Monday, September 15, 2014

Silent Movie Night! Laurel & Hardy starring in Habeas Corpus

On Monday, October 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. the Suffield Historical Society will present the 1928 silent movie Habeas Corpus starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  

Step back in time as this hilarious silent movie is accompanied by organist Brian Ebie at the organ console of the Suffield United Church of Christ 1115 Ohio 43, Mogadore, OH 44260.  

Brian will improvise a movie soundtrack as the film is projected, just like being at a movie theatre in the 1920's!

Habeas Corpus is a short silent comedy film where Laurel and Hardy are hired by a mad scientist to rob a grave.  Hilarity ensues, as only Laurel and Hardy can do it, as they sneak into a scary graveyard at night and try to start digging up the dead fellow to bring back to the mad scientist.  

Three years ago The Suffield Historical Society watched Lon Cheney's 1927 movie  Phantom of the Opera with Brian at the console of his Schantz Pipe Organ.  

Laurel & Hardy at the Suffield United Church of Christ will be every bit as fun and exciting! Come and bring a friend! Refreshments to follow.  Free and open to the public.  

Get ready for Halloween with a funny silent movie!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The M. P. Möller Organ Company Chandelier Pipe Organ

The M. P. Möller Organ Company was once the largest pipe organ builder in the United States.  Operating in Hagerstown, Maryland from 1875 - 1992, Moller built over 11,730 instruments, many of which are still playing in churches, universities, and elsewhere.  Probably their nearest competitor in terms of output was Wicks Organ Company of Highland Illinois, with an opus list of nearly 7,000 instruments.  Wicks still exists today, though not as large an organization as it once was, having significantly downsized in 2011.

An experimental design of a "chandelier organ" was built by Möller employees to be suspended from a high ceiling and to allow the tone to gently descend on the listeners.  In keeping with the tradition of the Echo or Ethereal or even Antiphonal divisions sometimes incorporated into pipe organs, the chandelier organ would have provided a simple flute and principal sound producing tone from a different direction than the main organ.

Möller built only two of these instruments.

I recently found photographs in my old picture files, having saved them from online when this instrument went up for auction on eBay in 2002 or 2003.  The collection included various views of the chandelier organ, as well as a picture of the small console that was built to play it independently of a main pipe organ.  Doing a bit of research I learned that the instrument I have pictured is now, after restoration by Keith Williams and the service team at Buzard Organ Company, playing as part of a 1968 Wicks Pipe Organ in St. Thomas the Apostle, Catholic Church, Crystal Lake, Illinois. 

The second Möller chandelier organ was recently donated to an exhibit on the Möller Pipe Organ Company at Discovery Station in Hagerstown, Maryland. 

Just a short article on what I think was and is a very cool pipe organ!  Please check out my album of additional photos of the M. P. Möller Organ Company Chandelier Organ

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brian Ebie plays Hogwarts Hymn from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ...

I made a lunchtime visit to the pipe organ I built at Mogadore Christian Church in Mogadore, Ohio.  It was a hot summer day, one of the few we've had this year.  I decided to record a piece that I have long thought would be great on an organ... Hogwarts Hymn from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  I hope you enjoy it!

Recorded using an iPad, iMovie, and an Apogee MiC 96k.

Special thanks to Laura for editing and making it look great!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The First Mormon Tabernacle Organist

The First Mormon Tabernacle Organist 
By Brian Ebie

Anyone who has traveled to Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah is of course familiar with the famous 206-rank Aeolian Skinner pipe organ in the Mormon Tabernacle, and perhaps even the 130-rank Schoenstein pipe organ in the LDSConference Center.  And while these are certainly the most famous instruments on Temple Square, there are many other smaller pipe organs that are used for concert and practice by the Tabernacle Organists Richard Elliott, Clay Christiansen, and Andrew Unsworth.   The Assembly Hall boasts a 65 rank Robert Sipe Tracker, and the Joseph Smith Building a 45 rank Casavant.  Additionally, there are three practice organs located in the offices under the Assembly Hall by Austin, Casavant, and KennethCoulter.  Two Dowd Harpsichords and a continuo organ and some 75 pianos also reside on Temple Square.

But it was a humble reed or “pump” organ, maker unknown, which traveled across the plains on the Mormon Trail in the year 1862 and often carried on the back of pioneer John Daynes that would lead to the birth of the great pipe organ tradition on Temple Square. 
The reed organ carried across the plains on the back of John Daynes, 
father of the first Tabernacle Organist, Joseph Daynes.  

There was much hardship and difficulty, treacherous conditions, poor weather, sickness and death accompanying the Saints as they traveled west.  Physical exhaustion and lack of food contributed to terrible conditions along the trail. There was little else to do but travel by day and sleep by night.  But on one particular evening, around a campfire and circled wagons and handcarts, John Daynes’ young son Joseph played the little pump organ and entertained the tired travelers with songs and hymns.  Brigham Young, then President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stopped by the encampment and noticed the young Joseph and being so taken with the music and the positive mood it created for the weary pioneers, proclaimed “There is our organist for the great Tabernacle organ!”  Brigham had often been asked who would play the new organ in the Tabernacle to which he would reply that the Lord would provide men able to do all things that were necessary.

Young Joseph Daynes (1851-1920) was sent to New York to study organ and returned to become the first official Tabernacle Organist.   He was known for his excellent sight-reading, sensitive accompaniment, and compositions as well as being a proficient organist. 

You may even be familiar with his most famous hymn, "As the Dew from Heaven Distilling," which is the closing hymn for the MormonTabernacle Choir's broadcast each Sunday of “Music and the Spoken Word.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Brian Ebie visits The Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Pipe Organ

This past Saturday, Laura and I went to buy a cello in Indiana, Pennsylvania. 

We met the fellow selling it at Indiana University, Pennsylvania (IUP), where he is a student.  In the room where he demonstrated the cello to us I was able to visit this AWESOME tracker pipe organ built by the RJ Brunner Pipe Organ Company.  I found out that it was originally built for a private residence and the owners donated the pipe organ, along with the largest monetary donation in their history to the American Guild of Organists.  This donation will go toward scholarships and other endeavors.

The organ is a two-manual, mechanical action organ which comes to IUP via a special, renewable lease from the American Guild of Organists. The organ casework is gilded in 22-karat gold leaf, inspired by the early Pennsylvania German pipe organs built by David Tannenberg (1728–1804).   I didn't get to play it, but it was enough just to see it.  When I finally build my home tracker organ, I will definitely be inspired by this instrument.

An excellent time-lapse video of the installation can be found on YouTube:

A last look at the Tannenberg-inspired casework.