A pipe organ in peril — that’s only one of the many projects I’m working on these days. The organ in question is the 1961 Æolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu, which after “the stress of six decades of heavy, continuous use and various assaults ranging from a leaking roof to termites, the organ is in serious disrepair. Due to roof leaks in 2006, 549 pipes are unplayable. The entire Positiv division, due to severe water damage to the windchest, is completely unplayable and the chest is so badly damaged that it is not practical to rebuild it. A recent inspection found an additional 166 silent notes in other parts of the organ. This number increases weekly and is kept somewhat under control by constant repair of the most critical notes one-by-one.
This situation is both artistically and economically untenable. It is grossly expensive to repair notes one-by-one, and it is frustrating for an organist when practice time must be devoted to finding ways around constantly changing idiosyncrasies. Electrical problems in the termite-ridden console cause not only additional dead notes, but even notes to play at random on their own. Often a note will hang on after the key is released. Sometimes multitudes of notes play at once, and random non-musical sounds (“pops, bangs, explosions and whistles”) come from the speakers. The organ remains playable only though frequent and expensive repair of the most critical failures one by one.”
(The above was culled from a number of sources.) So far I have designed an organ poster for display in the Cathedral, organ postcards to be mailed in December, and a number of ads to be placed in concert programs. I have also compiled a complete descriptive article about the Cathedral and the organ to be submitted for publication in a national magazine devoted to the pipe organ. You can find more information on the Cathedral’s website. There is also a Facebook page which I created which you can view and comment on here: www.facebook.com/cathedralofstandreworgan.
Well, guess what, I am playing this organ several times in December which included last night’s Wednesday Evensong (December 9), two upcoming Sunday morning Eucharists at St. Andrew’s Cathedral (December 13), and Iolani School’s annual Christmas concert on December 18. It means always having a Plan B in case I find another dead note here and there during my practice sessions, which means I have to change the stops I have chosen.
Besides my organ gigs, I am involved in a number of holiday parties including one tonight for my condo given by the homeowners association. I designed the flyers advertising the event, 25 custom-printed name tags for the volunteers, and tickets for attendees to redeem for a food plate.
On Sunday, I am hosting a party for all the people who live on my floor. It’s something my husband Carl and I did every year since we moved here in 2004, and I am continuing the tradition. I am fixing a honey lime-glazed salmon, green beans almondine, tropical fruit salad, parmesan tomatoes, and apple crisp for dessert. (Sorry, it’s nigh impossible to crash our party since we live in Fort Knox!)
Here was last year’s invitation:
All this — before I leave for California to spend the holidays with my family!