Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Frank Fowler

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Frank Fowler

  1. Tuning an organ can be compared to polishing a fine table top. Regular and gently - don't take the surface back to the bare wood each time - you will never achieve a superb finish. Most importantly know what and when to leave well alone. FF
  2. The writer of the programme seems to have his finger on the pulse of current happenings in today's church life, from the `Parish Share' to the `Charismatics'. It is worth seeing the programme twice over as there can be some subtleties missed on the first viewing. Frank Fowler
  3. I remember going to a new school hall (circa 1957) where the architect had been informed that he had to make space for the existing organ to be installed in the new building without alteration to size or layout. We had been told that he was perfectly capable of doing this and in due course arrived to view the situalion before beginning the transplant. We inspected the new site and found the console area perfectly adequate and then aked to see the pipe chambers. "What pipe chambers?" said the architect. Which is why the School had to go electronic. Frank Fowler
  4. Try contacting David Hill, (Of the famous violin maker's family and a craftsman himself) at: Granary Barn, Taylors Lane, Little Missenden, BucksHP7 0QZ Good luck, FF
  5. Frank Fowler


    I am more than interested to see St.Mary's Beaminister now has an instrument from Slovenia - I was confirmed in that church many years ago. Having local conections, I spent the first sixteen years fof my life in Bridport, some seven miles away, I would be interested to know who were the consultants and how much it cost. FF
  6. Gareth, Humidifiers have always been a mixed blessing. The best solution is to have the building properly air conditioned, often a matter of course in America, but seemingly totally alien over here. In one largish church I dealt with they put water troughs on top of ten of the hot water radiators. In the winter, (as the church furniture was splitting), with the heating on the verger could put up to 50 gallons per week into these troughs. (They also had a humidifier). The old massive Victorian coke `Turtle' heaters found in cathedrals were excellent in their way as they had a trough for water round their bases which helped humidify the building. Humidifiers need constant and regular maintence. One of the main problems, ecpecially in hard water districts was the `furring up' of the water inlet valve and often I have found that you could hear the motor running but there was no water in the machine. In my tuning days on each visit, I normally took off the inspection cover on the top and pressed the float down to ensure water was coming in - if not panic stations. It is essential that the humidistat is placed in a correct position and that `bleed valves' are correctly fitted to ensure that the moist air circulates properly throughout the interior of the instrument when not in use and some into the surrounding interior atmosphere. Despite all this there are many parts of the organ that a humidifier does not cover. Soundboard upperboards will still warp and pedal wooden pipes will still split to say nothing of problems with wooden mechanical actions. The air immediatly coming into the instrument will be the moistest and will reduce in moisture content as it moves throught the interior. Improperly fitted a humidifier can do considerable damage. Obviously electrocution also now has to be considered. Good luck, Frank
  7. Please can I give my perennial warning - GET PERMISSION BEFORE RECORDING ANY PUBLIC PERFORMANCE - and that includes organ recitals and weddings. FF
  8. Today, there seem to be few very skilled tuners about so first find someone with a proven track record and ask for a quote. Many tuners are self employed and they can charge unrealistically because they are not business men and do not take into consideration overheads such as pensions, allowance for sickness, holiday pay and sometimes proper insurance. Find out how much your local plumber charges and work out the cost of him doing the tuning! Then be grateful for organ tuners. Good luck, FF
  9. I have vague memories stirring that it was purchased by an entrepreneur who was talking about selling it in Australia. Other memories that it had to be removed in a great hurry at the end before any deals had been made and it was simply acrapped. Can anyone help? There must be some documents about somewhere. FF
  10. It has always worried me that the `Outside Rep' i.e. tuner was always regarded as the dregs by the factory staff. Some were highly skilled and knowledgeable men, who knew how to set a scale, did not have (or need) electronic tuners and knew the skill of tuning was to make the organ sound in tune, not necessarily slavish tune it to theory. FF
  11. Many years ago, when a tuner in South Wales, (c 1959) I wrote to Lampeter (our local parson factory) suggesting that one lesson ought tp be dedicated to the care and maintenance of organs in the ordinand's training. I was politely told that this was not thought essential enough to be included. FF
  12. Difficult access is usually caused by trying to get too much into a limited space and more often that the designer has never been an organ tuner. FF
  13. I virtually `wasted' 1.1/4 hours waiting for the organ section of the programme and as much as I admire Thomas really wondered if it was all worth while in that particular format. I felt that the much maligned BBC `Organ' Songs of Praise was better value for money. FF
  14. Suggested modification to last line "........ think they are above the law completely". FF
  15. How long will it be before the "Health & Safety" tendrils reach out into this area? FF
  16. I read with interest the comments from "we, who know better". It is easy to knock walls down but I wonder how many of us have contacted the BBC to tell them how splendid it was to have an enjoyable and interesting programme about organs and when can we have another one? If I were a BBC producer, having read some of our gripes it would be pop groups, pianos and guitars and even combs and paper from now on. It's joe public we need to get interested. Lets launch a `thanks' campaign and ask for more. FF
  17. Go to the Odeon, Leicester Square, sit on the organ console, ensuring the orchastra lift is at the bottom of the orchestra pit, bring the console fully up, turn round and take a bow - but only if you have a head for heights. FF
  18. Round here funerals often have a theme of the `celebration of the life' of the deceased and recently as such, a much loved local farmer died. We had over 450 present, from all over the County, squeezed into the church. I was asked to play the coffin in to "To be a a Farmers Boy", play it out to a soft and slow "D,ye ken John Peel" (the deceased was a great horseman) and as soon as it had left the church, "The Post Horn Gallop" to take us all to the pub in a jolly mood. Despite what you might think I ought or ought not to have played the music made this one of the most moving funerals I have experienced. The family and mourners were well pleased. FF
  19. I remember that in my Midlands days (1960's) Dr. Francis Jackson had been employed to play for an "important wedding" at St.James the Greater, Leicester. This organ had no case and quite an amount of the unenclosed pipework as a display feature. As an unexpected bonus for the wedding day the sun came out early in the morning and shone through some windows on to the organ (it only happened at certain times of the year when normally the sun did not shine) which put it radically out of tune. As the tuner I was mortified and could only explain what had happened to the Dr. who immediately realised and accepted the situation saying he would do his best to play round it (he did) and with a delightful smile then said "and what's more, I can give them an authentic Continental performance of the Widor Toccata at the end. FF
  20. I have just played for an `important' funeral. The b****y undertaker has gone off again forgetting to pay me. FF
  21. An excellent way to improve technique is to play a harpischord - you have worry about note release as well. FF
  22. If they simply changed that line to: "Born on Christmas morning" that would solve the problem. FF
  23. Another one, if sung at 'Midnight Mass' starting at 11.30, that has to be sung after midnight is 'Christians awake, salute the happy morn'. A short sermon can mess this up! FF
  • Create New...