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Why are lovely and amazing used organs suddenly going begging for takers?

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  • jbird604
    replied
    I've seen some youtube videos of the WM-47 being demonstrated for LDS musicians, and I'm quite impressed with what I hear. Looks like the organ I'd love to own myself if I could!

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  • arie v
    replied
    John,

    I don't think the LDS church has changed the way they do business in quite a while. Head office picks the vendors they deal with, in the case of organs, it is Allen and Johannus, and they design a semi-custom organ, which is deemed to do what the musical advisers to fulfill musical requirements. They get a local installer to install the organ, with the proviso that the organ not be changed, as it is "pre-voiced" at the factory. As their sanctuaries are not identical, and generally the acoustics are quite dreadfull, I changed the voicing as needed.

    The current Johannus LDS model is the WM-47. A better sounding instrument than the WM-44, but the console is much less elegant.

    I don't think these models are built in quantity, maybe half a dozen or so at a time. They may warehouse a few at the factory, but they do not stock them in the US as far as I know.

    The number of organs that the LDS church procures is way down from what it used to be. Part of it is due to a lot of congregations not having organists to play them.

    Another group that Johannus sells direct to is in the Phillipines called Iglesia Ni Cristo. (Church of Christ) They order organs by the container load. Again mostly a standard model customized by the church's musical leaders.

    AV

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  • mrdc2000
    replied
    The LDS 44 was replaced by the LDS 47 about 4 years ago and has a much better sound than the 44.
    The 47 is made by Makin in England, a division of Johannus in the Netherlands. The organ uses long samples for every note of every stop from English cathedral pipeorgans.

    Leave a comment:


  • jbird604
    replied
    Good deal! That Johannus LDS-44 is certainly a perfect fit for a meeting house, and the spec is just what you need for the music you'll play in those services. One thing that is not ideal, unless things have changed since I was at an Allen dealership in the 80's, is that the organ companies (currently just Allen and Johannus, I think) have a special arrangement with the LDS. They build these special models in quantity and sell them at low cost directly to the LDS Church, bypassing the dealer network.

    The local dealer is involved only in sending out a tech to install the organ once it is delivered, and the dealer gets only a token fee for doing this. As a result, some dealers have been lax about doing proper setup and voicing, leaving the organs with a less than optimum sound and performance. I have in fact gone in after a number of these on-the-cheap installs and "finished" the job only half-done by a dealer. Seriously, it only takes an hour to do a rather adequate setup -- making sure the speakers are properly wired, setting the amp levels and checking the voicing to be sure something isn't way out of whack.

    Your results may differ though. Since this arrangement has been in force for 40 years now, church leadership may have had a heart to heart talk with the companies and made them do better work on these installs. Johannus may be doing it better than Allen has typically done it around here too. And a lot will depend on the dealership handling the delivery and who they send out to install.

    I hope it all goes well for you, but if you think the organ isn't set up correctly (if some stops are not the right level, for example), talk to your local FM director and have him send a tech to correct the problems.

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  • kennyrayandersen
    replied
    Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
    kennyrayanderson, are you speaking of the LDS church? Your description sounds somewhat like what I know of the organization. I certainly respect the firm guidance provided by the LDS hierarchy so that local congregations don't get led off into the wilderness by an individual or small group who want to "modernize" the church.
    Why yes John, you are correct. The organ they are giving us now (it comes with the building!) Is a Johanus LDS-44 that is spec-ed by the church and I'm quite sure they buy them in bulk! It ain't fancy, but it's an organ!

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  • jbird604
    replied
    kennyrayanderson, are you speaking of the LDS church? Your description sounds somewhat like what I know of the organization. I certainly respect the firm guidance provided by the LDS hierarchy so that local congregations don't get led off into the wilderness by an individual or small group who want to "modernize" the church.

    Leave a comment:


  • kennyrayandersen
    replied
    Our churches don't really get the high-end stuff a lot of you guys get exposed to and our congregations are kept relatively small intentionally, but every unit has and uses an organ (at least in the US anywhere there is a 'usual-sized" congregation. No one gets paid for playing, but we give it the old college try! I'm a converted piano player and have been playing the organ regularly for the last 3-4 years -- I'm passable I guess! Anyway, not everyone had bailed the traditional music -- some of us are clinging to the more reverent music that most posting here appreciate! It should mean some decent practice organs coming up for sale at a good price, but certainly, at least for this cycle, the heyday may have waned!

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  • Roger Memphis
    replied
    Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
    One of the churches for which I was the organist had a list of approved selections for church. --- I was there slightly less than a year and was glad to leave.
    This is one of the most ridiculous, narrow-minded restraints I've ever heard of in a church. To close the door on much of the existing and all of the newly-published music should be an enormous turn-off to any reasonably intelligent members and to any visitors considering membership. I can certainly understand your departure!
    Roger Memphis

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  • jtadams
    replied
    This discussion has brought out lots of emotion in me. Technology has made it possible for nearly any church to enjoy at least an approximation of the sounds of a good quality pipe organ, to accompany many styles of music (not just the great, majestic hymns of the faith, although I'm quite partial thereto). Few churches are interested. That's why the market is so weak. But I think, at the risk of digressing, that a lot of modern "praise/worship music" has made churches weak also. I'm not against modern music. But much of it is artistically and theologically void, and I really don't believe it will stand the test of time. And even in churches that have magnificent, at least partially working pipe organs - I know of several - no one even attempts to integrate it into whatever musical-fad-of-the-day happens to be popular any given Sunday morning. I worry that within a few generations nearly all churches will have forgotten the majesty of worship music as I knew it growing up, not to mention the Christ- rather than man-centered theology it so beautifully expressed. I think if we want the situation to improve, we need to figure out ways to "sell" organ music, both worship and concert music, to younger generations. I don't have the slightest clue how.

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  • Bach-On
    replied
    One of the churches for which I was the organist had a list of approved selections for church. It also included weddings. It was developed by a woman who had been the Music Director at one time. She sat down and made a list of selections she felt were appropriate and in good taste. Any organist who played something that wasn't on her list was subject to a written reprimand. Three reprimands and you qualified for dismissal.

    I don't have any issue with her having music she likes. I do object to the church leadership adopting her personal preferences list and making it official. I was there slightly less than a year and was glad to leave. And this woman is still harassing organists with her infamous list.

    Bach On

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  • Hamman
    replied
    Originally posted by eaaron View Post
    Funny this post got resurrected I had a conversation with a colleague last week about how it seems organs have become the abandoned puppy of church music. Playing in a church that brought an organ back after many, many, many years was an up hill battle with some of the congregation, truthfully I would say 80% had one issue or another.

    We spent almost 5 years fundraising and building about $2000-2500 a year with a very supportive pastor that wanted an organ and was antsy to find one but luckily also agreed with me on not jumping on something that would fit because the price was right. If we were to convince the congregation we needed an instrument that would inspire not bring cringes. We were lucky enough to find an instrument about 3 hours away that we could afford. It was an Allen dealer that had the unit from an upgrade to a larger instrument, apparently there are some out there who still want to support the cause as the upgrade must have been $175-250k at least. They had tried to offer it as a used instrument for almost 2 years with no takers and finally decided to sell it as is with no installation, and parts out half the speakers (still wish we could have had a few of the HC-9s) we paid $11k and I spent nearly 2 weeks cleaning, testing, and adjusting before even bringing the console into the church. It was then almost 2 months before we fired the instrument up for its first service, during which time our music director, pastor and fundraising page got some cranky comments.

    However the wait was worth it. Even with my rusty playing the doubters and complainers were taken aback at the sound. In 13 years of playing at the church more people joined in singing at the two services that day then I had ever heard prior. I even had one of the complaint writers come up to me and apologize for the comments, this being someone who would be happiest with the praise-ist of all praise bands, and said she realized that it was the first time she felt she was singing with and part of the music and not being sung in what she could remember.

    I really think there has become this polarization in the world of service music especially when it comes to organs. The misnomer that contemporary hymns are not able to be played and rendered well on an organ pushes the instrument to the side as an ornamental relic of "old people". Plus the opposite extreme of the "Purist" that want classical repertoire and that organs are traditional and don't work with "contemporary" instruments, puts the real possibilities of what music can be created down limited paths.

    The fault of this lies on both sides of the stop rail. The "praise" group that wants a "pop-esc" type sound and sees the organ as a lumbering sloth that dirges along and has no place in their music based solely on their perception of the instrument, and the organists that don't know how, or in some cases are unwilling, to break the traditional style of organ playing to be able to work with "contemporary" groups and bring the uniqueness and flexibility of the instrument.

    I have tried very hard to reform the image the organ to our congregation and choirs. We have groups that have guitars both acoustic and electric, bass, drums, percussion and various other instruments. All playing a mix of contemporary and traditional hymns joined by both organ and piano that bring some amazing music to life. Plus our youth choirs have started to realize the depth and beauty in many older hymns. It is truly a win win.

    I had the chance recently to sit in on a rehearsal of a local Baptist church where I was adjusting their sound system. A friend plays bass for the group and they just bought a refurbished Hammond A100 to add to their praise band. My friend egged me on to play a piece with them on piano and/or the Hammond, I agreed but instead sat down at the 20 rank 3 manual Fisk console, the director gave me a confused look and just went with it. Four minutes later the director and the keyboard player both looked at each other and said, almost simultaneously, "Why did we buy the Hammond?" They now use the Fisk at least once a service with the band and I have gotten a couple emails of "We tried xxx hymn with the organ and can't believe how well it worked." The sad part is that I have gotten feedback from other local organists that the organ doesn't belong in that "type" of music.

    I guess the end result is as organists new, old and in between we need to be flexible in what we play, and find ways to teach others what the instrument is capable of providing. Otherwise more and more instruments will be left to rot in their chambers, or on craigslist and *Bay.

    Erik
    Yet I play both Hammond and an Allen ADC 5300 and can see where both can be utilized. I brought my choir director friend (gospel style) over to my house a year or so ago and showed him my Allen ADC 5300 set-up.....pretty custom....he was blown away at the majestic sound that it has. I played some very conservative evagelical hymn pieces for him....mostly anthems, and he started considering his choir sing some of them. I turned him towards Samuel Metzger on *tube ( since I like his arrangements) of which he enjoyed immensely. What I think is the "issue" people today have with the organ is the stereotyped sound of a one being in a funeral parlor. It also doesn't help when the organist has absolutely no legato whatsoever and or picks stops that are shrieking. There will have to be flexibility on both sides of the coin on this issue. I see pure conservative organist ramrod their organ style.....right into a dead end cave....and then can't figure out why nobody wants to take the baton. I'm sorry....but I peruse *tube nightly for good organist and can't believe what some of these big churches have....thinking they're the greatest.....gawd awful! But, on the other hand.....alot of these so called church Hammond players are going deep into these weird a** chords that aren't even musical to the ear and are being "praised" for their ability to play. I'm still hopeful that I can convince my Hammond friends that playing an Allen or Rodgers or any other good conservative brand, can bring a world of ideas! All this........it either has to be this way or that way or the highway is pure nonsense....

    Leave a comment:


  • Admin
    replied
    Originally posted by circa1949 View Post
    Are we not allowed to reply to the feed bot posts?
    Yes you can, but all posts to Feed Bot threads are subject to moderator approval before appearing on the Forum.

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  • circa1949
    replied
    Originally posted by myorgan View Post
    Has anyone seen this? http://www.organforum.com/forums/showthread.php?47771

    The only suitable music I can think of is Another One Bites the Dust! Sigh.

    Michael
    Are we not allowed to reply to the feed bot posts?
    In any case, that price is still incredibly unrealistic. The most a 3 manual ADC ever sold for on ebay was around $5000, and the most a 3 manual MDS (next gen) ever sold for was 12K.

    Have briefly perused this thread and the other long running one from Arie. Sorry, there might be some green shoots here and there, but the cultural tide is not going to turn back to traditional church music in this country. If we are all still around in 15 years and I am proven wrong, I will happily eat crow. As in a live one. But I'm not worried about having to fulfill that promise. It's pretty obvious that everyone involved in making organs, digital or not, knows this. Roland certainly did!

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  • myorgan
    replied
    Has anyone seen this? http://www.organforum.com/forums/showthread.php?47771

    The only suitable music I can think of is Another One Bites the Dust! Sigh.

    Michael

    Leave a comment:


  • rjsilva
    replied
    Originally posted by eaaron View Post
    In 13 years of playing at the church more people joined in singing at the two services that day then I had ever heard prior. I even had one of the complaint writers come up to me and apologize for the comments, this being someone who would be happiest with the praise-ist of all praise bands, and said she realized that it was the first time she felt she was singing with and part of the music and not being sung in what she could remember.

    Leave a comment:

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