II/8 Father Willis Moved Out to Garden (photos, video)

There’s an Organ at the Bottom of My Garden!

“A retired music teacher has built a custom-made £20,000 garden shed at the bottom of her lawn to house her very own church organ. Alison Malcolm, 66, bought the 424-pipe Victorian instrument from a church 20 years ago for just £500 after they wanted to clear room for renovations. She spent thousands transporting the ten-foot-tall organ and another £20,000 building a special sound-proof shed at the end of the lawn at her detached home.”

I encourage you to visit this article which is rich in information with plenty of photos and a video. I’m not sure what to think of such a valuable heritage instrument in a garden shed, albeit a very nice garden shed. What idiots were running that church?

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Flagler’s Overture, An Exciting Toccata, Variations on Liebster Jesu, & Stebbins’s At Dusk

Hello! September’s pieces range from 1876 to 1916 and show great variety. We’re just back from OHS where the restored Flagler Festival Overture was offered for the first time. John Apple’s lectures on Flagler were warmly received, and I continue my plan to restore all of the individually published pieces by Flagler. The other three pieces this month are just as interesting.


1. FESTIVAL OVERTURE, by Isaac van Vleck Flagler. Flagler’s dramatic overture did not get published before his death. George Whiting took the manuscript and had it published two years after Flagler’s death in 1909. I offer an organ roll produced by the Aeolian Organ Company. This would be a great opening piece for a concert.

2. TOCCATA IN D, by Rene Becker. He wrote a lot of toccatas, and this is the very first one he had published. Next month, we’ll see his Second Sonata.

3. CONCERT VARIATIONS ON NUREMBURG, by Eugene Thayer. If you don’t recognize this tune name, you will know it as “Liebster Jesu.” If you like, you could use a couple of the variations in a service instead of the whole set for a concert.

4. WHERE DUSK GATHERS DEEP, by Charles Stebbins. This is the first of a two-piece characteristic set; the second one will arrive next month. Stebbins wrote this short poem for the piece: “The cypress is sighing Where lilies are lying And dusk gathers deep.” You may remember Stebbins for his iconic “In Summer.”

MONTHLY DISCOUNT BUNDLE. There are several of you who buy all of the pieces I restore in order to support my work. Thank you very much! I have made a special page where everyone can buy all of the pieces announced 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.

Thank you all for your encouragement and interest in this great organ music. If you don’t see the kind of music you like, email or call me with your suggestions.


Posted in Church, Concert | Leave a comment

Brombaugh Organ Damaged by Fire

Part of Lutheran Church Destroyed by Thursday Fire

A fire is bad enough. A church fire is peculiarly disappointing. And a church fire with the first organ built by John Brombaugh is just devastating. Ironically, at the recent OHS convention, we heard his second (I believe) instrument.

A pipe organ installed in 1970 was in the part of the church affected by the fire. It was the first organ built by John Brombaugh, who went on to build organs used by churches across the country, church music director Brian Wetzel said. “It’s irreplaceable,” he said.

Contrary to the quote from the article, OHS Database lists it as Opus 4.

John Brombaugh

Here’s the latest on this very, very sad situation:

First Lutheran loses pipe organ, stained glass, pastor says

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Inside Bunn-Minnick through the Photographer’s Lens

Inside the Bunn-Minnick Pipe Organ Company

See the fine photos taken by the photographer, Dan Trittschuh, during a recent visit to the Bunn-Minnick Pipe Organ Company in Columbus, Ohio. (If you recognize the equipment in the photo above, count yourself as “knowledgeable” about organs. <G> Bunn-Minnick “was founded in 1969 in Columbus, and these artisans likely have worked on your church’s organ at some point. Dan’s trip yielded some beautiful photos of how these stately instruments are constructed and maintained.”

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

California Theatre’s Robert Morton Progresses

Theater Organ’s Restoration More than Just A Pipe Dream

First, please realize that this story relates to Pittsburg, California, and not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s always nice to see a Robert Morton in the news. This is not a quick job but a long-term effort to do things as best they can without a major donor to dump at once all the money they need.

“We got it into good condition so mainly people could see the pretty console,” he said. But much work still needs to be done on other components that are not visible. “I think we are about two-thirds of the way through. We’re making great progress in rebuilding the components of the organ,” he said. “The major things we have to do are finishing up the refurbishing and rebuilding of all the musical components. And once we have done that, installing them into the theater isn’t that big of a deal.”

The organ and its 900 pipes made its debut at the California Theatre in 1928 and stayed there for 20 years before it was sold to an Oakland church. In 2011, it was purchased by Pittsburg for $15,000 as part of the restoration of the California Theatre, with the understanding that private funds would be raised for the organ’s refurbishment.

See more about their fund raising goals.



Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Christopher Candela at the National Basilica in Washington

Candela Dispels Notion that All Organ Music Sounds Alike

Read this brief review in The Washington Post by Cecelia Porter of Chris Candela’s recent concert in Washington’s National Basilica.

“If you sit in the crossing of Washington’s massive National Basilica, you can hear two organs — one in the church’s south gallery and another in the west chancel, both played by a single soloist. This was the case Sunday when organist Christopher Candela gave a stunning evensong recital on these monumental instruments. A marvelous earful, his performance was part of the church’s festive summer organ series.”

“Also a conductor, composer and tenor, Candela is now music director of Manhattan’s Church of St. Thomas More, having previously held posts at several Washington churches.”

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Some Questions for Paul Jacobs

Esteemed Organist Returning with Varied Program

Here’s a short interview with Paul Jacobs with some interesting questions. Here’s a sample.

Q: Is there going to be any improvisation on this recital?

A: Not on this program. There will be some cadenzas improvised in the Bach and the Stanley, but no, there will not be any extensive improvisation on my part in this performance.

Q: Do you generally do improvisation or stay away from that?

A: We organists do improvise regularly. I, for performance, tend not to improvise. There are some organists who do. Certainly in a liturgical setting, I improvise regularly, as do most organists.

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Smaller Studio Organ to Arrive at Shenandoah College

Pipe Organ Makes Shenandoah University its New Home

Although this article is painfully devoid of details on their newly acquired organ, here’s a photo of the Möller organ they are and will continue to use in Goodson Chapel.

“There is a chapel across campus which has a large organ, which is certainly suitable for concert work. But we’ve never had what you might call a studio organ,” said Dr. J. Thomas Mitts, associate professor of organ and director of Church Music at SU.

The studio organ, which is about three to four times smaller than a typical organ, came from the Church of St. Joseph in New York City. The organ is no stranger to students, as it shared the West Village neighborhood with New York University, and was often used by NYU’s music students.

Posted in Education/Information | 1 Comment

Fun in the Cathedral

Featured Artist Promises Fun at Cathedral Organ Festival

In Kansas City, Missouri, we get a story about “Fun in the Cathedral.” Sounds like a shocking musical drama, doesn’t it? “Fun? Summer fun? Indoors in a church?”

“You bet, said Dr. Jan Kraybill, featured artist at the second annual French Organ Music Festival, to begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City. ‘I always have fun when I play, and I endeavor to help audiences have fun, too,’ Kraybill said.”

Read about this refreshing approach in The Catholic Key.

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment

Try Your Trivia Chops for Organ Stop Pizza

14 Fun Facts About Organ Stop Pizza

Although most of us do not click on these “list” type of posts — they’re mostly just trying to get views to run up their web ads — this one is not of that ilk, and the facts are genuinely interesting. Also, I have never met an organ lover who could avoid going!

Here’s a sample:

2. The original Mesa location opened on June 20, 1975, the same day that “Jaws” hit theaters.

3. In 1975, you could get a small cheese pizza for $1.33. A “Giant” pizza would run you $5.71.

Posted in Education/Information | Leave a comment