keep up the great job you do.

Also, your shipping is prompt and carefully packaged. I’ve not had a damaged piece of music from you yet.

—Ohio, USA

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Cucumber Organ in Toronto Shopping Center

Toronto Shoppers Enjoy Cucumber Organ Music

This is truly the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. The cucumbers make the keyboard look like a practice console for a carillon. The wooden pipes are behind a clear plastic sign for Hendrick’s Gin. And, the whole thing takes place in a shopping center.

“The Hendrick’s CORGAN is the first of its kind, built completely from scratch using technology created specifically for this occasion. … The actual organ keys are made of real, whole cucumbers – 49 to be exact – which harness the energy of touch to translate electric currents from the organist’s fingertips though each individual cucumber, and the result is a glorious composition of notes arranged into some of the worlds most beloved and unusual melodies.”

Oh, dear. Now I’m thirsty. 🙂

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London, London, and the Mail List

Many thanks. I think there is only need for one ‘London’ in the address (these ‘clever’ computer auto fills only go so far…!), otherwise that address is perfect.

I think I will join the mailing list — it was the only place I could buy that particular piece.

Thanks very much!

—United Kingdom

I think it’s our post office’s attempt to assign a county to the address. We don’t do that over here, but it seems that my UK addresses always have that included. Here’s a curious one that throws many: Basingstoke, Hants. “Hants” means “Hampshire”!

The equivalent for me would be:
4146 Sheridan Drive
Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina 28205

And for the address of Radio Music Music Hall:
1260 6th Ave
New York, New York, New York 10020

New York City is in New York County which is in New York State!

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Swinnen’s Aria, Bedell’s Pedal Toccata, Callaerts’s Opus 21, and Nevin’s Toccata in D Minor

Restored Organ Music

A one-measure excerpt from some not-so-easy Reger organ music

As I write this announcement, my area is continuing to recover after flood damage, thousands have evacuated because of forest fires, and tornadoes appeared last night. I can’t wait for 2016 to be over! In my last announcement for this year, I have chosen two pieces requested by you, the organists, and two that I’ve wanted to restore just for myself.


1. ARIA, by Firmin Swinnen. American organists have known this beautiful piece since the 1960s. Recently, I have had two requests by Belgians for more of Swinnen’s music, and this was top of the list. You will not be disappointed. Pamela Kane (Greensboro, North Carolina) has had three Swinnen articles published in the newsletter of the Belgian “Studiecentrum Vlaamse Muziek,” and I have included links on a post on Swinnen with a biography from 2014: michaelsmusicservice.com/blog/?p=7386.

2. TOCCATA BASSE, by Robert Leech Bedell. This is a restoration of the first edition, published in 1943 by Elkan-Vogel. Most organists today remember Bedell’s own reprint under his “Edition Le Grand Orgue” label. His pedal solo encompasses “Schmuecke Dich” and marked as an hommage to J S Bach. I believe it’s playable by a large number of organists, which many other pedal pieces are not.

3. PIECES POUR ORGUE, OPUS 21, by Joseph Callaerts. I was inspired by emails from organists who wanted more music from Belgian composers. We all know Franck, Jongen, and Swinnen whom I mentioned above. Here is someone else you should know about. Callaerts (1830–1901) was born in Antwerp and studied with Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, where he won first prize in organ in 1856. He served as organist of the Cathedral in Antwerp and taught organ and harmony at the Antwerpse Muziekschool from 1867 until his death in 1901. He wrote around 60 pieces of organ music. I chose to start with his Opus 21 because the music is useful for services and not too difficult. Let me know what you think.

4. TOCCATA IN D MINOR by Gordon Balch Nevin. This was the other requested piece. I’ve restored other of his pieces, but this one has more Youtube videos than them all! If you have not heard it, I have included a few links on the page.

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.

Last, here’s a bit of trivia for the Season. I have had to reprint Edmundson’s Vom Himmel Hoch *twice* since I first announced it! I did not expect that, and I don’t know why it is so popular. So, I want to thank you for your interest in this music, and have a great Advent and Christmas; I’ll see you in 2017!


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The State of Our Music

The State of Our Music

“Simply this, that the country as a whole is still in its P T Barnum period of musical activity, a phase of development which must be gone through with just as a child must inevitably pass through a chain of infant diseases.”

Do you think this is true? Do you know who wrote it and when it was published?

In preparing for my December announcement, I read again this wonderful article by Gordon Balch Nevin from 1922, “What Small-Town Music Needs.” I am including a link to it on my page, which will be available tomorrow, for Nevin’s Toccata in D Minor. This came about because of requests — two by email, three on Youtube, and a few more scattered around blogs and email lists. It’s a fun piece, and I am including two recordings of it and also the free PDF of Nevin’s clever article.

For those who are curious, here are two maps of music in America. They are interactive and show which music is popular in our oh-so musically challenged country. (Don’t look for “classical” because it is so small as to be statistically insignificant and so is omitted.)

The Most Popular Music Genre By State: The Music America’s Listening To

From Google Research

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Joseph Bonnet’s Opus 10 Now Reprinted

Joseph Bonnet’s Opus 10 Now Reprinted

I am happy to report that a new supply of Bonnet’s Douze Pièces pour Grand-Orgue, Opus 10, has arrived from the printer. For those who were waiting, you will receive yours immediately. For others, visit the page and see if any of the twelve pieces catches your interest. I first chose this volume because it includes his dramatic depiction of the sinking of the Titanic, “In Memoriam (Titanic).” It was published in 1913, the year after the sinking. It feels good to know that interest in his music exists today. I am considering restoring more Bonnet, and I welcome your thoughts on which of his published works should be next.

See my page for the Bonnet’s Twelve Pieces book.

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Hollins Triumphal March on the Hull City Hall Organ

Hollins Triumphal March on the Hull City Hall Organ

I have added a fine recording of this captivating march by Alfred Hollins played by David Liddle. Hollins was blind, and David is blind.

Get more information, see the music, and hear David’s recording at michaelsmusicservice.com/music/Hollins.TriumphalMarch.html

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“Cyber Monday,” What A Ridiculous Copycat Idea

“Cyber Monday,” What A Ridiculous Copycat Idea

We have said for years that there is no longer creativity in Hollywood and the decision makers (the investors) go after comic book stories and sequels, over and over. Well, the shopping industry feels it must do the same thing, copying “Black Friday” to “Cyber Monday.” Really? What does it even mean?

If you want to buy some great organ music that I’ve restored, please go whenever you want and buy what you want when you want. I offer my Monthly Bundle, and that saves you $3 for buying the four pieces I offer each month. These other retailers have such a significant mark-up that they can afford to advertise buy-one-get-one-free “deals” on some items. Haven’t you wondered why it’s not available on every item? When I went to a class on how to sell online (not recommended, by the way), I was told that a piece I offer for $7 really should be offered for $15 and then I could sell it with buy-one-get-one-free and still make money. Ugh! I won’t do that, but nearly every large online retailer has bought into this sham. Here’s what I found in USA Today:

“Cyber Monday — it’s going to be really good,” Marsh said. Retailers are sure to be emboldened by the online-selling tallies they are seeing so far this four-day shopping weekend.

Almost $5 billion was spend online between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, an 11.4% increase compared to the same two days last year, Adobe reports. In addition, Black Friday was on track to be the first shopping day ever in which more than $1 billion in merchandise was bought online.

“We still expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 billion,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director of Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement.

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