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Transporting an Organ


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In a few weeks, a choir in which I sing is partnering with a local chamber music ensemble to present an "historical Bach" concert, using Baroque instruments and performance practices. I have located a positive organ by Klop which can play at A=415 Kammerton, perfect for continuo in one of the Cantatas, but it lives about two hours away in western North Carolina.

 

I would happily drive the distance to pick up and later return the organ, but the potential liability gives me pause. Does anyone on the board have experience in moving or arranging transport for an organ, even a small positive organ? Is it possible to purchase insurance if I move the organ personally, or is this kind of work best left to professional movers whose company will assume liability? Should I contact an organ builder in the region to see whether they can transport it?

 

Justin

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In a few weeks, a choir in which I sing is partnering with a local chamber music ensemble to present an "historical Bach" concert, using Baroque instruments and performance practices. I have located a positive organ by Klop which can play at A=415 Kammerton, perfect for continuo in one of the Cantatas, but it lives about two hours away in western North Carolina.

 

I would happily drive the distance to pick up and later return the organ, but the potential liability gives me pause. Does anyone on the board have experience in moving or arranging transport for an organ, even a small positive organ? Is it possible to purchase insurance if I move the organ personally, or is this kind of work best left to professional movers whose company will assume liability? Should I contact an organ builder in the region to see whether they can transport it?

 

Justin

 

Definitely contact an organ builder to move it. He should have insurance to move it and saves you the stress!

 

Peter

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A motor insurance policy in the USA ought to have ample cover for goods in transit. The concert promoter or venue ought to have ample liability cover for a mishap. A continuo organ ought to come apart reasonably simply and be portable. I'd have no hesitation about moving it myself. Just don't try and turn it on its side or upside down and there's precious little else to worry about. Oh, apart from getting it to the venue at least 24 hours in advance so the tuning settles and you don't end up having to re-tune the band six times during the afternoon rehearsal.

 

(Embarassing confession - this happened to me with one of Ken Tickell's box organs. During the second tune-up, my note didn't sound somehow quite right and I noticed that in my enthusiastic playing the case had moved very slightly away from the blower, and the membrane was letting quite a bit of air escape. Not even the viola player found it amusing.)

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In a few weeks, a choir in which I sing is partnering with a local chamber music ensemble to present an "historical Bach" concert, using Baroque instruments and performance practices. I have located a positive organ by Klop which can play at A=415 Kammerton, perfect for continuo in one of the Cantatas, but it lives about two hours away in western North Carolina.

 

I would happily drive the distance to pick up and later return the organ, but the potential liability gives me pause. Does anyone on the board have experience in moving or arranging transport for an organ, even a small positive organ? Is it possible to purchase insurance if I move the organ personally, or is this kind of work best left to professional movers whose company will assume liability? Should I contact an organ builder in the region to see whether they can transport it?

 

Justin

 

========================

 

 

Lots of bubble-wrap, organ against the headboard on a pallet, small wooden euro- pallets each side to stop it moving and, if possible, a single, small ratchet-strap (not over-tightened).

 

You should be able to arrange transit insurance through a motor-insurer.

 

Off you go,......drive safely....wach for pot-holes.

 

MM

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Thank you all for your replies. I did contact a North Carolina organ builder who can move this organ, if the price is not too great for the groups involved in the concert. Today I will enquire with my insurance agent to see what transit insurance would cost (and crucially, whether such insurance would simply make the owner of the organ whole or indemnify me as well). I will be sure to report back, in case anyone else faces a similar situation.

 

Justin

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you again, Peter, MM and Heckelphone for your advice earlier this year. We were lucky enough to find another organ nearby (UNC Chapel Hill, just down the road), and a local organ technician was able to transport it for us at a very reasonable rate. Most of this organ is cone tuned, but as we just needed the gedeckt, he was able to set it to Werckmeister III to match the harpsichord. So it all worked out.

 

I'm sorry to be so late in posting, but we just finished another concert which kept me busy and off the computer last month. Now I can rest for a bit, as soon as I figure out how to stop replaying the music in my mind. What makes a good musical eraser? Messiaen "Livre d'Orgue", perhaps? Or maybe I will find something tuneful enough to drive the passacaglia from Hindemith's "Apparebit repentina dies" out of my head. Maybe.

 

Justin

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