The North Suburban Home Organ Society

Eastern Massachusetts Premier Group for Those Who Love the


Welcome to our new 2017 Concert Season.

Conveniently located in the main auditorium of the WOBURN, MA, SENIOR CENTER
144 School Street, Woburn, MA

Next NSHOS Concert is Friday, Dec 1, @1:30pm 2017 and features

DON SANSOM and second half of program Don & Eric L.

For our meeting this last month, we did something entirely different, presented our program at the First Congregational Church in Ipswich to take advantage of the large pipe organ in that church. My first love, as far as musical instruments go has always been the real pipe organ. Hammonds are my favorite as far as electronic organs go, but nothing in my estimation can top the big spacious sound of the real thing, especially when the pipe organ is installed in a suitable room that acoustically compliments the instrument.

Joanne McMahon, the church organist and I were planning to do a duet program, with Joanne playing the nice grand piano which is also in the sanctuary. However, we immediately ran into a snag. The pipe organ is an older instrument and it was built at a time when the standard pitch for A was 435 Hz, not 440. Obviously all pitches on the organ were in correct proportion to A being 435, whereas the church piano is frequently used with other instruments and it is up to concert pitch of A 440. So Joanne said, "You play the organ. I want you to do the entire program," so I did. And I must say, for me this was a real treat. I have not played a real pipe organ for a while now, and it was wonderful to experience the act of making music on the real deal. I even played a couple of numbers that I would normally only play on a real pipe organ with a standard 32 note pedalboard. Anyhow, It is impossible to write a description of your own program and be completely objective so I won't say anything other than the audience appeared to enjoy what I did. They wanted me to do an encore at the end of the program, nobody threw anything at me, and they asked me back again, so I take all of that as a sign that they had a good time.

The instrument in the church is actually a composite of two different smaller pipe organs, one being an original Hutchins tracker from the former church which was rescued when that building burned down by the late David Knowlton along with a number of other church members. The second organ, a larger three manual ventil-action electro-pneumatic instrument, was presented to the First Church for use in their new sanctuary by the former St. Mark's church of Brookline, MA when that congregation merged with two others and their building was sold to a developer. The present instrument is now a 3 manual 43 rank instrument, and current work involves the gradual replacement of the outdated ventil action windchests with new pitman style electro-pneumatic action and also new solid-state relay system. At present, the choir division is now operating on a new pitman windchest, and the difference in response is quite noticeable because it's possible to do a side-by-side comparison. Also planned is a complete re-pitching of the instrument to A 440 so that it will match standard pitch and thus be useful for programs where other instruments could be used along with the pipe organ.

For this next NSHOS meeting, we're back at our usual time (1:30 PM) and place, the first Friday of the month at the Woburn Senior Center at 144 School Street in Woburn and we'll be using the club's X66 Hammond and also my C2 which is on an indefinite loan to the NSHOS. The featured artist is longtime NSHOS friend Don Sansom who, if you are a regular visitor to either our events or at least to these web pages needs no introduction. Hope to see you this Friday!


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picture of Ed Wawrzynowicz

Figure 1. "Big Ed" Wawrzynowicz on the X66 at our February, 2015 Meeting.

Don Sansom

Figure 2. Don Sansom presiding at the X66.

general view of our instruments

Figure 3. Ready for a concert! X66, Keyboard and in background, our former A100 Hammond Console.

jim Gregory surrounded by electronic gear and keyboards

Figure 4. Surrounded by electronic equipment and keyboards, Jim Gregory entertains at our February concert.

Jim Gregory using 4 keyboards and the X66

Figure 5. Notice the use of four MIDI equipped keyboards, one on the top of the X66 console, one one each side of Jim, and one behind. All were set up and Jim used all of them at various times in his program.

Ed Surette playing the Hammond C2

Figure 6. This is an over-all view of the setup we used for our December meeting. In the picture, group treasurer Ed Surette plays on the Hammond C2. A digital signal processor along with a mixer and power amplifier are on the center table, X66 console to left, and on extreme left, the house piano.


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