The North Suburban Home Organ Society

Eastern Massachusetts Premier Group for Those Who Love the


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 Special Concert is Sunday, Nov 5, @2:30pm 2017 and features

Joanne McMahon & Eric Larson

Last month, we had one of the NSHOS favorites back again, Ed Wawrzynowicz a longtime friend of the NSHOS, who needed no introduction to any regular visitors to these web pages. As a professional musician who for many years had his own band, Ed brings a certain assurance and polish to his performances that we have come to expect, and his humorous comments and audience interaction also add a lot to his programs. As we frequently do, we ended the afternoon event with a Hammond/Hammond duet, with Ed playing the C2 and me on the X66. As is typical, the audience gave us a standing O at the end of the program so I would say it was a success, and you can be sure that we will be having Ed back again real soon as he is truly one of our most popular artists.

For this month, we are doing something very different. This time, we are meeting on a Sunday afternoon instead of on Friday. Even more significant is that this meeting will not be at the senior center, but at the First Congregational Church in Ipswich, MA and will feature a real pipe organ instead of our club Hammonds.

We should always be mindful of the fact that the Hammonds and other electronic instruments that we love so much all had their start, and owe their basic design to real pipe organs. Also of interest, the pipe organ has been around for at least 2000 years, but it is only since the late 1890s that it really involved into the amazing instruments that exist today. With the commercial development and utilization of electric power by Edison and his contemporaries both in the USA and in Europe, many important changes came to pipe organs as well. Industrial centrifugal blowers replaced hand pumped bellows. Consoles could be located remotely from the pipes as keyboards and pedalboards now sent out electrical signals to the organ instead of relying on direct mechanical linkages. The centrifugal blower also made possible the use of higher pressure air and much greater quantities of it leading to massive instruments unlike anything that existed in the previous 1900 years, and likewise, the use of electrical power made the organists' work much easier as they no longer had to overcome the pressure of the air in the instrument every time that they pushed down a playing key or a pedal. Thus,from all of this evolved the modern electro-pneumatic pipe organ, which, as its name implies, uses both electricity and also compressed air to do all of the mechanical work required tosound its thousands of individual organ pipes in response to the musicians' actions at the console.

If you think a church pipe organ only has certain sounds and can only play slower paced 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 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. Now, I've got to call Joanne and set up some rehearsal time!.

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.

Within the next day or two I will replace these photos with pictures from the church so that you can get an idea of the instrument we will be using, and we'll feature some interior pictures as well for as is typical of many pipe organs, they are like icebergs in that 90% of what is there is out of sight, hidden away behind those pipes that you do see.


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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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