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February 24, 2009
Vol. IX, No. 7

"Let's Talk About Organs"
I drove up to Boston this past weekend. It was a short trip however there were a couple of organ-related items that resulted. In Boston, I took a tour of King's Chapel, well worth the $1 requested donation. The Chapel was founded in 1686 and was the first church in America to use an organ, although not until 1713. The current organ (their sixth!) is a Fisk that reproduces the case of the 1756 Bridge Organ. There's more info here:
A better photo is on the Fisk website:

In the Chapel, I picked up a flyer for the Boston Bach Birthday 324 celebration to be held at First Lutheran Church of Boston. On March 21st, in collaboration with the Boston AGO, FLC will host an all-day marathon of recitals:
There is info about their Richards, Fowkes organ on the builder's site:

I have added both organs to the Organ Links page:

Early on the drive up to Boston, I passed the Larchmont exit on the New York State Thruway. I was reminded that I had a link to the latest chapter in the life of Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church. The inaugural organ concert for their recently completed pipe organ is coming up in May!
I have been following them since they were inducted into the Pipes Hall of Fame in September 2004. The reason they were inducted was that they were returning to the pipe organ world after giving electronic organs a try. To quote the article: "In 1972, LAC installed an Allen electronic organ, an instrument on the cutting edge of its time. However, over the years, it progressively deteriorated, and by the late 1990s, it became clear that the organ had reached the end of its useful life." Twenty-five years and done? What a great investment! You can't beat pipe organs. Compare that with what is considered to be the oldest church organ in the UK:
"Donated by Thomas Whiting in 1676 and was built between 1702-4. It was enhanced for the new church (the current building) by Harris' son-in-law John Byfield in 1740. The organ was considerably enlarged several times in the 19th Century, and again rebuilt by Mander Organs in 1960’s having survived a World War II bomb, which lodged in the roof of the Church but failed to explode. The decision to restore the instrument was taken by St Botolph’s in 2002 after which a fundraising campaign was launched. The restoration, undergone under the consultancy of Ian Bell took 9 months during which time the organ has been at the workshops of Goetze and Gwynn in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. It was reinstalled in May 2006."
Here are a couple of other links for more information: community member Dick Hill emailed me about an article in The Brockton Enterprise (Brockton, MA). It discussed the recent restoration of an organ that he and other members of the local AGO Chapter (now Southeastern Massachusetts) had dedicated in a Member Recital in 1968. The article included good photos as well as video. Here's an excerpt:
"Hope Mehaffey has been playing the organ at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brockton for 48 years, but what she's playing now is heavenly music to her ears. The Main Street church recently restored its 40-year-old organ to the tune of $300,000. Its brighter. Its a very brilliant instrument, it always has been, but now, its absolutely magnificent, said Mehaffey, 74, who has also been the church's choir director for nearly five decades. The church first dedicated the organ in 1968, after it was built by the venerable Schantz Organ Co. in Orrville, Ohio. The cost at the time was $42,500. But over the years, the towering organ built of oak with 2,041 pipes made of tin, lead and wood — which wraps around the church altar and high up to the ceiling — succumbed to wear and tear and was in need of drastic help. We decided to have a major restoration by having the entire instrument rebuilt and upgraded to the most recent organ technology, said Jim Benson, church administrator. Last May, representatives from the Schantz Organ Co. dismantled the organ and brought it to Ohio for restoration. For several months, the church got by using a smaller organ from its chapel.

It seems like organs cost so much more these days but I surfed over to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve website and plugged $42,500 into the inflation calculator and it came out to about $263,000. That's not too far off from the 300K the church spent to completely rebuild the instrument. So it seems pipe organs haven't gone up in price so much over the decades after all.

Finally, every week in BusinessWeek magazine, the final page features Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, answering reader questions. I usually read it out of curiosity but it doesn't generally offer me anything in particular to take away. However, two weeks ago, the question was how leaders can motivate themselves in challenging times and I found the answer valuable as I'm often looking for ways to motivate myself. I've condensed the five points for easy absorption but the link is below if you would like to read Welch's entire response:
"Finding Your Inner Courage"
1. Resist self-doubt
2. Try to gain perspective
3. Remember what you do for others
4. It's a puzzle not a problem – think creatively, constructively
5. Rely on others for support

Have a great week!

Dan Long

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