REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT

Greetings All, as we wind down the Mardi Gras season of chaos, which coincides with the culmination of Epiphany. Next week, with Ash Wednesday, we enter the season of Lent. It seems that endings and new beginnings are in flux throughout life.

Now, in my late 70s, I think back over some of my close attachments to the significant organs in my life. (Indeed, I regard some of them as having the same kind of persona as real people.) At 7 years old, a 3-manual Kilgen organ was installed in my home church. The contract had been signed prior to the United States entry into the Second World War. Of course, all industry, including that of the pipe organ, was converted to the wartime effort. I remember well that the installation of that organ disrupted church services for several weeks. I still remember vividly exactly where I sat for the dedicatory recital 70 years ago! Sadly, when this organ required major work some 50 years later, the church followed advice to just junk it.

In undergraduate school, I studied on a 1925 Pilcher organ. After it was damaged by water during a campus fire, the organ was rebuilt and relocated to a church where it provided reliable service for another 45 years. Carol and I performed a joint recital on it in 2003. Five years later, the church elected to convert the organ to a primarily digital instrument.

The first organ project I labored so hard for and was instrumental in seeing become a reality, now sits virtually unused.

At my last church, St. Matthew’s Episcopal, Houma, Roy Redman was in the process of making repairs to the rebuilt 1939 Wicks organ when a massive fire destroyed the building.

Fortunately, there are also some happy outcomes to report about historic organs. We have the opportunity to hear one such example when Dr. J. Thomas Mitts revisits an old friend that he played in recital at Holy Trinity Catholic Church during the 1989 OHS Convention held in New Orleans. I refer, of course, to the Op. 59, 1911 Tellers-Sommerhof organ, which now lives in St. Francis Xavier Parish after a rebuild by Roy Redman. We hope you will join us Sunday, 26 March, at 2 p.m. when the OHS will once again present Tom in recital.

Bennett


 

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