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GEM Chorus I Classical Organ: info, manuals, whatever

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  • GEM Chorus I Classical Organ: info, manuals, whatever

    Hi everybody,
    first post here :-)

    I'm going to play the local church organ, and it's a GEM Chorus I.

    Having just some piano knowledge, I have no idea how to handle this, do you know where I could find any resource about it? Anything would be helpful.
    I've already tried to scour the net looking for at least an owner manual, but with no luck :-P

  • #2
    Welcome to the site.
    Most organs you push down a tab switch to get various sounds. There are special tabs for the pedals.
    You play the organ as if you were playing the piano mp, generally legato but occasionally marcato to give some articulation. Too much force often makes the keys click.
    In general in church music one analyses the chord structure and plays the roots of the chords softly with the pedal. If a spinet, usually any shoes will do, you play with the tips only. If a full 25 pedal board, often "organ shoes" from organmaster or dance shoes from a supply help to push down only one note at a time.
    Names of stops vary due to the tradition the organ is following. Try to find a mellow sound for general hymn accompanyment. Usually this is called a flute or tibia. 8' is the usual sound, sometimes one adds a 16' or 4' flute for some variation. The trumpet is for fanfares at the beginning of a couple of holiday hymns. Those 2 sounds are all the lady ever used at the church I attended growing up. Some players vary to a clarinet or reed sound (oboe often) for some verses, but some congregations find such variation distracting.
    Some players use vibrato or tremelo effect, most don't on hymns.
    The volume is a pedal like a car accelerator, down is louder. Try to get an assistant to help you set the normal volume, one that doesn't drown out the singers. Intros and special introit or recessional pieces can be louder. Fill music during communion or collection are usually played softer than hymns.
    I doubt if a Gem has second crecendo pedal, these add stops at random when pushed down and I find them quite distracting. If you find a crecendo pedal, leave it all the way up during hymn accompanyment.
    A Gem likely doesn't have a "capture action" system which remembers combinations of stops (tabs down) assigned to buttons between the manuals or kick buttons called "pistons". These require special movements to set and erase stop combinations.
    Don't leave the organ turned on when you leave, sometimes this damages the power supply.
    That is about it. have fun meeting the needs of your congregation.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112


    • #3
      Hi, and thank you for your reply.

      Actually, this seems to be easier: single five octaves manual and no pedals, only one volume pedal.
      It looks very much like this one:

      I found the LDS Organist blog which has some useful tips :)

      As you can see from the picture, there are 6 white circular buttons, which are marked 0, PP, P, MF, MIX, and T.
      What do they do?


      • #4
        there is the smallest Gem produced around early 90s.
        the pre-selection (not capture-action) pistons are; 0 (cancel), PP pianissimo (one stop used, Viola di Gamba) a soft sound; P, piano (stands for a soft, non-loud sound, selecting here the Viola di Gamba + Principal); MF, Mezzo Forte, MIX, Mixtures, and T for Tutti (typically all the stops used but here, in that organ, a kind of bad sample of tutti organ).
        this model of organ was mainly used to accompany a small congregation or even more a choir for rehearsals. It was a cheaper solution for those couldn't afford a bigger organ or don't (can't) play with two keyboards and pedals, typically pianists.
        I own the same one at home besides the numerous others organs (Allen, Roland Atelier and so on). Quite pleasant to play but very limited, of course due to the single keyboard and sounds from the beginning of the digital era for the Euro Organ builders (made in Italy).
        Later the same organ was sold under the plate name of Ahlborn.
        Simple and reliable. easy to move… I know some organists in the past used it as a continuo. When connected to a PA it sounds quite well.