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December 10, 2008
Vol. VIII, No. 17

"No Bailout for Pipe Organ Builders!"
Iím sick and tired of seeing those pipe organ builder CEOs zipping around the country in their fancy private jets. I jest, of course. If thereís an industry that helps form the backbone of Americaís economy, boldly facing foreign competition and thriving without ever receiving government handouts, itís those pipe organ builders. Iíve heard the statistic somewhere along the line but I believe the organ building industry has grown steadily post-World War II if not throughout the history of America.

Speaking of the organ industry's resilience reminds me that I didn't say everything I wanted to say in last week's Rampage. The subject was the re-dedication of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and their organ. What struck me about that event is how there is always room in the newspaper for an article on a pipe organ. Of course the Cathedral warranted an article but the organ received its own separate article. Obviously there is a soft spot in America's heart for pipe organs. There's always some reporter trapsing through a pipe chamber peppering the organist with questions. And there's always some editor who is willing to allot valuable space to that reporter's scribblings and probably even a photo.

We take it for granted but think about how the number of pipe organ articles stacks up against all the articles you've read about all the other musical instruments that exist. We rock! What attracts me to pipe organ stories is the "can do" aspect of the people involved. Perhaps these stories allow us all to experience vicariously what seems to be the increasingly elusive American spirit. I don't know but let's not mess with success.

This past year I've been sharing a column from Adventure magazine that I regularly read called "Deep Survival with Laurence Gonzales." The latest just became available online and the title is "Bad news: Disaster is Inevitable (Even on Wall Street). Here's How to Avoid It." I figure it's equally applicable to organists working in a church.

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That's it for now. Have a great week!

Dan Long

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