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Organ Nearly Destroyed in 9/11 in New Home

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  • Terpodion
    replied
    What we do to clean an organ is remove the pipes. Sometimes they get "the treatment" by being washed in troughs filled with a special cleaning solution. The chests are first vacuumed, the rackboards are removed, the toeboards are vacuumed. Then the organ is turned on and each toehole is vacuumed while that note is held. The surface is gone over with a tack cloth / damp rags and there is another round of vacuuming. The rackboards get refinished with lacquer and sometimes the toeboards get that treatment although special care must be taken to prevent dripping lacquer into the holes, onto the pallets / sliders. The airhose treatment was just something devised to save a particularly stressed church with a particularly filthy organ some money that they badly needed to do repairs on the building. We have another customer that had major plaster work done without telling us = so we were not able to encapsulate the organ to protect it. The organ is full of plaster dust. It affected the reeds the worst, really messing up the tongues. But it is all repairable. If they ever finish the seemingly never ending cycle of roof leaks / plaster work the organ will get the full treatment.

    The thing that bothers me is that the tone of the article and the perception of the general public is that pipe organs are super-sensitive and if they get dust in them, they are ruined and can not be saved without being totally torn down and rebuilt or can not be saved at all. These are the kind of myths that gradually destroy the instrument.

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  • Havoc
    replied
    Did a quick google and found this in the dust from 9/11: http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/asbestos.html and http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/dust.html. No idea how "neutral" that site is (or the studies). But just from the date they were build I'd say that having a dust containing asbestos in a piece of equipment that blows air through it when a large number of people are around it isn't what you really want. So that it would have been more than "blowing out and a pass with a hoover" is sensible. That the cost is proportional is understandable as well.

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  • APipeOrganist
    replied
    Originally posted by Terpodion View Post
    It's great to see the old Skinner get a new home but it could easily have stayed where it was. The damage of dust is way overblown, pardon the pun. We service organs that have all kinds of dust and dirt in them and are still played regularly and function well despite the dust. We recently cleaned a very dusty one in a very poor church by simply covering the area in front of the organ with drop cloths, bringing in a portable air compressor and blowing the dust off from behind. Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! No, it's not the "right" way to do it but it costs far less than taking all the pipes off, cleaning and putting them back on. Dust doesn't get inside the windchests because the pipes are in the holes.

    The Skinner could have stayed, the pipes could have been taken off and cleaned. A hazmat crew could have cleaned the chests and everything else in place. It would have cost a few tens of thousands at most. Perhaps the organ needed new leather too but still... I think Trinity just wanted a new organ.
    It depends on the dust. Brick and cement dust can wreak havoc on organs due to their abrasive nature. The Spitzflute 4' in the Adelaide town hall was nearly completely destroyed after some work was being done in another part of the town hall, and brick dust floated in to the auditorium and settled in the organ. when it was next played, the dust in the pipes tore them apart. and I suspect that there would have been a lot of cement dust in 9/11

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  • michaelhoddy
    replied
    I think the digital was intended to initially be temporary (whether that's semantics or reality is another question!), but it performed so well, and also created more flexibility in space usage and in accompaniment possibilities that it became permanent, especially compared to the cost of rebuilding the pipe organ. I can't remember the specifics, but I do remember at the time that there was much more to the cleaning than a simple "dust it off and wipe it clean."

    Trinity is virtually in the shadow of the towers, and the amount of dust and debris caused by their fall in the entire area is of mind-blowingly epic proportions, not to mention the toxic nature of much of it. We could smell it from miles away across the river in NJ! Given the nature of NYC's environmental remediation laws and oversight, the high profile of the event, and the high profile of the church, just putting down some cloths and blowing it around with compressed air was in no way a viable option, even if the pipes weren't full of it too (they were).

    The cost to keep the M&O versus restoring the pipe organ was significantly less. Certainly, we could say that Trinity has the money, but what they do with it is really their decision.

    The other part of this is that the Trinity Aeolian-Skinner, at least in that environment, was not universally viewed as a great instrument in the same way that St John The Divine or even St Thomas' was. Whether we believe a digital is an appropriate solution for such an iconic church is a matter of conjecture, but as digitals go, the M&O is indeed one of the very best.

    The good news is that the pipe organ was saved, and hopefully performs magnificently while blessing another congregation with its sounds and unique history!

    Leave a comment:


  • Terpodion
    replied
    It's great to see the old Skinner get a new home but it could easily have stayed where it was. The damage of dust is way overblown, pardon the pun. We service organs that have all kinds of dust and dirt in them and are still played regularly and function well despite the dust. We recently cleaned a very dusty one in a very poor church by simply covering the area in front of the organ with drop cloths, bringing in a portable air compressor and blowing the dust off from behind. Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! No, it's not the "right" way to do it but it costs far less than taking all the pipes off, cleaning and putting them back on. Dust doesn't get inside the windchests because the pipes are in the holes.

    The Skinner could have stayed, the pipes could have been taken off and cleaned. A hazmat crew could have cleaned the chests and everything else in place. It would have cost a few tens of thousands at most. Perhaps the organ needed new leather too but still... I think Trinity just wanted a new organ.

    Leave a comment:


  • afuller5
    started a topic Organ Nearly Destroyed in 9/11 in New Home

    Organ Nearly Destroyed in 9/11 in New Home

    Hi all,

    I saw the following article on the website of one of our local tv news channels. It is about the restoration and relocation of the Trinity Wall Street church pipe organ to John's Creek United Methodist Church in Georgia.
    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/nort...reek/459494026

    Enjoy,
    Allen
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