The Organ and its Pipes

My wife and I were working at the Ludhiana Christian Medical College and Hospital in the early 1960s. In the college chapel there is an organ with an unfortunate history. It was donated by the authorities of the Vice-Regal Palace chapel up in Simla shortly after Independence was declared in August, 1947.  It was a very fine instrument with about nine hundred pipes: naturally, its removal involved total dismantlement, the pipes being removed one by one and the identity of each one carefully marked on it in ink. They, with all the other parts, were loaded onto a heavy vehicle, covered with tarpaulin and driven from Simla to Ludhiana.

It was the monsoon season and upon unloading the vehicle it was found that the heavy rain had penetrated the covering. The full significance of this dawned on the installer only when he picked up the first of the 900 pipes and looked for the ink markings. He found nothing. He had no idea where it should go. The reason: whoever had done the marking job had not used a waterproof ink. The leaking covering had meant that none of the pipes escaped the rain. A determined effort was made to find a way of making the instrument produce helpful sounds of some kind. The result was a little disconcerting but, all things considered, it was a noble effort. Barbara was asked to take on the post of Organist. After her first service she said that the experience was ‘interesting’.

But, had you been in the position of that poor installer, what would you have done? Answers on LinkedIn, please! Or here if you wish.

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About Paul

Retired, I spend my time on commissions for lyrics, writing words for singing. Choral works, congregational hymns, school songs - anything that allows people to sing together. Over one hundred published works and many broadcasts and CDs. An always-present liking for photography and pictures of all kinds was employed for a few years of freelancing and nearly 20 years of art-directing Kodak promotional print media.