The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Organ Music
August 2nd, 2013

When Nancy Faust majored in psychology at North Park College, she wasn’t expecting the career into which she almost immediately fell to be a long-term engagement.  Instead, playing organ for Comiskey Park (home of Chicago’s White Sox) was only supposed to be a temporary engagement before embarking on teaching.  However, like a good song, Faust stuck in the stadium and became a part of history.  For 41 years, she played the stadium, with her final appearance on Sunday, Direct TV Knoxville, October 3. Faust became popular for attaching popular songs to different players, such as “Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida” for Pete Incaviglia and “Let’s Get Physical” for Omar Vizquel.  As you can see, puns and wordplay make up a good part of Faust’s musical connections.  However, her best-known contributions exist in a class of their own.  She played an arrangement of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that became popular with the Chicago Cubs, and her rendition of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” reinvigorated interest in the forgotten 1969 hit and caught on at sporting events around the country.  Another track that Faust put her own special spin on was the Queen anthem “We Will Rock You,” which fans adapted as “We will, we will, Sox you!” The organ woman was recognized with several awards during her career, both official (a RIAA gold record from Mercury Records) and unofficial (a citation from Sports Illustrated as baseball’s MVO”Most Valuable Organist”).  She also appeared in a special exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame called “Women in Baseball” and performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2005.  Faust missed only five games during her career during the birth of her son and didn’t miss any games between 1983 and 2005.  In 2006, she announced her semi-retirement to daytime-only games. Faust’s organ of choice is a Technics, along with a sequencer and synthesizers.  She became a sports icon without ever taking the field, and fans are sad to see her go, but optimistic at the thought that another hidden talent may be waiting just around the bend.

Bring On The Music – Organ Style!
May 29th, 2013

Bring On The Music: Organ Style

Where Can You Hear The Organ
The organ has been a staple instrument in rock and roll since the beginning. In fact, the organ became influential with rhythm and blues artists such as Ray Charles, Booker T And The MG’s and Sam And Dave. However, the organ was a transitional instrument for the blues too. By this, I mean as blues guitarists were making the switch from acoustic guitars to electric, piano players Read the rest of this entry »

What Would The World Be Like Without Organ Music?
March 26th, 2013

For centuries, the world has been blessed with the sound of organ music. Kings and queens appointed composers to write music specifically for the instrument because of its ability to penetrate into people’s hearts and minds. Grandiose places with perfect acoustics were built for the instrument. Choirs were sometimes used to add even more depth to music. Musical numbers could be light and airy or very verbose. People of importance used it to evoke a particular mood within the listeners.

Silent movies utilized the organ to add to Read the rest of this entry »

Musical Organs – Let the Orchestra Begin
June 10th, 2012

Music has the power to lessen pain, diminish depression and bring a sense of well-being, according to research on the subject. By taking beginner’s organ lessons, a test group of pain management patients saw a twenty percent decrease in the pain they felt between classes.

Organs have been in existence for over one thousand years, however, the pipe organ was invented during the 14th century. Although several types of organs exist today, none of them can compare to the large pipe organs, which have sound abilities unmatched by any other Read the rest of this entry »

Musical Organs – Angelic Keyboard Instruments
May 30th, 2011

The organ is a keyboard instrument of one or many divisions, each played with its own keys operated either with the hands or feet. The musical organ, when compared to other instruments, is an relatively old instrument in music tradition. The musical organ has always found a place in the Catholic church, coming back in today’s time as a complement to the traditional church choir. The organ is also often used for recital purposes, many people calling the organ an “angelic keyboard” due to its ability to create other worldly sounds.

Today’s pipe organs use wind moving through Read the rest of this entry »

Organ Music Dates Back to Ctesibius of Alexandria
May 17th, 2011

The known history of the organ dates back to ancient Greece, in Alexandria, where an engineer named Ctesibius lived during the third century BC. His goal was to develop a mechanical pipe instrument that required no blowing from the mouth. He is credited with building the earliest musical keyboard, called the “hydraulis” or “water organ”, that operated using a hydraulic system to force air through the organ pipes.
Using his knowledge of compressed air devices, Ctesibius designed a sealed Read the rest of this entry »

Organ Music is Music to Your Ears
May 5th, 2011

Organs have been used for centuries in a variety of music types. They are most recognizable for their use in church music, but have been featured in a variety of other venues as well. Organs provided the mood music for silent films in the early 20th century, are used in ball parks around the country to help rally the fans, and are regularly used in horror films. An organ is similar in appearance to a piano; however mastering an organ can be far more difficult as the player uses both hands and feet to produce the music. An organ solo was even featured on the rock hit, “Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.
Organs can provide a full-bodied sound all by themselves but can also be use to accompany either a solo or choir. When recording an organ performance, techniques such as artificial double tracking, or adt for short, can be used to increase the fullness of the sound even further, making a few voices sound like a complete choir with dozens of members.
Organs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, to accommodate the many ways in which this instrument can be used. Whether the organ is a pipe, digital, or pipe-combination, the organ will provide an audience with a unique music experience.

Organ music in the 20th century
July 19th, 2010

At the time of its early invention in the 3rdnd century B.C., the organ was associated with gladiator fights. Around the 8th century A.D. it became a popular instrument for crafting Western religious music. However, modern musicians have used the organ for a variety of reasons, some of them as surprising as they are compelling.Marcel Dupre was an organist who followed in the Romantic French tradition but added a modern touch of improvisation. Over more than 2000 recitals, he developed impressive five-part-fugues which showed the ability of the organ to captivate modern listeners. Olivier Messiaen was another modern composer who transposed rhythms from Greek and Hindu sources to modern music to make a new and complex sound.The melodramatic atmosphere of soap operas surprisingly made them a perfect fit for the majestic sound of the organ. Read the rest of this entry »

Get started playing the organ
July 19th, 2010

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a real organ, don’t waste your opportunity! Learning how to play the organ can take a while to master, but it takes almost no time to get started feeling your way around simple songs and melodies. Follow the steps below and you’ll find yourself on the way to organ glory.1. Practice on a regular piano or keyboard. Organs can have anywhere from one to seven manuals, or keyboards, which can be quite intimidating if you’ve never touched one before. It’s much easier to learn to read music and practice simple scales on a regular keyboard. You can even find one online if you can’t get an actual one.2. Look into formal lessons. Read the rest of this entry »

Famous organists of the modern day
July 19th, 2010

It’s obvious that the organ is not a dead instrument, given its popularity in sporting arenas and certain classic songs, but not everyone knows that there are players still carrying on the classical organ tradition. Even in the United States alone, there is a plethora of players regularly working the pumps and astounding audiences. If you get a chance to see one of these players on their way through your town, don’t miss it.

  • Guy Whatley was born in Wales in 1975, but got his doctorate at Arizona State University, where he wrote a dissertation on Tudor organ music. He regularly tours with trumpeter Jean-Christophe Dobrzelewski, as well as playing full-time at the Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley, AZ. Read the rest of this entry »