Holy Week 2019
Lots of concert halls have movable consoles, but now Madison, Wisconsin has a movable organ.
But the instrument's principal novelty is that it is movable. Since Overture Hall is intended as a multipurpose auditorium, suitable for musicals, opera and ballet as well as concerts, the 30-ton organ, mounted on 16 wheels and two sets of railroad tracks, can recede into an oversize cabinet to expand the stage and provide a more neutral backdrop.
-Oestreich, James R. "Everything's Up to Date in Madison, in Tune With Its New Overture Hall" (NYTimes 23 Nov 2004)
But Wisconsin? What's this organ doing up there?
The $1.1 million organ was a gift from his wife, Pleasant Rowland, creator of the American Girl doll.
Would anyone be upset if I started calling this the American Girl Organ? Or, what about the Pleasant American Girl Rowland (not affiliated with the Visser) Organ?
It's all coming together now. I can envision a scene in a horror movie where one of these American Girl dolls becomes possessed and chases a hapless organist to Madison where he is slowly crushed to death as the enormous facade rolls over him, inch by inch.
I don't really know why this comes to mind.
Tangents: Oestreich calls Saint-Saëns's "Organ" Symphony a "showpiece." For violinists a showpiece is something difficult like a Paganini Caprice; for organists a showpiece consists mostly of C major chords.
Rowland is not Roland
Rowland really isn't associated with Visser, now Visser Organs, anymore. And, note to self: when designing a web page for an organ builder, don't have the word cheap appear in the first line, nor a poorly embellished performance of David N. Johnson's Trumpet Tune in D which causes a listener who is familiar with the piece a great deal of consternation (does he mean to play it that way, or does he just not know the notes?).
There's a Visser-Rowland in Stamford, Connecticut's Fish Church.
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