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An Organist’s Lament!

1st of October 2013

In the late 1920s and early 1930s the church organ, instead of being powered by electricity as it is now, relied on compressed air stored in large leather bellows inflated by a hand pump to deliver its music. Younger members of the choir were responsible for the important role of keeping the bellows inflated by means of a hand pump, thus keeping the organ playing.

When he was a boy my late husband, Jim, and his friends in the choir, took great delight in having competitions to see how long they could leave pumping the bellows without incurring the anger of the organist as his sweet sounds faded instead of reaching the desired crescendo. If they got the timing wrong the organ faded and wheezed giving a good impression of a bagpipe winding down. This game was well worth the risk of incurring the wrath of the organist or risk being asked to leave the choir!
Daphne Pritchard

 
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