The North Suburban Home Organ Society

Eastern Massachusetts Premier Group for Those Who Love the

HAMMOND ORGAN and OTHER
ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS

Welcome to our new 2017 Concert Season.

Conveniently located in the main auditorium of the WOBURN, MA, SENIOR CENTER
144 School Street, Woburn, MA


Next NSHOS Concert is Friday, April 7, 2017 and features

James M. Gregory

Our most recent meeting featured a truly amazing performer. And I say amazing because of his level of proficiency which is equal to that of many professionals who have studied music and taken lessons from various teachers for sometimes many years and many of whom sight-read music as well as most of us read English. But unlike these pros, Bill Lambert never took any music lessons at all, nor does he read music at all either. But neither of these facts is a limitation as far as what Bill can do musically. Bill has managed to learn all kinds of things on a Hammond organ. But his keyboard knowledge also includes the piano and the accordion as well, which is indeed remarkable because the playing technique for all three of these instruments is quite different. One of Bill's specialties is imitating some of Ken Griffin's playing, duplicating not only the melodies, but also the playing style and even getting the right sounds on the Hammond to make his imitation virtually indistiguishable from Ken Griffin's original recordings. This realism is really evident when Bill uses our Hammond C2, inasmuch as that instrument (made in 1954) dates from the time when Ken Griffin was alive and at his performing peak and as such is similar to the Hammonds that Ken would have used for his recording work.

Bill began by playing several of his favorites, including some Ken Griffin favorites in which he accurately imitated Ken. One of his best arrangements is the song, Anytime, which he plays fairly conventionally for the first chorus, and then he does an interesting and jazzy arrangement for the second chorus. Among other favorites was the song Bubbles in the Wine which Lawrence Welk used for a long time on his famous TV show. But perhaps Bill's highlight of the afternoon was his playing of Joe Heyne's Petite Waltz. In this piece, the second them of the tune can be played as a countermelody to the first part. The trick of course is that this requires the simultaneous playing of both the first and second parts of the piece while still maintaining left hand chords on the upbeats and of course playing the bass on the pedals.

For the second part of his program, I joined in with Bill for a few duets. During this part of the program, my wife, Elizabeth also joined in singing It Had to Be You, and We'll Meet Again. We followed our usual tradition of ending with a patriotic song, this time America the Beautiful. All in all it was another successful afternoon as proven by the standing O that we received at the end of the program.

Later on this coming year, we're going to do another NSHOS special program which we will announce the month ahead, and that will be to feature a program on one of the more elaborate pipe organs in Eastern Massachusetts. For that event, we will be using the fabulous three manual 40+ rank pipe organ of the First Congregational Church in Ipswich, an instrument on which I have been doing some major work for the last several years.

If you think a church pipe organ only has certain sounds and can only play slower music or hymns, you're in for a real surprise and a treat as you will hear how this instrument can handle show tunes and pops, contemporary songs and do amazingly good imitations of many other instruments as well. So definitely plan to attend this program of which we'll provide ample advance notice. See what can be done on the real deal; a large, comprehensively-equipped pipe organ. Joanne McMahon, the church's organist, and I will share the playing duties, using both the pipe organ and also a grand piano. Joanne was for many years a music teacher in the Ipswich, MA school system, and she continues today with a busy schedule of private lessons. An excellent sight-reader as well as a by-ear performer and improvisor, Joanne brings a degree of polish and excellence that is a real treat to hear in her performances.

There is plenty of parking around the church, no stairs involved at all to enter the building, and this is a large instrument with different sections in all four corners of the sanctuary. Talk about multi-channel stereo sound! This instrument will really define stereo. We've been installing new pitman style electro-pneumatic action along with state-of-the-art solid state control so this instrument can really do some serious and impressive music/making.

And another big plus is that we'll do this on a Sunday afternoon. So even if you work or have other weekday activities that prevent you from attending our Friday events, you'll be able to attend this one. We're looking at May (most likely) for this event.

For our April meeting, we once again feature club VP, none other than Jim Lightning Feet Gregory, the musician with the most phenomenal footwork of anybody whom I have ever seen sit at a Hammond. Some of us can attempt playing pedals as Jim does by using both feet on the pedalboard, but Jim manages do do it all with just his left foot so that he can also always be in control of the expression pedal by means of which he skillfully adds accents at just the right spot. But when he has to play something really elaborate, he'll do two-feet pedalling with the best of them. Add to this his intimate knowledge of the X66 and how to get the most out of it plus a commensurate keyboard technique and the result is a program like no other. You have to attend one of his programs to appreciate fully just how much this guy brings to a concert, so be sure to be with us on April 7th. If you've never seen or heard Jim before, I can promise that you'll leave his program with a new understanding and appreciation of what playing a Hammond organ is all about.

 

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picture of Ed Wawrzynowicz

Figure 1. "Big Ed" Wawrzynowicz on the X66 at our February, 2015 Meeting.

Don Sansom

Figure 2. Don Sansom presiding at the X66.

general view of our instruments

Figure 3. Ready for a concert! X66, Keyboard and in background, our former A100 Hammond Console.

jim Gregory surrounded by electronic gear and keyboards

Figure 4. Surrounded by electronic equipment and keyboards, Jim Gregory entertains at our February concert.

Jim Gregory using 4 keyboards and the X66

Figure 5. Notice the use of four MIDI equipped keyboards, one on the top of the X66 console, one one each side of Jim, and one behind. All were set up and Jim used all of them at various times in his program.

Ed Surette playing the Hammond C2

Figure 6. This is an over-all view of the setup we used for our December meeting. In the picture, group treasurer Ed Surette plays on the Hammond C2. A digital signal processor along with a mixer and power amplifier are on the center table, X66 console to left, and on extreme left, the house piano.

 

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