Forum Top Banner Ad


Ebay Classic organs



No announcement yet.

Frustrated 62-year-old organ student

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Frustrated 62-year-old organ student

    One of my bucket list items is to learn to play the pipe organ. Unfortunately, after eight weeks, the church trustees have decided that my playing the organ will damage it, and they have asked me to stop -- they have even hidden the key. I have years of experience in various technical disciplines (including over 40 years of studying pipe organ design, construction, maintenance, etc.) I have even repaired it twice. I believe that as a member of this church for many years that they are being short-sighted, ignorant, and arrogant in their decision. I do not own, nor can I presently afford, an organ. My teacher is a professional organist with over thirty years of playing and teaching, including being a staff organist and playing the Wurlitzer at the Akron Civic Theatre for over seventeen years. They seem to not be interested in hearing any arguments contrary to theirs. They have openly stated (although there is no written policy anywhere that the pastor can find (who is on my side and originally to me to go for it)) that no one is permitted to play the organ except for the church organist, which we don't have. We have a piano player (by his own admission) that was hired to be the choir director and cannot play the organ. He hacks away at the two manuals, using the same registration for everything, and does not play the pedals. Even I can play the pedals. It's not like they don't know me; I have performed free maintenance at the church for years. How does one combat and overcome this type of closed-mindedness?

  • #2
    How do they say your playing would damage the organ. Do you wear metal baseball cleats when playing the pedals? Do you have wet paint on your fingers? As I read your post the question that comes to mind the most is whether they are being honest with you in their reason for not letting you play. I suspect they have some other agenda. I've had the same Hammond CV since I was a teen (age 61 now). The only damage over all those years was normal wear & tear. I think somebody is not being "up front" in speaking with you about their true reasons.

    I don't write this as a way of bashing the board of the church, but frankly in this one instance, their story stinks.
    I know it's been a good practice session when I pause for a quick break, return and the room has a faint odor of Hammond oil in the air that only occurs when the console has been running for hours & hours.

    1940 Hammond model D organ with 1970 Leslie #122 speaker.
    1942 Hammond model BC organ with 1958 Leslie #45 speaker with 122 amplifier and two speed motors.
    1994 Allen MDS-3 theatre organ


    • #3
      That is just rotten! I think pretty much any organbuilder will agree that the best thing for an organ is simply for it just to be played. What specifically do the trustees think you're going to damage?


      • #4
        1. Get yourself appointed as "The Church Organist"
        2. Start a petition amongst your fellow parishioners to grant you permission to use the organ
        3. Get a locksmith to change the organ lock
        4. Become a trustee and give yourself permission
        5. Go to another church
        6. Cut and paste this into google: free church organ
        and get your own organ


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dpfiling View Post
          How does one combat and overcome this type of closed-mindedness?
          Deal with someone else. They have shown their true colors and won't be changing their ways. They will continue to be close-minded.
          (You ARE telling us the whole story, right?)
          When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.


          • #6
            What kind of music are you playing? Some church boards are very picky about the music that is played in the Sanctuary, even when no service is under way (and the organ most likely is in the Sanctuary, right?).

            Since the pastor seemed to be open to your playing the instrument, ask him to find out what the real reason is that you are now being denied access.

            If you have documentation of when you fixed the instrument, bill them for the time. Let them know that your access to the instrument can be used for payment.



            • #7
              The root of this whole scenario is that choir director/thumper is getting paid, and he is never going to relent and let someone else near the organ. Blame the preacher period since they are the head of what goes on. There are numerous ones that have dealt with this sitution and I sure did when young which was something I never thought a church could do. I had so much to learn when young, but believe you me many put money and their positions first before anything that is Godly. I would look at this bitter experience as God working to draw you out of a mess and put you somewhere where your talent will be appreciated. I ended up in a wonderful place and opportunity not long after I was the same as invited to leave that "den of thieves." God had a hand in it all along.

              My advice is get out of there and never look back, and say to hell with it. Someplace else will give you a chance if you search around. There are still some nice electronic organs in churches that need an organist. Then, if searching around a bit you will find they need someone to play the pipe organ.

              The town where I live has five pipe organs in the various churches. One is hardly ever played, and two of the others have people who come from out of town to play on Sunday and maybe for the choir practice at mid week. At one time one of these churches had to look for someone out of town to come play for them. Only two have members from the congregation that play regularly.

              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


              • #8
                Unfortunately, I have had to experience a similar situation in the past. It was in a church I attended while growing up. Long story short: moving onwards to another church brought so much relief from the bitter situation. I never regret my decision. There are so many places that are welcoming and extremely grateful for the work musicians do.

                Perhaps someone may feel threatened by the prospect of another person playing music in the church. From what you describe it sounds you are already quite educated about the organ, and continuing on that quest by studying to play. Even though you consider yourself an organ student, you may be more skilled than the current "church organist."

                Keep looking out for an electronic instrument you could take home to make your practice organ. Be vigilant and something will eventually turn up.


                • #9
                  This scenario is one of the reasons that I insist upon having a residence organ. I currently live walking distance from our church where I have free access to our Schantz III/72 - at least when the church is not busy - which is usually late at night. But who knows what might happen? The parish is definitely unstable, sorry to say!


                  • #10
                    As several respondents have said having your own organ at home is much better than having to go to a church to practice (and deal with the politics)

                    Like I advised above - cut and paste this into google: free church organ
                    and get your own organ, like these

                    Free Allen Orgen

                    Free Wurlitzer to AGO spec

                    Another free Allen Organ

                    Free AGO spec Baldwin organ

                    OR cut and paste this into google: allen organ
                    and makes low offers on those for sale under $1000, like this one

                    Allen Organ offered at $750 make an offer at $250 and you'd probably get it

                    Use the 'More Search Tools' on google's results page and select 'past week' to just get current listings.

                    You can then become 'UNfrustrated 62 year old organ owner'
                    Last edited by Momboc; 04-10-2011, 08:47 PM.


                    • #11
                      I don't know your financial constraints (many of us are having them right now) so I may be speaking out of turn but since you asked us to look at your situation and I've checked out your location I'm reminded that some great organs I would really love to have were selling at nominal prices in Ohio. Do you have any friends with trucks? I've been fortunate to save alot of transportation costs the past few years by calling on my friends (and their friends) whereas I once thought nothing of paying $200 a move. Personally, I wouldn't change church affiliation since you are on good terms with the Pastor. (And as the son of a Pastor and a lay minister myself, let me say that in many instances Pastors don't have the last word). I'm sure you are a serious student and your credentials are impressive, but it just isn't worth the fight. Pray about it and God will guide you to an organ of your own. Got a call just two weeks ago from a man who wanted a full size Wurlitzer removed from his home and that is happening all over America. Yes they need some TLC but you sound like the kind of man who would be perfect for the job. Best wishes.


                      • #12
                        Thomas Palace 3 manual Theater organ

                        Seems pretty clear that the pianist feels threatened by your abilities. Nothing new here. Move on to a home organ or different church to practice (personally, I prefer home organs anyway for many reasons).

                        Nice looking theater organ - only two bids (up to only $23.00 at this time):


                        • #13
                          Frustrated wuold be organist at 62

                          The first thing I thought when I read of your dliemma was that trustees like yours are partly responsable for the lack of young organists today!
                          I echo Dell's post about trying to obtain a home practise instrument !!!
                          I have my own 3M Allen in the house and I lost privileges on a 3M Casavant way back in the early 90s because the organist, my teacher cum laude was let go!
                          I guess I will never live in an apartment!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DellAnderson View Post
                            Nice looking theater organ - only two bids (up to only $23.00 at this time):
                            I was surprised to see that the above organ sold for only $23.26 with two bids. Seems the console alone would be worth more than that. Location is everything I guess. Nobody plays organs in Indiana?


                            • #15
                              What denomination are you? Are there ways for an official dispute resolution?

                              BTW. I HATE church committees! They are nothing but a bunch of old-money self-consumed corrupt a$$ bags who think they have the right to misuse the church's money and treat parish members like crap even though they too are lay members and will likely never be clergy.