Dick Hunt's Blog

September 23, 2012

Folding Reed Organ.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 4:59 pm

Folding Reed Organ.
by Dick Hunt, September 8th, 2012.
During my early years in Alberta, we used to attend services in warm seasons on Sunday afternoons in the local Community Hall.  It was a very busy place and very frequently it was used for Saturday night dances which left it smelling of booze and tobacco etc.  I  remember that the home built seating facilities were sticky with gum and one had to sit carefully to avoid being stuck up.  Sometimes the Minister arrived with his horse and buggy and tied his horse to the fence. Eventually he owned a car and that saved him road time.

A table was set up at the front of the hall for an Altar. Beside the table was placed a folding Reed Organ which  helped for the singing.  My Aunt Ross (short for Rossalind) was the organist for many years and she and Uncle Dick Hunt (my Father’s younger brother) drove the several miles with horse buggy to get there. In winter, services were held in the home in the Village, of my Aunt Nellie and her husband Dick Allen (another Uncle Dick) . Then we had the use of a pump organ which stood in the living room.

Fast forward many years to the seventies, when I was responsible for Anglican churches on central Vancouver  Island and adjacent Islands. A retired Anglican Priest, with his wife Katherine lived on Cortes, two Islands nearer the Mainland, which had been for years the base harbour for the Columbia Coast Mission Boats.  They had a folding Reed Organ which was in dire straits and I offered to rebuild the case  and put it back in shape to use. They were delighted to have the old friend back.. It had been used on the Mission boats which served many people up and down the coast.
Wen I was studying for the Ministry in Saskatoon, I was put in charge of a suburban Parish which had a huge Reed Organ in a Oak Case.  It was not functioning well and they were wanted to replace it with an Electonic  one. The funds were not available and they were in a quandary. I was talking with one of my fellow students, Gordon Ingram about it and he said he would like to check over the old organ. He said he couldn’t hold  a tune in a basket and that his background was heavy duty mechanics. I picked him up on a Saturday and we drove out to check it.  He found many mechanical faults in it including felts chewed by mice.  We made a trip downtown to a hardware store to find supplies including a spring which cost 20 cents. Back at the Church he checked the mechanism , made adjustments, hooked up systems that were not functioning and eventually said that was all he could do.  When next day the organ was used the Organist and Choir were atonished at the superlative way it functioned and were not convinced that the repair job only cost 20 cents.  Money couldn’t buy the big old three manual Organ which then functioned like new.

I grew up with one sister and three brothers, all of whom took several years of Piano Lessons, as also did three of our children. I alone missed the boat somehow, never learned to read music and among us all, I was the one who could have made extensive use of the skill in my Ministry. However, I was blessed wherever I served by great organists and choir leaders and was thus enabled to turn my efforts to other needs.  I was endowed with a good ear for music, love the old Hymn tunes, greatly enjoy Classical Music and love to sing to this day, having no difficulty with tunes  and the memory of them for the many selections we enjoy in public worship.

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