Friday, May 11, 2012

The Tour Begins

Chwen-Huei Tsai of Taiwan plays at St. Michael's, Eaton Square
Tour participants watch and listen in the organ balcony

We heard pipe organs in London today. Stops, sounding boards, ranks, pipes -- all kinds of pipe organ words are floating through my head. Today I stood under the exposed tracking system of the organ at St. Peter's, Eaton Square, and watched the mechanical action of the organ.

It reminded me, in a way, of the old step telephone switch at Pigeon Telephone way back in the 1970's when Ed's Dad first bought into the telephone industry. Pipe organs have mechanical linkages from the keys to the pipes. Simply put, these linkages "track" the action of the keys that the organist pushes to make the music.

It isn't quite all that simple, but learn along with me in these next few days of the Pipe Dreams 2012 Tour.

Daniel Moult, Organist
St. Peter's, Eaton Square
We heard (and some of the tour participants played) two organs this afternoon. The first organ, at St. Michael's, Chester Square, is in the neighborhood where former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher lives. Very cool.

The organ was built in 1994. Tom Bell, organist at St. Michael's, says at the loudest, the organ measures 93 decibels, louder than the 83 decibels measured by the band with drums that plays for the contemporary worship service at St. Michael's.

Later, we walked to St. Peter's, Eaton Square and were blown away by the 1992 Kenneth Jones 66 rank organ. I braved the stairs and took some photos at the console with Daniel Moult playing. Also very cool.

This organ had two ranks of 32' pipes which produce a very, very low bass sound. Think incredible tone and rich depth.

I'm including two photos that are not organ related in today's post. The first is of a stained glass window that I thought my Dad, Stan Hayes, would enjoy. The window is from St. Michael's and is of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. The cobalt blue in the center of the window just glows.

Gethsemane window, St. Michael's, Chester Square

This second photo is of the Caffe Ritazza barista at who fixed me a latte with the milk forming a heart in the foam on top. I had never seen anything like this and congratulated her on her artistic touch. She agreed to a photo and gave me a great smile.

What a joy her daily work must bring to hurried Victoria Station commuters as she hands them a coffee many times each day.

Copyright 2012
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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