From the President

Article excerpt

OHS CONVENTIONS ARE BOTH A FASCINATING WAY TO experience America's organ history live and, as the old Chevrolet commercials used to trumpet, a great way to see the USA. The organs are the centerpiece, but once in a while, the place is as much a part of the experience as the instruments. Over the years, memories of the power and mystique of certain locales remain particularly vivid in our minds: the corn fields of Iowa, the elegance and cuisine of the Deep South as typified by New Orleans and the ever present Mississippi River, the craggy coastline and fishing villages of Down East Maine, or the mountains of Colorado. The upcoming convention in Vermont is going to be one of those events where the uniqueness of the "place" holds a magic all its own that will create a life-long memory.

While my mother's family hails from the hay-stack foot hills of the Green Mountains, it has been over 30 years since I lived in Vermont as an organbuilding apprentice. A spontaneous trip a few weeks ago at the peak of leaf season brought me to the north county region that is being featured by our upcoming Vermont convention. I was instantly reminded what makes Vermont such a special place to live or visit. The people are the epitomous Yankees: thrifty (use it up, fix it up, make it do), hardworking (until the 1980s, it was said there were more cows than people living there), taciturn (a reporter said to Calvin Coolidge he made a bet he could make the President say three words to which Coolidge famously quipped, "you lose"), hardy (in a bad year, winter can last from October to May), honest, and unexpectedly friendly. Vermonters are thankful not only for the simple bounty coming from the land and from hard work, but for the ever changing natural beauty that constantly surrounds them - and it is that beauty that keeps them here in spite of the rigors the four seasons present.

The state of Vermont and its people are self-contained by geography: Quebec province to the north, the Hudson River, Lake Champlain (home of the Loch Ness monster's cousin Champy) and the Green Mountains to the west, the Connecticut River and the White Mountains to the east, and the foothills of the Berkshire and Green Mountain water sheds to the south. Except for the flatlands of the extreme northwest, you either live in the hills, or the valleys between them. Picture-postcard New England towns with a cluster of homes surrounding a simple yet noble white church against dramatic hills dotted with red barns remind us of the significance God and the Church played in the lives of our forbearers. The general store is the centerpiece of daily life in a state whose largest city is the smallest "largest city" in the country and the state capital is a small town of only 7,500 people. The store is where people buy fishing licenses and hunting socks, spark plugs and pitch forks, kerosene and orange juice, keep up with the goin's on of their neighbors, buy cheese cut fresh from a big wheel, or a new iron skillet. …

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