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

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    The disposal of fine organs continues, and newer organs are starting to show up for little money. As you all know, I got my Renaissance R-230 last year for not much, though that was due to its being out of order, and the local guy they engaged hadn't been able to fix it. I used to think that we'd never see MDS or Renaissance organs offered cheap or free the way we've seen with MOS and ADC, but recent events are proving me wrong.

    This morning I heard from a well-placed source that a church in a nearby state had sold their MDS-51S for $4K. (That's a six-channel 3m classical model with a pretty large spec, W-5 technology, mid to late 90's. Stop list similar to the ADC-5300.) That's a lot of good-sounding organ for not much money! I only wish they'd advertised it here and one of you guys had gotten it. We can hope that it will wind up in good hands...

    And I recently got a call from a church not too far away that they are wanting to sell their Renaissance-era organ (around 15 years old, not yet sure of the model) because they haven't used it in several years and it's now stored in another part of the building. If I can make a deal with them, I hope to pass it on to a church that will use it and give it a good home.

    Anyway, once the floodgates open, we may well see lots of these newer organs out there for the taking. Picking up an MDS isn't a bad idea, since the voicing is done with a mini-screwdriver, much like ADC. But picking up a Renaissance or later could be risky, as it takes a lot more skill to properly voice these models.

    But I guess we'll deal with the situation as it progresses. I'm still amazed at the organs being offered and having no takers.
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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      And two current threads right here on this forum...... A huge ADC-7000 for $5K and an astounding TT-4 custom organ for $4K.

      What's the world coming to?
      John
      ----------
      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        What's the world coming to?
        Sorry to belabor a point, but just look around you! Without going too far OT into current events, it shouldn't be hard for one to look around and see that we are in the midst of a cultural watershed. And NOT one that's going to put more people back in churches listening to classic liturgical music. (it might put them into 'contemporary' service type churches, though) Politics (and the national zeitgeist) these days is all about 'populism' and the attendant 'lowest common denominator'...and there's nothing popular about "classical" music. The surfeit of cheap, unwanted digital organs could almost be called a 'lagging cultural indicator'.

        I think the American market is just plain dead and not coming back. I think the rest of the world MIGHT keep e-organ manufacturers alive, but I'm not placing any bets.
        Last edited by circa1949; 07-13-2018, 08:26 PM.

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          Originally posted by circa1949 View Post
          Sorry to belabor a point, but just look around you! Without going too far OT into current events, it shouldn't be hard for one to look around and see that we are in the midst of a cultural watershed. And NOT one that's going to put more people back in churches listening to classic liturgical music. (it might put them into 'contemporary' service type churches, though) Politics (and the national zeitgeist) these days is all about 'populism' and the attendant 'lowest common denominator'...and there's nothing popular about "classical" music. The surfeit of cheap, unwanted digital organs could almost be called a 'lagging cultural indicator'.

          I think the American market is just plain dead and not coming back. I think the rest of the world MIGHT keep e-organ manufacturers alive, but I'm not placing any bets.
          Viscount C400 3-manual
          8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
          Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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            That's the extent of your contribution? Why even read this thread in that case? Might as well stick your head back in the sand! I was talking along these lines 10 years ago, and the hosannas of "liturgical music will stage a comeback" have yet to prove true...

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              Originally posted by circa1949 View Post
              That's the extent of your contribution? Why even read this thread in that case? Might as well stick your head back in the sand! I was talking along these lines 10 years ago, and the hosannas of "liturgical music will stage a comeback" have yet to prove true...
              Viscount C400 3-manual
              8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
              Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

              Comment


                Interesting thread. I can only wish we could get used organs for those prices here in Australia! My closest Allen dealer (and there are only three in all of Oz) regularly advertises Allen consoles in non-working condition (for conversion to VPO) for A$2000-5000. One other dealer (whose territory covers more than 2000km (1200 miles) top to bottom) claimed to me that business couldn't be better. But the decline of churches in general, and organ music, is much the same here...but Oz, being more secular, comes off a much smaller percentage base than the USA.

                For myself I play both the organ and the keyboard in our band. The organ plays more Sundays than band. On the organ I will occasionally play a modern song if the pastor wants to throw one in with the hymns (and it's suitable for organ). The band occasionally plays a hymn if needed but this is much harder with the complex chord structure of hymns. I would love to play some organ with the band but haven't found the right song yet.

                I think we need to challenge the stereotype that organ can only play hymns and classical repertoire as was pointed out earlier. One of the most stirring movie scores I have heard for a while is the one from "Interstellar" featuring the organ of the Temple Church in London. Even my kids (late teen to 20 something) liked it. The violin, that quintessential classical instrument, seems to have been able to bridge the divide into modern music. But with organ it means compromise between both classical and modern camps in church...and that's easier said than done because they can both be as stubborn as each other.

                There are some writers of "modern" hymns such as my favourites Keith and Kristen Getty. The tunes are thoroughly modern and suited to a band but written in such a way as to be easily accessible to organ if needed. They are mostly metrical and often have 4 part harmony versions that any organist would be comfortable playing. Anyway, I'm not here to promote them. Classical organ is my genre of choice, but I really enjoy playing with the band too which probably makes me a bit odd. Perhaps if we want to see our instrument survive we might need to broaden our horizons a little? Even JS Bach was a "modern" writer at one point in history.
                Last edited by Powerin; 07-14-2018, 01:24 AM.

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                  Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                  Picking up an MDS isn't a bad idea, since the voicing is done with a mini-screwdriver, much like ADC. But picking up a Renaissance or later could be risky, as it takes a lot more skill to properly voice these models.
                  Speak for yourself, John. I'll choose software over a screwdriver any day.

                  Comment


                    Australia is an interesting example because it's an incredibly small market compared to the US, but, it has a couple things going for it. The one most worth mentioning is that, it's a commonwealth country so I assume that, as in England, people actually learn to sing in school. (but I could be wrong, I don't actually know how much AU schooling is like the UKs.) I'm convinced that this is actually a major issue affecting liturgical music in the USA that is little appreciated as a cause of 'praise bandification'. It's a lot easier to think you're singing a stupid pseudo-pop song than a real piece of music, and so of course we've had a "reversion to the easy". I've been to AU for 3 weeks a few years ago, and to the UK several times. I have only attended an 'event in a parish church where hymns were sung' once in "the Commonwealth", and that was in Rye UK. Which was a classical music concert at Rye Church. But I could not believe the difference. It was like EVERY FREAKIN PERSON in the audience knew how to sing parts. Including the young people. Everyone in-tune. Like being surrounded by a semi-professional choir! I get the same impression from youtube vids of UK church services like the wedding of the American actress. (The BBC really upped their game compared to the funeral of Diana in 1997...much better audio quality. I have the CD of that. Tho in fairness to 1997's audio engineers though, an easier venue to record as well!) But anyhow you can easily tell most people in attendance are singing, not just the choir.

                    Compare to the US: someone here claimed the couple of high "Anglican" churches in NYC have good congregational singing. I can believe that, NYC is pretty sui generis when it comes to US culture. But I had, years ago, attended service at at least a couple of DC's prestige Episcopalian churches. One of them being St. Paul's K Street, can't even remember the other. This was a church that produced several CDs of their choir and had a fancy Schoenstein organ. Maybe I was just there on a bad day, but the congregational singing was basically just a sad murmuring with a handful of quality voices filtering through. Usually female. This has been true of any other event I attended with congregational singing, in the US, in the past 15 years and/or as long as I can remember! For me, it's usually organ dedications, not actual services.* (and of course I've been to several services at National Cathedral - same issue more or less. A minority are trying, but most people attending clearly cannot or do not sing. The one exception being the AGO 'Pipes Spectacular' at the National Cathedral following 9/11, when there was a moving singing of 'I Vow to Thee My Country'. With many organists and church music fans in attendance, the singing was superb. THAT was like being in the UK!)

                    * - and I will actually say, another counter-example - both to the trend and my church attendance patterns LOL - was my Grandma's funeral at a small mainline protestant church in the rural South, in the early 2000s. They had a nice sounding 1990s digital Euro-organ...the mere fact of its presence at such a small, rural church meaning that traditional liturgical music had been very important to many people in the congregation. And a lot of older people in attendance could sing, very well...sadly I happen to know quite a few of them are gone now too. Including the guy who gave the moving and memorable eulogy.
                    Last edited by circa1949; 07-14-2018, 05:40 AM.

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                      Originally posted by circa1949 View Post
                      ..... The one most worth mentioning is that, it's a commonwealth country so I assume that, as in England, people actually learn to sing in school. (but I could be wrong, I don't actually know how much AU schooling is like the UKs.) I'm convinced that this is actually a major issue affecting liturgical music in the USA that is little appreciated as a cause of 'praise bandification'. It's a lot easier to think you're singing a stupid pseudo-pop song than a real piece of music, and so of course we've had a "reversion to the easy".....
                      You hit the nail on the head, or one of them! It is absolutely DISASTROUS that we do not teach children to sing in this country, not in school, not in church either! The closest we come is with ridiculous characters like "Barney" -- and that's one fine role model for kids to take into worship.

                      Just the other day on some Facebook group I saw a posting by a lady who asked why we are teaching children such worthless pap and calling it "music." She said that she used to teach Gregorian Chant to five-year-olds, and they can do it! They loved it. But nowadays the school music curriculum and the "children's choir" programs at many churches consists of showing the kids silly videos of some brainless cartoon character making outlandish motions and dancing around singing totally worthless crap. No wonder the kids can't sing in church.

                      A very long time ago when I was in college and took a few music education classes, there was a textbook we used in one of them that gave a long list of HYMNS that could and should be taught to children of different ages. I can't remember anything on that list right now, but it was stuff like "This Is My Father's World" and "All Creatures of Our God and King" and even headier. And these hymns were categorized by the age at which a child could be expected to learn them. From the age of like 3 or 4, with the more complex hymns reserved for kids 8 or 9 years old.

                      Where did we lose our way? Who decided, and for what reason, that nobody under the age of 65 ought to be expected to sing real hymns? This is an enormous problem, and until we fix it, no amount of hand-wringing over the decline of authentic worship will do any good, because there aren't any people left who can sing for such a service.

                      Sad and pessimistic, but perhaps we have indeed reached the bottom or the extreme swing of the pendulum. We've seen things change drastically before, and it could happen again.
                      John
                      ----------
                      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                        Where did we lose our way? Who decided, and for what reason, that nobody under the age of 65 ought to be expected to sing real hymns? This is an enormous problem, and until we fix it, no amount of hand-wringing over the decline of authentic worship will do any good, because there aren't any people left who can sing for such a service.
                        Viscount C400 3-manual
                        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                        Comment


                          I started looking for a home organ about one year ago.

                          i investigated a number of used organs. Despite living in a major metro area, everything I found was too old, too far away, too big, too broke. Or otherwise unacceptable. As mentioned before, I have zero electronic skills, do not drive, and have limited vision. I then started looking at new and slightly used instruments from our local dealers. While the initial outlay is substantially higher, I do get delivery, installation, voicing and a warranty. That coupled with the cost of travel to check out some organ in the middle of wherever is worth two to four thousand dollars.

                          i thinking havefound my organ. The final negotiations are in process.

                          YMMV. I am impressed by you folks with soldering irons strapped to your belts and pockets full of capacitors. Not me.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                            It seems to me that many in the younger generation don’t naturally care about whether worship is ‘contemporary’ or not, but are told by the aging church leaders they need to care about such things, that organs and traditional hymns and <whatever> aren’t what they want, and many of them just go along with it.
                            The younger generation doesn't care about church as previous generations, period.

                            In 1976 only 7% of the population identified as being religiously unaffiliated, today that number is 25%. More telling is that in the 18 - 29 age group, 38% are unaffiliated. Roughly 62% of white evangelicals and Catholics and 59% of mainline Protestants are 50 or older.

                            https://www.organforum.com/forums/sh...l=1#post463546
                            -Admin

                            Allen 965
                            Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                            Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                            Hauptwerk 4.2

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                              You all are dancing around the central reason for children not learning to sing hymns: Christian music of any sort has been banned (not too strong a word if you are paying attention to the news) from all government-run schools in the US for the past 50 years in the name of "neutrality toward religion" and "diversity."

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                                Originally posted by don60 View Post
                                You all are dancing around the central reason for children not learning to sing hymns: Christian music of any sort has been banned (not too strong a word if you are paying attention to the news) from all government-run schools in the US for the past 50 years in the name of "neutrality toward religion" and "diversity."
                                Technically yes, but if you happen to get a music teacher who has zero problem walking that thin-line, he/she will break-out Mozart, Beethoven, etc. and teach the students the language it was written in, and its meaning. I learned a bit of German, Italian, and Latin in public high school because of the music teacher/choir director that was there at the time. He retired 10 years ago after 35 years in the same school district.
                                Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                                Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                                Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

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