Friday, May 28, 2010
On the Way Home
While on our way to Nebraska, we stopped in West DesMoines, Iowa, in order to take a look at a used Moller pipe organ. The instrument was built in 1978 by what was America’s most prolific organ builder. Moller had taken pipe organ construction from a hand built process to a mass production effort. Literally hundreds and hundreds of Moller Artiste organs were built and still survive. This was not an Artiste series but a unit organ that surely grew from the roots of this one size fits all idea of organ building. The Artiste could be had from 3 to a dozen ranks of pipes, it was compact, reliable, and inexpensive.
To those who insist that real pipes are a luxury in churches today, I say take a gander at a good used Moller Artiste or one of its many derivations. For a few thousand dollars they can be had. A few thousand more in transportation and installation, and you have a reliable instrument that keeps it tuning and will serve well the congregation for many, many years to come. Check out eBay or the Organ Trader or the ads in TAO magazine or the Diapason or you can look at the Organ Relocation Service. Sometimes a phone call to organ service folks or regional organ builders will help you track down one of these little gems.
Less expensive than an electronic and yet very serviceable for most organ literature, you hear the sound of real music being made and not digitally sampled music being mimicked. It is not that I am totally against electronic organs but that is not the only option open to most, make that all congregations. In the end what we were looking for was an organ for our chapel to replace and slowly dying Rodgers electronic (non-digital) from the very early 1980s. What we will end up with is a very serviceable instrument that will support the room, lead congregational song, and equip the chapel to serve its function for smaller services, weddings, and funerals (50-60 in attendance).