All posts tagged: tracker organs

Flying Fish, Hipster Neighborhoods, and Wonderful Friends – We Must Be in Seattle

After the long and draining drive on Sunday in our Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour, we spent Monday resting, meeting up with friends, and simply enjoying Seattle. I always love my trips to this Northwest city, but none more so than this visit when I was able to share some special places with Claire, who was seeing it for the first time.  On recent business trips I have discovered a new favorite hotel in Seattle – the Paramount – and so we woke up Monday morning smack in the middle of Seattle’s downtown. But we didn’t wake up too soon.  We needed the morning to catch up on sleep and exercise and to finish up the previous day’s blog post, so we had a leisurely morning. And – as you can see – my late nights have caught up with me and these posts are now coming out the following morning.  (I know that a few folks are reading, because at least one family member called Candice to make sure we were okay …

The most ignored building on campus (tours)

Quick Quiz:  Name the most beautiful building on any college campus that student tour guides do their best to ignore. Answer:  The College Chapel.  (I know, the picture at the top gave it away.) Based on my experience now with 17 campus tours in the past year,  colleges are doing everything possible to ignore their chapels when selling their schools to prospective students and their parents. We’ve seen it time and time again on our most recent northeast tour as we visit some of the most beautiful and well-maintained campuses this country has to offer.  These schools just ooze heritage.  We’ve toured an amazing adaptation of an old swimming pool into a state-of-the-art concert hall.  We’ve seen an old field house turned into a lively student union.  Two historic structures on one campus are under complete renovation as they become 21st century academic buildings.  In every instance – no matter the school – we’re given the full fire hose of information about the reuse of these older buildings. But when we pass arguably the loveliest …

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 …