Over the last few days, I have been involved in what I call a rescue operation: trying to place a used electronic organ into a good home. Over the past ten years or so, I have placed over a dozen instruments into homes of students — organs that were destined for the landfill. Many of the instruments came out of churches, where they are no longer used because of a shift in changing worship styles. Or other churches are upgrading to “better” electronic instruments and need to find a home for the old instrument. Another church had a small, but not too extensive fire, and as part of the insurance settlement, got a new organ and needed to get rid of their perfectly good, but used, instrument. All it had was a little smoke damage on the exterior.
In the majority of cases, my students have gotten a practice instrument simply for the cost of moving. And let’s face it, used electronic organs are practically worthless.
In fact, some of my more esteemed colleagues would say that these instruments are only good in a landfill, anyway, and there are all sorts of endearing terms for them like “appliances” or “radios” or “toasters.”The case against electronic organs in churches is that they generate a synthetic, not genuine sound, not to speak of the planned obsolescence. Think about your computer in three years — it’s already considered a dinosaur. If the Lutheran Church of Honolulu had purchased an electronic organ in 1975 instead of a Beckerath tracker, there’s no doubt it would have bitten the dust years ago.
But for learning how to play the organ, these kinds of electronic instruments are just fine and a whole lot easier than having to drive to the church every day to practice. If you know of an electronic organ that needs to be rescued, please give me a call or email me! All we ask is that the instrument have at least two octaves of pedals, be free of termites, and be in relatively good working order.
And that is what I call recycling for the good!