Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why is their air?

In the wind…

November, 2005

Why is there air?
Forty years have passed since Bill Cosby raised this question in his recording by the same name.  The record (remember those black vinyl discs?) was released in 1965 and the title cut referred to his days as a Physical Education major at Temple University.  With tongue in cheek he teased philosophy majors, observing that they wandered around campus mulling over such fundamental questions.  I no longer own a turntable and couldn’t refresh my memory so I paraphrase his response:

“Any Phys-Ed major knows that.  There’s air to blow up basketballs, air to blow up footballs…” 

I was in elementary school at the time, and my friends and I thought that was the funniest thing ever, but forty years later the Wyman School has been converted to condominiums and I think I have a more sophisticated reading of what Mr. Cosby was getting at.  As our lives and society grow ever more complex we often lose track of the fundamental questions that drive what we do.

What are the questions?
Ours is a field rich with people who “caught the bug” – who were excited, even enchanted by the pipe organ early in life.  I’ve heard plenty of those personal stories.  One colleague told me how when he was very young his family traveled clear across the country to attend a wedding.  The trip itself was a huge experience for him, but he had never seen such a large and ornate church building, and when the organ started to play he knew what he wanted to do with his life.  Another friend told that when he was shown inside a large organ as a child the concept of the apparently contradictory relationship between the organ’s industrial interior and its glorious sound led to his important career as an organbuilder.   My own introduction to the instrument was a natural succession – the organist of the church I grew up in (my father was the rector) was a harpsichord maker and the community of instrument builders was well represented in the choir.  My childhood piano lessons led to organ lessons and why wouldn’t I have a summer job in an organbuilder’s workshop?  Was there in fact anything else one might do?

A wonderful world has grown up around the pipe organ, a world full of talented people dedicated to both the study of what has preceded us and to innovation.  It’s a complicated subject with a very deep history, myriad technical issues, and elusive artistic concepts that drive the whole thing.  The instrument itself is tangible – you can build it, touch it, feel it, play it, care for it.  But the basic concept is more difficult to explain.  This is not like the admiration directed toward the first person to eat an artichoke or lobster, rather it is the understanding of the collective contributions of countless people through the ages.  The intertwined relationship between the instrument, its music, its builders, and its players is like those quirky philosophical questions about trees in the forest, smoke and fire, chickens and eggs – or Bill Cosby’s why is there air?  Any organbuilder knows the answer to that question:  There’s air to blow organ pipes, air to leak through worn gaskets, air to cause ciphers.  We are the heirs of erring air.  (Remember E. Power Biggs talking about pumping the bellows of an 18th century British organ – “handling the handle that Händel handled.”) 

However lofty our introduction to the pipe organ, once we are engaged in our careers we often move from one deadline to another somehow forgetting that original inspiration.  We may know the thrilling sensation of a huge Swell box opening, allowing the sound of powerful reeds to gradually join the choir procession during a festival service.  (If the procession is slow and in the middle of the service, we could use the Swell box to gradually join a gradual Gradual!)  But what do we have in mind if we are in an organ chamber struggling to get a Swell motor to work properly – technical issues, skinned knuckles, and holed leather, or that spectacular procession, banners a’flying?  Try whistling a hymn tune as you work – I recommend Westminster Abbey!

The struggle between art and commerce is well defined and frequently written about.  A friend who loves to paint recently put it succinctly when she said she simply doesn’t have the time for it.  Who was it that said, “time is money?”  At what point does the thrill of creating a monumental pipe organ become a battle between time and money? 

I recently stumbled across a quotation from Daniel Barenboim: “Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.”  Did Mr. Barenboim forget the past as a third face?  Aren’t great works of art at least informed by the past?  Certainly pipe organs are.

There’s a debate in the world of pleasure boats between the merits of wood and fiberglass hulls.  A purist might say there’s nothing like the sound of water slapping against a wooden hull.  But there are many arguments in favor of fiberglass boats.  Does this debate actually confuse questions of personal preference or convenience with whether or not it’s a good boat?

The debate between the merits of mechanical and electric keyboard actions has been raging for more than fifty years.  It seems to me that one can argue that the debate couldn’t really get started until electric and pneumatic actions were well-developed and prevalent so there was strong basis for comparison.  I’ve said many times that the result of the debate is that our organbuilders are producing excellent instruments using all kinds of actions.  The questions surrounding the construction of organ cases, the design of wind systems, or the deployment of stops in divisions are just as fundamental as those concerning keyboard action.  Let’s debate the relative merits of balanced or suspended tracker key actions, or whether the keyboards of electric action instruments should be pivoted in the middle or at the end.  My point is I want to play and listen to good organs, well conceived and beautifully made.  Just as I’ve had great days sailing in both wooden and fiberglass boats, I’ve been thrilled by both tracker and electric action pipe organs.

When I say I’ve been thrilled by both tracker and electric action pipe organs I have also to say that I’ve equally been disappointed by both. 

One thing that sets the pipe organ apart from other instruments in my opinion is the extraordinary variety from one example to another.  I know that a clarinetist recognizes countless differences between clarinets, but how can one compare a three-rank continuo organ with a mighty two-hundred-rank job in a huge church?  The experiences they produce are worlds apart as is the music that can be played on them?  (I’ve noticed that we often talk about what music an organ can play – as if there would not be an organist involved.)  What’s really funny is how we try to mix those experiences.  Widor’s famous Toccata is a staple of the modern organ repertory and it’s played as often on ten-stop organs as on those of the scale for which it was conceived – many, many more than ten stops.  And it’s not just about the number of stops but more important, the acoustics of the room.  I remember vividly the first time I played that piece in an appropriate acoustical setting.  It was in Lakewood, Ohio in a cavernous church building with a marble floor.  It was a Wicks organ of only moderate size but the way the harmonies rolled around the place helped me understand the piece more fully.  Of course, this was after I had played the same piece in perhaps dozens of small, dry rooms on dozens of small, dry organs.

It seems to me that our love affair with pieces like that has led us toward an artificial world.  We know that thirty-two foot stops add a lot to large-scale organ music, so we add artificial thirty-twos to organs in churches that do not have space for them.  Ideally, we design organs using mathematical formulas that have been proven through the ages.  The Golden Section, for example, is a classic system of ratios that defines the proportions of countless structures built over thousands of years.  There’s a pleasing naturalness when an instrument is conceived well in relationship to the room it graces.  Hearing thirty-two foot tone in a building with a fifteen foot ceiling leaves one somehow confused.

An organist’s work is often defined by the struggle between tradition and innovation.  Christmas is coming.  Are you preparing for the tenth, fifteenth, twentieth Christmas in the same church?  How do you program innovative exciting music without disappointing the expectations of tradition?  Think of the congregation that was first to sing O Come, All Ye Faithful (there must have been one).  Did anyone go home that day grumbling that the organist didn’t understand the value of tradition?  One piece that struck me at first hearing as a future chestnut is John Rutter’s Candlelight Carol.  Easily singable, absolutely beautiful, text full of meaning – I wonder if that’s what people experienced when they first heard In dulci jubilo some seven hundred years ago. 

I had a parallel musing the first time I visited St. Sulpice in Paris.  I wondered how many of the older people in the congregation would remember Marcel Dupré as their parish organist.  It’s a stretch, but it’s at least possible that a few of them remembered Widor – it was fewer than sixty-five years after his retirement.  Think what those people must have experienced in the way of musical tradition when so much of what they heard from the organ was improvised!

One of my greatest professional struggles has involved wedding music.  It’s the privilege of the parish organist to be a part of so many celebrations.  I played for more than four hundred weddings at one church.  It’s a thrill to be able to share one’s skills to enhance such an occasion.  I didn’t keep proper records but I would be fascinated to see a spreadsheet that showed a statistical analysis of the music I played at all those weddings.  At what percentage of weddings did I play Mendelssohn, Wagner, or Schubert?  How often did a couple listen to eight or ten choices before lighting up when I offered Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring the evening they were choosing music?  It’s very likely that the only time a couple actually chooses what will be played live on a pipe organ will be their wedding.  How does an organist introduce creative and meaningful music into a wedding service without disappointing the expectations of families and their friends?  When I was first an independent organbuilder I had as an employee a young woman who worked for me for nearly ten years.  She was both a terrific worker and a close friend.  She had many opportunities to hear my reports of “last Saturday’s wedding” when I would regale her with the trials of the wedding organist.  (Maybe there’s a movie title in that sentence.)  It is a great regret of mine that she formed such an impression of my feelings about weddings that when she got married she asked someone else to play the organ.

Is the future of the pipe organ better assured if we sustain tradition or if we find exciting new ways to use it?  How do we strike a balance between those concepts?  Are consumers of organ music always going to be happy with old favorites?  How do we find, write, create those pieces that will become tomorrow’s chestnuts or are today’s chestnuts good enough to last?  And if we find such a piece, how do we introduce it in the place of something else? 

What is the future form of the pipe organ?  Can its builders stay faithful to ancient forms while continuing to be innovative? 

What is the future of the economics of organbuilding?  Will churches, schools, concert halls always be willing to commit to such enormous expenditures?  Does our society value artistic expression enough to justify that?  How do we share our passion and enthusiasm in the interest of the future of our art?  Do we assume that a strong future for our art will add to the cultural wealth of society?  How can we sustain the wealth of the heritage of our instrument in the world of the sound-bite, the mega-byte, the Big Gulp®, the Big Mac®, the Playstation®, VCR, DVD, or PCD.  With music education in public schools in decline, who will be the next generation of organists and who will be the next generation of music lovers?

We are stewards of a glorious heritage.  It’s essential that we find new ways to communicate that wealth.  We must be informed by the past, but we shouldn’t dwell on it.  As we are informed by the past, we are better able to inform the future.  How many ways can we read the phrase, The Past Becomes the Future?

Measure up

In the wind...

July 2011

Measure up.

When I was an apprentice working in Oberlin, Ohio, we had a particularly bad winter with several heavy storms and countless days of difficult driving conditions.  As part of our regular work, my mentor Jan Leek and I did a great deal of driving as we serviced organs throughout northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.  Jan owned a full-size Dodge van – perfect for our work as it was big enough to carry windchests, big crates of organ pipes, and long enough inside to carry a twelve-foot stepladder with the doors closed if the top step was rested on the dashboard near the windshield.  All those merits aside, it was relatively light for its size and the length of its wheelbase, and it was a simple terror to drive in the snow.  There can’t have been another car so anxious to spin around.

Jan started talking about buying a four-wheel-drive vehicle and one afternoon as we returned from a tuning he turned into a car dealership and ordered a new Jeep Wagoneer – a large station-wagon shaped model.  He wanted it to have a sunroof but since Jeep didn’t offer one he took the car to a body shop that would install one as an aftermarket option.  As we left the shop, Jan said to the guy, “I work with measurements all day – be sure it’s installed square.”  It was.

Funny that an exchange like that would stick with me for more than thirty years, but it’s true – organbuilders work and live with measurements all day, every day they’re at work.  A lifetime of counting millimeters or sixty-fourths-of-an-inch helps one develop an eye for measurements.  You can tell the difference between nineteen and twenty millimeters at a glance.  A quick look at the head of a bolt tells you that it’s seven-sixteenths and not a half-inch and you grab the correct wrench without thinking about it.  Your fingers tell you that the thickness of a board is three-quarters and not thirteen-sixteenths before your eyes do.  And if the sunroof is a quarter-inch out of square it’ll bug you every time you get in the car.

And with the eye for measuring comes the need for accuracy as you measure.  Say you’re making a panel for an organ case.  It will have four frame members – top, bottom, and two sides – and a hardwood panel set into dados (grooves) cut into the inside edges.  The drawing says that the outside dimensions are 1000mm (one meter) by 500mm (nice even numbers that never happen in real life!).  The width of the frame members is 75mm.  You need to cut the sides to 1000mm as that’s the overall length of panel.  But the top and bottom pieces will fit between the two sides, so you subtract the combined width of the two sides from the length of the top and bottom and cut them accordingly: 500mm minus 75mm minus 75 mm equals 350mm. 

You make a mark on the board at 350mm – but your pencil is dull and your mark is 2mm wide.  Not paying attention to the condition of the pencil or the actual placement of the mark, you cut the board on the “near” side of the mark and your piece winds up 4mm too short.  The finished panel will be 496mm wide.  Oh well, the gap will allow for expansion of the wood in the humid summer.  But wait!  It’s summer now.  In the winter your panel will shrink to 492mm and the organist will have to stuff a folded bulletin into the gap to keep the panel from rattling each time he plays low AAA# of the Pedal Bourdon (unless it’s raining). 

You can see than when you mark a measurement on a piece of wood you have to make a neat clean mark, put it just at the right point according to your ruler, and remember throughout the process on which side of the mark you want to make your cut.  If you know your mark is true and the length will be accurate if the saw splits your pencil mark, then split the pencil mark when you cut!

I’ve had the privilege of restoring several organs built by E. & G.G. Hook and never stop delighting at the precision of the hundred-fifty year old pencil marks on the wood.  The boys in that shop on Tremont Street in Boston knew how to sharpen pencils.

Another little tip – use the same ruler throughout the project.  As I write, there’s a clean steel ruler on my desk that shows inches with fractions on one edge and millimeters grouped by tens (centimeters) on the other.  It’s an English ruler exactly eighteen inches long, and the millimeter side is fudged to make them fit.  The last millimeter is 457, and the first millimeter is obviously too big.  If I was working in millimeters and alternating between this ruler and another I’d be getting two versions of my measurements.  While the quarter-millimeter might not matter a lot of the time, it will matter a lot sometimes.  I have several favorite rulers at my workbench.  One is 150mm long (it’s usually in my shirt pocket next to the sharp pencil), another is 500, another is 1000.  I use them for everything and interchange them with impunity because I know I can trust them.  With all the advances in the technology of tools I’ve witnessed and enjoyed during my career I’ve never seen a saw that will cut a piece of wood a little longer.  The guy who comes up with that will quickly be wealthy (along with the guy who invents a magnet that will pick up a brass screw!). 

My wife Wendy is a literary agent with a long list of clients who have fascinating specialties.  In dinner-table conversations we’ve gone through prize-winning poets, crime on Mt. Everest, multiple personalities, the migration of puffins, flea markets, and teen-agers’ brains(!).  Her client Walter Lewin is a retired professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is famous for his rollicking lectures in the course Physics 8.01, the most famous introductory physics course in the world.  On the first page of the introduction to his newly published book, For the Love of Physics; from the end of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time – A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics, Lewin addresses his class:
“Now, all important in making measurements, which is always ignored in every college physics book” – he throws his arms wide, fingers spread – “is the uncertainty of measurements… Any measurement that you make without knowledge of the uncertainty is meaningless.” 
I’m impressed that Professor Lewin thinks that inaccuracy is such an important part of the study of Physics that it’s just about the first thing mentioned in his book.
The thickness of my pencil lines, my choice of the ruler, and the knowledge about where in the line the saw blade should go are uncertainties of my measuring.  If I know the uncertainties I can limit my margin of error.  I do this every time I make a mark on a piece of wood.  And by the way, if you’re interested at all in questions like “why is the sky blue,” you’ll love Lewin’s book.  And for an added bonus you can find these lectures on YouTube – type his name into the search box and you’ll find a whole library.  Lewin is a real showman – part scientist, part eccentric, all great communicator – and his lectures at once brilliantly informative and riotously humorous.

Now about that panel that will fit into the dados cut in the frame members.  Given the outside dimensions and the width of the four frame pieces, the size of the panel will be 850mm x 350mm (if your cutting has been accurate).  But don’t forget that you have to make it oversize so it fits into the dado.  7.5mm on each side will do it – that allows for seasonal shrinkage without having the panel fall out of the frame.  So to be safe, cut the dados 10mm deep allowing a little space for expansion, and cut the panel to 865mm x 365mm – that’s the space defined by the four-sided frame plus 7.5mm on each side which is 15mm on each axis.  Nothing to it.

Now that you’ve all had this little organbuilding lesson, look at the case of a good-sized organ.  There might be forty or fifty panels.  That’s a lot of opportunity for error and enough room for buzzing panels to cover every note of the scale.


For the last several days I’ve been measuring and recording the scales and dimensions of the pipes of a very large Aeolian-Skinner organ that the Organ Clearing House is preparing to renovate for installation in a new home.  I’m standing at a workbench with my most accurate measuring tools while my colleague Joshua Wood roots through the pipe trays to give me C’s and G’s.  Josh lays the pipes out for me, I measure the inside and outside diameters, thickness of the metal (which is a derivative of the inside and outside diameters – if outside diameter is 40mm and the metal is 1mm thick, the inside diameter is 38mm.  I take both measurements to account for uncertainties.), mouth width, mouth height, toehole diameter, etc.  As I finish each pipe Josh packs them back into the trays.  With a rank done, we move the tray and find another one.  Now you know why I’m thinking about measurements so much today.

When studying, designing, or making organ pipes we refer to the mouth-width as a ratio to the circumference, the cut-up as a ratio of the mouth’s height to width, and the scale as a ratio of the pipe’s diameter to its length.  If I supply diameter and actual width of the mouth, the voicer can use the Archimedian Constant (commonly know as π - Pi) to determine the mouth-width ratio, and so on, and so on.

Here’s where I have to admit that my knowledge of organ voicing is limited to whatever comes from working generally as an organbuilder without having any training or experience with voicing.  My colleagues who know this art intimately will run circles around my theories and I welcome their comments.  From my inexpert position I’ll try to give you some insight into why these dimensions are important.

The width of the mouth of an organ pipe means little or nothing if it’s not related to another dimension.  Using the width as a ratio to the circumference of a pipe gives us a point of a reference.  For example, a mouth that’s 40mm wide might be a wide mouth for a two-foot pipe, but it’s a narrow mouth for a four-foot pipe.  A two-foot Principal pipe with diameter of 45mm might have a mouth that’s 40mm wide – that’s a mouth-width roughly 2/7 of the diameter, on the wide side for Principal tone.  The formula is: diameter (45) times π (3.1416) divided by mouth-width (40).  In this case, we get the circumference of 141.372mm.  Round it off to 141, divide by 40 (mouth-width) and you get 3.525 which is about 2/7 of 141.  Each time I adapt the number to keep things simple I’m accepting the inaccuracy of my measurements.

The mouths of Flute pipes are usually narrower (in ratio) than those of Principals.  Yesterday I measured the pipes of a four-foot Flute which had a pipe with the same 40mm mouth-width, but the diameter of that pipe was about 55mm. That’s a ratio of a little less than 1/4.  The difference between a 2/7 mouth and a 1/4 (2/8) mouth tells the voicer a lot about how the pipe will sound.

And remember, those diameters are a function of the scale, the ratio of the diameter to the length.  My two example pipes with the same mouth width are very different in pitch.  The Principal pipe (45mm in diameter) speaks middle C of an eight-foot stop while the Flute with the 40mm mouth speaks A# above middle C of an eight-foot.  Now you’re a voicer.


You can imagine that the accuracy of all these measurements is very important to the tone of an organ.  The tonal director creates a chart of dimensions for the pipes of an organ including all these various dimensions for every pipe, plus the theoretical length of each pipe, the desired height of the pipe’s foot, etc., etc.  The pipe maker receives the chart and starts cutting metal.  Let’s go back to our two-foot Principal pipe.  Diameter is 45mm.  Speaking length is 2-feet which is about 610mm.  Let’s say the height of the foot is 200mm.  The pipemaker needs three pieces of metal – a rectangle that rolls up to become the resonator, a pie-shaped piece that rolls up into a cone to make the foot, and a circle for the languid.

For the resonator, multiply the diameter by π: 45 x 3.1416 = 141.37mm (this time I’m rounding it to the hundredth) – that’s the circumference of the pipe so it’s the width of the pipemaker’s rectangle.  Cut the rectangle circumference-wide by speaking-length-long: 141.37 x 610.

For the foot, use the same circumference and the height of the foot for the dimensions of the piece of pie: 141.37mm x 200. 

Roll up the rectangle to make a tube that’s 45mm in diameter by 610 long and solder the seam.

Roll up the piece of pie to make a cone that’s 45mm in diameter at the top and 200mm long and solder the seam.

Cut a circle that’s 45mm in diameter and solder it to the top of the cone, then solder the tube to the whole thing.  Now you’re a pipe maker – except I didn’t tell you how to cut the mouth or form the toehole.

But Professor Lewin’s adage reminds us that no pipemaker is ever going to be able to cut those pieces of metal exactly 141.37mm wide.  That’s the number I got from my calculator after rounding tens-of-thousands of a millimeter down to hundredths.  You have to understand the uncertainty of your measurements to get any work done.


As I take the measurements of these thousands of organ pipes, I record them on charts we call scale sheets – one sheet for each rank.  I reflect on how important it is to the success of the organ to get this information accurately.  I’m using a digital caliper – a neat tool with a sliding scale that measures either inside or outside dimensions.  The LED readout gives me the dimensions in whatever form I want – I can choose scales that give inches-to-the-thousandth, inches-to-the-sixty-fourth, or millimeters-to-the-hundredth.  I’m using the millimeter scale, rounding hundredths of a millimeter up to the nearest tenth.  As good as my colleagues are and as accurately as they might work, they’re not going to discern the difference between a mouth that’s 45.63mm wide from one that’s 45.6mm. 

And as accurately as I try to take and record these measurements, what I’m measuring is hand made.  I might notice that the mouth of a Principal pipe is 16.6mm high on one end and 16.8mm high on the other.  A difference of .2mm can’t change the sound of the pipe that much – so I’ll record it as 16.7.  I know the uncertainties of my measurements.  I adapt each measurement at least twice (rounding to the nearest tenth and adapting for uneven mouth-height) in order to ensure its accuracy.  Yikes!


Earlier I mentioned how people who work with measurements all the time develop a knack for judging them.  I’ve been tuning organs for more than thirty-five years, counting my way up tens of thousands ranks of pipes, listening to and correcting the pitches, all the time registering the length of the pipes subconsciously.  With all that history recorded, if I’m in an organ and my co-worker plays a note, I can reach for the correct pipe by associating the pitch with the length of the pipe.

Π (pi) is a magical number – that Archimedes ever stumbled on that number as the key to calculating the dimensions of a circle is one of the great achievements of the human race.  How can it be possibly be true that πd is the circumference of a circle while πr2 is the area?  Here’s another neat equation.  A perfect cone is one whose diameter is equal to its height.  The volume of a perfect cone is exactly half that of a sphere with the same diameter.  How did we ever figure that one?

There are no craftsmen in any trade who understand π better than the organ-pipemaker.  When you visit a pipe shop you might see a stack of graduated metal rectangles destined to be the resonators of a rank of pipes.  The pipemaker knows π as instinctively as I can tell that the first millimeter on my ruler is too big.  Imagine looking at a tennis ball and guessing its circumference!


When you’re buying measuring tools you have to pay attention to accuracy.  Choose an accurate ruler by comparing three or four of them against each other and deciding which one is most accurate.  Choose an accurate level by comparing three or four of them.  You’ll be surprised how often two levels disagree.  Just as mathematics give us the surety of π, so physics gives us the surety of level.  There is only one true level!

I’ve been showing off all morning about how great I am with measurements in theory and practice, so I’ll bust it all up with another story about van windshields.  I left the shop to drive to the lumberyard to pick up a few long boards of clear yellow pine.  They had beautiful rough-cut boards around thirteen-feet long, eight and ten inches wide, and two inches thick.  Each board was pretty heavy and as they were only roughly planed it was easy to get splinters from them.  I put the first one in the car, resting the front end on the dashboard right against the windshield.  Perfect – the door closed fine, let’s get another.  I slid the second one up on the first, right through the windshield.  Good eye!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Asst. Professor Demers

Isabelle Demers has just announced that she has accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Organ at Baylor University, succeeding Professor Joyce Jones who has had a legendary tenure there, teaching many of today's finest musicians.

Isabelle is one of a growing group of brilliant young organists who are bringing the art of organ playing to new levels.  They are feasting on the exciting rekindling of interest in the art of the symphonic organ, reminding us why that style of organ building that was so popular in the early twentieth century is vital and exciting today.  These young artists are returning to the legendary old-world work ethics of intense pedagogy, tireless practicing and rehearsal, and unquestioned, flawless memorization, making it possible for them to explore the most complicated and sophisticated music written for the organ, playing it for us unfettered by insecurity.  Anyone who attended Stephen Tharp's New York AGO "International Performed of the Year" recital in February at St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square knows what I mean.  Gad zooks, what virtuosity.

I celebrate that so many of these stupendous artists have taken university teaching positions, ensuring that the next generation of young players will be dedicated, hard-working, expressive musicians.  In a world where a parish church typically spends a million or more dollars on a new pipe organ, there can be no better hope for the future of our art.

We hear the news of Isabelle Demers' appointment in the months following the passing of Gerre Hancock and David Craighead, two of the great teachers of organ playing of the previous generation.  Both of those legends contributed immeasurably to the shape of today's organ world, and I imagine that they both could only be delighted to know how their tradition is continuing.

We celebrate the early twentieth-century artistry of Lynwood Farnum - the great Canadian organist who had so much to do with the development of the symphonic pipe organ.  How fun that two important teaching positions in Texas are occupied by young Canadian organists, Ken Cowan at Rice University, and now Isabelle Demers at Baylor.

My heartiest congratulations to Isabelle on her important appointment, to the faculty at Baylor who soon will have a great new colleague, and to those who will be privileged to study with her.  But a word to those future students, you had better be ready to work!