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  • LDS Organ Standard

    Greetings To The Organ World!

    I am curious many of today's modern, electronic, church organ builders offer an LDS spec. console that comes reconfigured with a basic stop list. This is what local Wards, or Branches are suggested to purchase? Why is there such a modest offering of an instrument in a Church that has made a name for itself with two very large pipe instruments in their Salt Lake City Tabernacle, and Conference Center?
    Until The Next Dimension,
    Admiral Coluch.

    -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
    -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990

  • #2
    I'm not sure what you mean by a modest offering--are you suggesting that the LDS offerings are meager instruments or that there is a small number of models.

    The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (as the current Prophet says members should use to refer to the church) negotiates these instruments at well reduced prices, so any single manufacturer probably doesn't want a lot of different models and I suspect the church doesn't either. And as the Ward is supposed to be a relatively fixed size (as I understand it), it makes sense that the organ ought to be of a particular size in terms of the stoplist.

    The LDS Ward models I have seen tend to be a much more than basic instruments. The Allen AP-22A being one of the more recent ones, offering 32 ft pedal stops (flute and reed), and quite a nice complement of stops. It is quite a complete 2-manual instrument. Stake centers sometimes (maybe often?) have more significant instruments--certainly their tabernacles have large organs.

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    • #3
      Thus far I have played an MDS-35, LD-34, AP-22a, and an MDS-5 in the congregations I have been in or played for. The LD and AP lines are typically lumitech and appear to have a fairly basic stoplist, but they have second voices for many of the stops (which usually adds a few more reeds, mixtures and celestes) and (like toodles said) 32' stops in the pedals. The LD line also has an Allen ensemble inside that is preprogrammed for the Harp and Piano pistons on the cheekblocks. It is possible to reprogram the Ensemble to add an extra stop to each division, but it is a little involved to get around the preprogramming.

      My favorite has been the MDS-35 but I haven't played one for several years and my tastes may have changed. I really miss the LD-34 (mainly the reeds, divided expression, and 32' pedal stops). The MDS-5 at my current church is very limited, comparatively. The only difference between it and a typical MDS-5 is the Chimes tab is blank on mine. I have found most of the other organs I have played in church more than adequate.
      Last edited by samibe; 01-14-2019, 05:06 PM.
      Sam
      Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
      Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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      • #4
        My take on the organs made available to LDS wards is that Salt Lake wants each ward equipped with an organ that someone there can actually play with some degree of competence, and create suitable, respectable music for the services. In other words, an instrument that isn't too big or too small, not too complicated, not too stripped down. Also, without the trinkets, bells, and whistles that can be abused in the hands of amateur players, who may make some very un-heavenly noises with them. (An example of that is the chimes, which, when I was selling Allen, were nearly always deleted from the models we installed in the ward houses.)

        So, a solid basic stoplist with the standard principal, flute, and reed choruses, along with a string and celeste. The lowest end Allen models that we were putting in for them in the 80's (the MADC-420) was equipped with settable blind capture, BUT Memory "A" was "locked" with a toggle switch inside the console. The local organist was free to set up Memory "B" but could not tamper with "A" (unless they discovered the secret switch inside). Presumably this was so that beginning and untrained organists could simply be instructed to use "Piston 3" for the first stanza of a hymn and "Piston 5" for the final stanza, or something like that. I had the feeling that the intent was to make it as idiot-proof as possible.

        This strategy worked quite well, IMHO. Even though many wards in this area (a relatively pioneer area for the LDS) did not have a trained organist, they often could enlist a member with piano background to learn the organ and to make decent organ music using the simple presets that were unchangeable.

        Nowadays even the smallest models they use are quite good. The mis-conceived little one-manual Rodgers not-a-piano-not-an-organ-either gadget was the only one I know of that was a bust, though to be fair a player who would work with it diligently could indeed learn to make convincingly organ-ish music on it.

        But I do commend the LDS organization for doing their best to encourage the use and development of decent organ music in their services everywhere. They have certainly done better in that regard than just about any other denomination that I know of.
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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        • #5
          Hi,

          In my area, very few organs are being installed in Mormon sanctuaries. I was enlisted as an installer, got about 3 jobs, and then nothing. I have asked the co-ordinator if any projects in the offing, but he said nothing was coming happening in my area. Makes me wonder if money is tight in the LDS Organization, or a lack of organists.

          John,

          I remember that one manual Rodgers. Nothing special.

          These days they have Kawai build them a quasi digital piano / organ (organ stops by Johannus). Most LDS organists did not care for it though.

          AV

          Comment


          • toodles
            toodles commented
            Editing a comment
            The current offerings from SLC are Allen and Johannus. Rodgers didn't try to compete in the last go-around prior to their sale to the Johannus group. The church extended their time for replacement a few years ago (according to my dealer who services all of Utah, LDS country for sure) so sales of new instruments are down. I suspect that their reliability experience and the generally good sound available this century lead to that decision, but that's just a guess.

        • #6
          Yes, we have seen very few replacement organs in LDS buildings in recent years. Back in the 80's we seemed to be putting in an Allen for them somewhere in the state every couple of months, as they were expanding rapidly, building new chapels. Also they were working through replacing all the older organs in existing chapels, such as Allen TC-series organs and other analogs.

          These days I don't have a direct line to the Allen dealer for the area, but I still keep in touch with the FM managers. Basically, I hear that they are trying to make organs last quite a bit longer than they once did. Many of the ADC models I installed in the 80's are still being used, as are the MDS models of the 90's. These organs still sound so good and perform so reliably with so little need for repair or maintenance, there really isn't a reason to start replacing them.

          Once again, the digital organ builders are victims of their own success! Their products are just too good for their own good...
          John
          ----------
          *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


          • Piperdane
            Piperdane commented
            Editing a comment
            When I was a certified Allen tech in the 70's we installed a good number of model 182 and/or 282 (MOS technology). A very basic instrument in all ways with those having factory preset pistons. For Stake centers I did install a few 600 MOS series, but all were with stoptabs and were 'special' orders where the dealer did not make much profit from.

          • jbird604
            jbird604 commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm sure the situation in MOS days was much like it was in the ADC era, with only 2 or 3 models comprising nearly all the LDS installs. And somewhat stripped-down, as you said. The dealer received a very small stipend from Allen for taking the organ to the church, pulling in the speaker wires, and making sure that it "worked" after a fashion before leaving. It was such a tiny amount of money, we couldn't afford to spend much time with the players or do any voicing. Later on, in the course of routine maintenance, I have had the opportunity to "improve" many of those on-the-cheap installations we did by tweaking the speaker placement and tinkering with the voicing. The FM managers seem quite willing to pay for good service calls after the organs are a few years old.

        • #7
          Well that is all very interesting. I had hoped to receive insights such as these; thank you all so very much. I guess the LDS leaders are very organized, and have prepared such a plan for the type of instrument that a local Ward can purchase. It's a smart idea, because there is no concern about bad pricing, and you know you will get an instrument that can produce a satisfactory selection of music without the need for a highly trained professional organist. Plus you do not need to assemble a big organ committee, and attempt to learn the ins, and outs of slick organ industry salesman. You have a couple of pages of available choices and you just make a selection. It's kind of like ordering in the days of old from the Sears Catalog.
          Until The Next Dimension,
          Admiral Coluch.

          -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
          -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990

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