All posts tagged: Old Salem

Touring Old Salem

Last weekend I had the chance to tour Old Salem while on a work trip to Winston-Salem.  It had been more than 10 years since I visited this historic home of the Moravians in North Carolina, and it was a great way to reconnect to this very historic – and special – place. I knew the day would be a treat when a long-time and dear friend, Martha Hartley, stepped on our bus with her husband Mo to give us the traditional Moravian escort from the boundaries of Wachovia.   Martha and I worked together in preservation many years earlier in Virginia, and I didn’t know she had been tapped as the organizer of the day’s tours.  Mo and Martha traded special insights back and forth about the founding of Salem, the impact of the landscape and waterways, and the practices of the Moravians. After the short organ recital on the David Tannenberg Organ by Janette Fishell (see my earlier post In Praise of Tracker Organs), we spent the rest of the morning touring the town, …

In Praise of Tracker Organs

While traveling on work today in North Carolina, I had an unexpected treat: the chance to hear Bach on a beautiful historic tracker organ that had been restored by some dear friends. First, a bit of background.  As Wikipedia notes, tracker action is a term used in reference to pipe organs that “indicates a mechanical linkage between keys or pedals pressed by the organist and the valve that allows air to flow into pipe(s) of the corresponding note. This is in contrast to electrical or electro-pneumatic actions, which connect the key to the valve through an electrical link or an electrically assisted pneumatic system respectively.” Tracker organs are built the same today as they have been for hundreds of years.  I came to love tracker action organs while living in the Shenandoah Valley and becoming friends with George Taylor and John Boody.  George and John are the founders and principals of the world-renown Taylor & Boody Organbuilders located just outside Staunton, Virginia.   These two men and a small group of craftsmen build and restore some of …