The Organ At Prayer

About This Presentation

The Artists

Cyndy Lank is a vocalist in the Kansas City area. Her love of music ranges from blues and jazz to Christian to secular. As a semi-professional, she sings with an a cappella group and as a soloist at Church of the Resurrection.  She also sings with a quartet of fabulous women in addition to her solo gigs. Her favorite annual solo event is performing at Royals stadium singing the National Anthem. Outside of music, she is a wife and mother of two. She loves watching her children perform in local shows and even had the opportunity to join them this summer in Hunchback of Notre Dame. She loves her musical life


Ric Price Studied Organ at University of Missouri at Kansas City with Dr. John Ditto. He taught in Kansas City area public schools for 10 years and held demonstration recitals for the Community of Christ World Headquarters before changing his profession to Information Technology.   Ric retired from IBM in 2014 and moved from Kansas City to the Fair Play area with his wife Debbie, and a dog that thinks he’s smart.  After being away from the keyboard for a little over 10 years, Ric wanted to see if he could relearn what he forgot.  This will be the first time in 10 years he has presented music for others.  He has supplied a promotional picture taken in younger days when he still had hair!


What is Grand Orgue Technology and Software?

Pipe Organs are very expensive instruments to make and maintain.  They are designed for the room in which they will reside, for the type of music they will play, so no two organs are alike.  Each has a history before they are built and installed.  By that, I mean the traditions of the church, theater, Auditorium, and the organization it will serve: all goes into the planning and design before the first pipe is created. The high cost of pipe organs are out of range for the smaller and even medium size church.

Enter the electronic organs.

When I started playing, I went to the church and worked on a two manual (keyboard) spinet Hammond organ with 13 or so pedals.  I was young but the organist at my church encouraged me to practice there as much as I wanted.   

The sounds from that Hammond was a far cry from the sound of a pipe organ but little churches could not afford more.  That was in the mid 1960’s and by the early to late 1990s the art of building electronic analog organs began to give way to digital instruments with sound based in a few samples of pipes.  This technique expanded through the ensuing years and today digital church organs very nearly approximate the pipe organ sound.  However, they are expensive and again many small churches cannot afford them.  

In the last couple decades of the 1900s more and more churches were moving to Praise Music or alternative instruments within their services.  To help keep their digital organs relevant to these new forms of music, the builders began installing MIDI interfaces to make their organs MIDI compliant as the standards were developed.

This allowed the organs to become compatible to many new trends in music.

There are many churches today that bought an early digital organ and are still using them today.  However, some churches are selling their organs at fireside prices while buying expensive new digital instruments.   For some churches, though, there is an alternative — thanks to the MIDI.

Enter the PC!

It turns out (nicely, I might add) that PCs were becoming more developed along with the digital organ.  I don’t know who, but somewhere around or little after 2010, someone figured out that the PC had all the components needed to create a virtual organ while still using the perfectly good keyboards and pedals through the older organ’s MIDI interface.

Virtual organs are incredible because of their superb sound and flexibility. A virtual organ runs on the operating system just as any software does,  but it gets its superb sound through sample sets.  In non-tech words, sample sets are a digital recording of every pipe in an existing pipe organ.  Samples include the starts (attacks) and stops (release) of the pipe and files are made of the room itself so the computer can use the reverb of the room for the reverb of the sample set.   Through these sample sets, an organist is now able to play instruments with uncanny sound as if they were playing them in the actual space.   Some churches are now taking advantage of this very low cost solution to a very high cost issue.

Here is how the virtual organ works.

Easy!  Plug MIDI cables into the console interface, hook the computer output to the existing amplifier, and you have added a super versitile version of a pipe organ of your choosing.  Can you still play the old electronics?   Yes.  

There are many virtual organ software out there, but the two most used is Hauptwerk (proprietary) and Grand Orgue (open source).  

For this presentation, I have temporarily installed the computer onto our circa 1994 Rodgers Console.  I am using an Intel Quad Core PC with 8 gigs memory running on Linux.  This is an older machine but can handle the sample set I chose.  Because of the temporary setup, I don’t have all the pistons available to me so a registrant (Thank you, Angie!) will be employed.  However, in a permanent installation, everything would be integrated into the console.

There is another benefit as well.  Grand Orgue, being open source, is without cost.  So, too, are Sample Sets.

The sample set in use today is a sample of each pipe of the Pitea School of Music organ in Pitea, Sweden.  It has 4 divisions, Huvudverk (Open Great), Öververk (Positiv), Svällverk (Swell), and Pedal.  The Rodgers Console is a 3 division console, so I chose to  configure the Öververk as a ‘floating division’ (playable from either keyboard).


About the Sample Set

This organ has been published by Lars Palo under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license.

  • Sample format: 44.1 kHz, 16 bit stereo
  • Single loop, single release
  • GUI console
  • Temperaments fully supported

Organ information

This organ (III/P/35) was built in 1989 by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri AB for Piteå School of Music, Sweden

  • Huvudverk (I. Great, 61 notes, C-c4)
  • Gedacktpommer 16′
  • Principal 8′
  • Dubbelflöjt 8′
  • Oktava 4′
  • Oktava 2′
  • Cornet V
  • Mixtur IV
  • Trumpet 8′

  • Öververk (II. Positiv, 61 notes, C-c4)
  • Gedackt 8′
  • Fleut d’amore 8′
  • Principal 4′
  • Koppelflöjt 4′
  • Kvinta 2 2/3′
  • Waldflöjt 2′
  • Ters 1 3/5′
  • Scharff III
  • Cromorne 8′
  • (Tremulant)

  • Svällverk (III. Swell, 61 notes, C-c4)
  • Borduna 16′
  • Borduna 8′
  • Fl. harmonique 8′
  • Gamba 8′
  • Voix celeste 8′
  • Fl. octaviant 4′
  • Piccolo 2′
  • Mixtur V
  • Oboe 8′
  • Tr. Harmonique 8′
  • Clairon 4’Tremulant

  • Pedal (32 notes, C-g1)
  • Subbas 16′
  • Oktava 8′
  • Gedackt 8′
  • Oktava 4′
  • Basun 16′
  • Trumpet 8′ (III)
  • Clairon 4′ (III)

My Screen Setup. This can be set up in unlimited configurations.
This is the console view.

MIDI is an acronym that stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It’s a way to connect devices that make and control sound — such as synthesizers, samplers, and computers — so that they can communicate with each other, using MIDI messages.

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