Magazine article The Tracker

In THE TRACKER: 50 Years Ago

Magazine article The Tracker

In THE TRACKER: 50 Years Ago

Article excerpt

This issue carried an enticing description of the Society's eleventh convention-its first foray to Cape Cod and, to date, its only visit to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Edgar Boadway was chair, assisted by Barbara Owen, Alan Laufman, and Brian Jones-names still well-known and revered by OHS members. For the first time, as part of an OHS convention, a composition contest was announced, open to any member, with *25 and convention registration as the top prize. The goal was to encourage the writing of new music for the organ, playable by a church organist of average ability on a small two-manual instrument with no registration aids. It was requested that all entries be submitted under a non-de-plume.

The Spring 1966 issue also carried another early list of tracker organs built prior to 1900: instruments in Boston and its suburban environs. The list was reprinted from the Boston Organ Club newsletter and was researched by Alan Laufman and Ed Boadway. In the 50 years since it appeared, it is sobering to realize how many of these instruments have disappeared in the last 25 years.

The news of the day announced the publication of the Organ Literature Foundation's Catalog D. Prior to the establishment of the OHS catalog, this was a side occupation of the irascible Henry Karl Baker, and offered the finest and most complete selection of organ books in many languages, and an extensive collection of LP recordings. This author, as a junior-high school organ nerd, thought he had discovered organ nirvana when he first received Catalog G in 1969.

The passing of one of the organ greats and OHS supporter from the beginning, Dr. Frank Bozyan of Yale University on December 29, 1965, was noted.

A rather naïve column written by a New Jersey organist described the elegant Hook & Hastings No. 1516, 1892. The author had both the date and organ number incorrect, and described this still-extant Victorian gem with reserved approval compared to the then-modern neo-Baroque instruments that he judged superior. It is worth reminding the modern reader that in the Society's infancy, truly "historic" organs were those built prior to i860, and later organs were seen as having a less classically-oriented musical architecture; those from the late 1880s and younger were seen as jezebels already on the road of decline, sliding irrevocably toward a post-1900 complete abyss of tonal morals.

Noted economist and long-time OHS member Robert E. Coleberd penned an appreciation of John Hinners from the perspective of an industrial economist, emphasizing the influence he had on the organbuilding industry at the turn of the century. Hinners revolutionized the building of small and affordable pipe organs for rural clients through the application of mass-production techniques. Hinners had learned and perfected through building reed organs years before Henry Ford applied similar production efficiency to the manufacture of automobiles.

The recent death of one of the 20th century's early and great organ historians, F.R. Webber, was still reverberating painfully throughout the Society, and the posthumous publi- cation of a selection of his writings would continue for some time. In this issue, his survey of the many large Chicago Johnsons concluded, with the description of several notable instruments by other builders. The large (possible) Roosevelt at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois was described in detail. Its original location has never been determined, but it was rebuilt by Farrand & Votey for Chicago's First Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1896, then moved to Concordia Teacher's College in 1924. …

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