My father grew up in the Netherlands, and as a young boy was impressed by the pipe organ he heard in church. That impression never left him. Organs became his hobby, and my childhood was full of organ music.
I remember Dad reading the Diapason magazine, studying it, really, as my brothers played with Lego around his feet.
He taught me to play chess, while pipe organs from Europe played from vinyl records. A lot of times, it was Johann Sebastian Bach.
I would come home from a stressful day in high school, and Dad would be home from work, alone, eating his jam sandwich, with pipe organ music belting out of the stereo. I didn’t necessarily smile, but he sure did. I liked it. It was such a switch from the day-to-day grind of teenage hormones and insecurities. It meant home.
Often times, Dad would wake us up on weekends with his playing.
Along the way, I attended pipe organ concerts along the French or the South Shores of Nova Scotia.
One of the most remarkable feats was when he acquired a complete pipe organ that was sitting abandoned in someone’s barn. It came to us in thousands of pieces, like a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Dad patiently reconstructed it all, even making way for its soaring soft pipes by cutting into the empty barn loft of our century barn. He eventually sold it, and it is now in someone’s home.
He built a clavichord, a pretty little instrument. Again, a pretty neat accomplishment.
And his latest feat was the building of a small, living-room size pipe organ. It is entirely, painstakingly, built from wood, pipes and all. Some of it recycled wood, and all of it carefully chosen.
The organ is showcased here, in a 10 minute interview, via the link below. Take a look!