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  • #16
    Re: News from Twin Creeks



    I suppose one solution to the organ problem would be newer hymns such as "In Christ Alone". I groan when I have to play yet another round of "I"ll Fly Away". Perhaps some of the old favorites could be modernized with modified tunes andharmonies while preserving doctrinal soundness. I'd do my own but I don't have a background in composition. Another helpful way might be to make our own organ arrangements of contemporary christian tunes that are popular with the teens. I'm 50 years old and anticipate that I'll be in my postion for a long time. I have determined that I will not play like the "old ladies" by dragging down the music part of the service with funeral dirges and a never changing registration. I make use of my drawbars and fortunately my organ also has several pistons. </P>


    We do both in our services, I play bass in our house band first and then move to the organ for the rest of the service. </P>

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: News from Twin Creeks



      It's interestingthat my little Twin Creeks stories bring about so much fascinating discussion. If only all this were just a joke! I started telling tales of Yvonna and Aunt Minnie as a way of gently poking fun at the kind of organists and pianists that I deal with on an almost daily basis in the course of my service business. Unfortunately, there are many, many churches in this part of the US that are very much like Twin Creeks.</P>


      Ever since I was a seminary studentI've felt a passion for traditional, classicalchurch music. I fell in love with "real" church musicthrough exposure to organ and choir musicin college. The little country Baptist church I grew up in was a lot like Twin Creeks. We did have some wise pastors who led usto leave behind theStamps-Baxter cr*p and purchase Broadman Hymnals back in the early 60's, thankGod. When I became the church pianist as a teenager (we had no organ), I had heard enough good music that I knew what I wanted my playing to sound like, but I still had a lot to learn!</P>


      The saddest thing about Twin Creeks is not that Aunt Minnie and Yvonna are going to be playing there until they die. What is so sad is that the people simply don't know any kind of music other than "I'll Fly Away" and such drivel, and it would be a huge step for them to begin to appreciate the grand traditional hymns and be led into worship by them.</P>


      Sadder yet,such a church is an easy target for the hucksters of contemporary "worship aids" such as ready-to-use Sunday morning worship services pre-packaged with PowerPoint slides and the accompaniment on a CD. A lot of folks would probably jump at the chance to "modernize" Twin Creeks in this way and just chuck the organ.</P>


      The one-time experience with Tay, Jessie, and Dan leading the music may have opened some eyes just a crack, but it would take a very aggressive music program to do much long-lasting good there. But the positive reaction speaks well of these country folks, and helps bolster my personal theory that truly GOOD music, properly presented, is going to be enjoyed by almost anyone, regardless of their previous exposure. There just isn't any mechanism in place to encourage theuse of good music in all these little backwoods churches.</P>


      I have pondered the idea of organizing some sort of "organ club" here in my area which would bring together church musicians from all kinds of little churches and (hopefully) expose them to some worthy music and give them a little training. Even the most rudimentary concepts of organ playing are entirely foreign to people like Yvonna, who doesn't know a flute from a krummhorn, has never lifted her fingers off the keys between two notes (plays using the molasses method her mother taught her), and firmly believes the organ is to be seen and not heard.</P>


      Another idea I've floated with my businesspartner Mattis to gearup to do organ programs in willing churches, usinga movable organ (such as a MIDI-based console withvirtual organ software). Who knows what inspiration some amateur volunteer organist might get from hearing a decent pipe-organ-approximation, played as an organ should be, right in his own church. There could be a lot of positive vibes. (no pun intended)</P>


      But things can and do change. In my church music career, which goes back into the late 60's, I've witnessed an almost wholesale changeover in Southern Baptist musical tastes and attitudes. Some for the good, but much for the bad. But what will the next decade bring? Is there any chance we'll see some turning back to the traditional hymns and use of the organ? We'll see. We can live and hope.</P>


      And take whatever opportunities we have to "evangelize" about the organ, as someone else mentioned. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet . . ."</P>


      John</P>
      <P mce_keep="true"></P>
      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


      • #18
        Re: News from Twin Creeks



        I agree John,</P>


        I'm so tired of "I'll Fly Away" and others like it. If my theologywan't important to me I'd move over to the church in my town that has a pipe organbut no organist.</P>


        I've been working through Gleason's Method of OrganPlaying. I find the manual studies to be incredibly satisfying to play. The teens would probably say that's boring but they should try it. It's a great way to mellow out. In my parent's church (SBC) they used to have an organ interlude duringthe quiet prayer time. I have always missed that and have never been in another church that did that. The organ interlude sure wans't "I'll Fly Away".The organ (Gulbransen I think) was left behind when my parent's church moved.Everything is canned there now.</P>


        Your organ club idea is great. I'd come all the way toArkansas to attend a meeting. </P>

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: News from Twin Creeks



          John,</p>

          Last April I had an experience similar to Tay, Jessie, and Dan. My father's twin brother passed away, and I was asked to play for the funeral. It was held at a small methodist church. The area was once rural and but is now a suburb of Atlanta. The church is still rural with most of the members being long-time residents of the area. The organ was a small Allen Protege. I don't know the model number but it seems very similar to Allen's current Chapel Series CF-15. After the service, I received several positive comments along the lines of:</p><ul>[*]The organ has never sounded this good.[*]I've never heard this organ sound like that.[/list]

          Even the organist, an older lady, told me how much she enjoyed it. I was at somewhat of a disadvantage playing the Allen because I did not have but about an hour to familiarize myself with the organ. Also, I did not expect an organ of that quality in the church--I was expecting a Hammond spinet, which is very common in rural churches here. Thus, I did not bring my OrganMaster shoes and was playing in my street shoes. Thus, at the beginning, there were a several pedaling mistakes. [:)]
          </p>

          Now, I am not a trained organist (classical or otherwise). But I have been serving as church organist for 23 years. I started when I was 15 years old. I have also read and studied a lot of information on hymn playing at the organ. I do not use the same registration for each hymn. I do "breathe" with the lyrics. I have also listened to other trained organist so I can hear how they play. Many people have commented how much they enjoy and appreciate my music--both at my home church and at other churches. However, I fully realize that I am no Diane Bish, Cameron Carpenter, etc. I learned to play on a spinet home organ and am still (gasp!) a left-foot pedaler. With all that having been said, I am grateful to have the limited talent with which God blessed me, and it a joy for me to us it to serve Him.</p>

          Later,</p>

          Allen</p>

          [quote user="jbird604"]</p>

          . . . .</p>

          The one-time experience with Tay, Jessie, and Dan leading the music may have opened some eyes just a crack, but it would take a very aggressive music program to do much long-lasting good there. But the positive reaction speaks well of these country folks, and helps bolster my personal theory that truly GOOD music, properly presented, is going to be enjoyed by almost anyone, regardless of their previous exposure. There just isn't any mechanism in place to encourage theuse of good music in all these little backwoods churches.</p>

          . . . .</p>

          John</p>
          [/quote]
          Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

          YouTube Channel

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: News from Twin Creeks



            Allen,</P>


            This is a wonderful post! You remind me so much of myself, and I think there are many like us who really try very hard to improve our method of playing. However, my playing in public days are all over, and I just play once inawhile here at home. I have a pump organ, Baldwin Church organ, and spinets by Baldwin, Thomas, Lowrey, and Wurlitzer. Just take a little at time and learn to use your right foot as much as possible. However, I will admit I am not the best there, and I still enjoy playing on spinet organs.</P>


            Apparently someone in that small church really knows what a true church organ should be, and it is so good to hear that one is being used and hopefully the elderly lady who plays it does better than so many that we have heard about via this post on the OF.</P>
            <P mce_keep="true"></P>


            James</P>
            Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
            Baldwin Spinet 58R
            Lowrey Spinet SCL
            Wurlitzer 4100A
            Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


            Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

            Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
            Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
            Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: News from Twin Creeks



              Mark,</P>


              That pipe organ would very interesting to me. It is a great alternative for you.</P>


              I remember playing a soft interlude for background prayer which was nice I thought.</P>


              It is a shame another one gone to canned music. Wonder what happened to the organ in your parents church?</P>


              James</P>
              Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
              Baldwin Spinet 58R
              Lowrey Spinet SCL
              Wurlitzer 4100A
              Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


              Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

              Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
              Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
              Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: News from Twin Creeks



                Allen,</P>


                Be proud of yourself as a self-taught organist! That's what most of us are, I'd guess. And you have done well to listen to other organists and emulate them. That is certainly one of the best learning methods. Your situation is not too different from mine. My training was on the piano for about 5 or 6 years as a kid, then I learned the organ "by observation" in later life. I made a habit of buying recordings of organists I wanted to be like and listening to them intently.</P>


                My partner Matt is one of the most astounding organists I have ever heard and he isself-taught, other thanpiano lessons as a kid. But Matt has an ear for what other organists do that simply amazes me. He can hear and analyze a performace by one of the great churchor touring artists and with some practice do an incredible likeness. He can apply what he learns from hearing these artists to arrangements of his own. He just knows what to do with an organ and all its resources, and produces artistic music that totally belies his lack of formal training.</P>


                That, I believe, is the key to making great music at the organ -- knowing the resources of the instrument and using them to best advantage. May that be our goal.</P>


                John</P>
                <P mce_keep="true"></P>
                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


                • #23
                  Re: News from Twin Creeks



                  John and James,</p>

                  Thanks for the encouragement! It was a real "pick-me-up." We all need that from time to time. [:)]</p>

                  John, you do have more formal musical training than myself. I have no formal keyboard training at all. I learned to read music in middle school band where I played alto saxophone. Prior to that I had learned the notes on a piano keyboard from a elderly lady (a former piano teacher) in the nursing home that my grandmother was in. The lady told me, "Before two black keys is a C, and before three black keys is an F." I remembered that later when I played an organ for the first time. However, I did take a year of music theory in college. I wanted to take the second year of theory but the classes conflicted time-wise with my major courses. (I was math major. I actually have a PhD in math and teach math at a local college.)</p>

                  I, unlike many organist, started playing organ before piano. I learned to play the piano just like I have learned how to do most things musically--by needing/having to do them. When I started playing at my church, it was very small. We had a pianist who could only play hymns. Eventually, the music and choir programs grew. Someone was needed to accompany choir pieces on the piano. I was the most musically trained person in terms of playing. Thus, I started accompanying the choir on the piano. I am still the one who plays for the choir specials on piano.
                  </p>

                  For a little more about how I got interested and started playing the organ, see this post in the Home Organ section of the forum.</p>

                  On a slightly different note, I've got another interesting story for you. Several years ago I played for a wedding at the First Baptist Church in a near by town. The church had a pipe organ. (I don't remember the maker now.) After the ceremony, an older lady came up and started talking about the organ. Her deceased husband had played the organ at the church for some years and was considered a superb organist (at least by her). She asked me from whom I had studied organ. I replied, "I am self-taught." She looked aghast and offended and walked off. I do not know if this speaks to my musicianship, or the lady's lack of perception concerning a "trained" organist, or both. But I have always found it a humorous anecdote.</p>

                  Later,</p>

                  Allen
                  </p>
                  Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

                  YouTube Channel

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: News from Twin Creeks



                    Allen,</P>


                    WOW!!! a Ph.D in Math. You should be able to do anything you wish. Math was my weakest subject, and I think it comes from a fear of it as well as my third grade teacher not being the teacher she should have been. It seemed that I began to slip right there, and when in the fourth grade I could not reason a "story problem" out to save my life. It seems that when that old fashioned rough and tough teacher gave homework she would give two pages of story problems with about 10 or 11 on each page. My Dad had to help me, and he was a carpentar who could figure anything out in his head. He had a awful time with me, and one thing I MUST have my homework done for the next AM or that teacher would take a board and wear the bottom out of any kids that had an incompleted page or didn't do the assignment. Math was our first subject each AM, and she would come around to check to see who had their work completed or you stood by the blackboard until she checked each student's paper, There was about 30 in the class which took a bit of time. When finished she took that paddle and one by one they each got a good hard paddling. It was a nightmare the PM before with my Dad being so impatient, and then trying my best to avoid that paddling the next AM. That old gal really taught the three R's with a hickory stick, and any time she told you do do something you better or the next thing that board was being applied to the seat of knowledge.</P>
                    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                    Back to the Organ,</P>


                    One time when I was in high school and playing the organ for a Presbyterian church, an ex minister of the church and his wife visited. There was no organ there when they pastored the church, but I heard she played piano well. She didn't play for the church because they had others that did the music. She told me, "James you play the organ quite well for a young man, and who do you study under?" I told her I was self taught and the choir directorassisted me in many ways. She looked very puzzled, and said, "well you NEED to be under a good instructor because you have great potential there." I just thought her telling me that was very emphatically done the way she said it which can make a big difference.</P>


                    I later did study under an ex minister and his wife who moved back to pastor the church, and she had studied organ in college. She was a wonderful teacher, and so interesting to hear of the different organs she had played as well as practiced on when she was a student.</P>


                    I was taught piano and organ at the same time. I had a piano at home to practice on, and the teacher usually came by to teach me. However, there were times she asked that I come to her house, and she only had a Hammond M2 spinet organ. I fell in love with the organ, and later was able to persuade the pastor of the church where I atteded to let me practice on the church Hammond a C2. So, Allen, I go back a good ways playing on those older models and they were not very old at that time.</P>
                    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                    Allen, I enjoyed reading about your experieces on the other post too. Just keep up the good work, and matters will be fine. I tell my good frined who is organist at the FUMC, don't make it so difficult that you can't enjoy playing that nice pipe organ. I enjoy playing on it from time to time. Those pipes can spoil you rather quickly. My friend has a Maters in music, and teaches string instuments to students. He is a gifted pianist which is his greatest love, and the organ fell into his lap when the late organist was ill for a very long time. He called ME of all people to assist him with his transistion from the piano to the organ. I spent many a Sat. AM showing and telling him, and it all was so rewarding. After he subbed for the main organist, who was a Mater of the Organ, he took his same post of being an assitant with the early servies, etc. Then the main organist took ill again, and he was appointed the main organist with the understanding that if Mrs. W. wanted to play any she would be most welcome.She was only able to play the piano a few times for the choir, then was too ill to get well and passed on. I don't know of anyone in the church that could do the organ if John doesn't make it some Sunday. So the lack of people playing the pipe organ is getting almost nil these days. </P>
                    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                    I have no degrees in music, mine are in Elem. Educ, and English/Social Studies Educ. both batchelor degrees. I wish I had had a long career in Educ, but apparently the Almighty had other plans for me.</P>
                    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                    James</P>
                    Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
                    Baldwin Spinet 58R
                    Lowrey Spinet SCL
                    Wurlitzer 4100A
                    Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


                    Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

                    Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
                    Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
                    Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: News from Twin Creeks



                      Allen,</P>


                      A bit more. It was Christmas 1958, and I was 13. My present that year was an old Gulbransen Player Piano with all the player part removed and some black painted plyboard inserted instead. It didn't even have a matching bench, but one was brought by for me to use later. My folks gave $65.00 for that old thing, and that was what I had to practice on. They did have it tuned a couple of times for me. It is ironic that I learned it was pitched below the normal A440 pitch. After I bought my first organ a Hammond M100 Series I never touched that old piano again. It was June of1968 when I bought my own Hammond.</P>


                      It is ironic that the Presbyterian church who gave me a chance to play the organ while I was in high school bought their newHammond C3 in the Spring of 1958. Five yearsexactlyafter they purchased that organ I was playing many a Sunday AM's for the main service. I never dreamed I would have attended church there when I got that piano for Christmas in 1958.</P>


                      I wished many a time that we had another brand of organ since Hammond was not the best for our type of music. Our elderly choir director who was a gifted pianist could get some awful sounds out of that Hammond, and itcaused a bit of a"confusion" whenshe learned the peoplepreferred my playingthe organinstead of her. I was and still am most fascinated by the old Wurlitzer organs, and Gulbransen organs. Eight one of these could have served our needs much better.</P>


                      So the beat goes on with inept wanna be's organists in churches.</P>


                      James</P>
                      Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
                      Baldwin Spinet 58R
                      Lowrey Spinet SCL
                      Wurlitzer 4100A
                      Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


                      Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

                      Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
                      Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
                      Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

                      Comment

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