Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Fun Field Trip...

Today I attended an open house at Schoenstein & Company pipe organ plant. They recently moved their operations from their tiny San Francisco facility to an enormous new plant in Benicia, about ten miles from where I live. Hundreds of people attended, and we noshed on wonderful food while wandering about the 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art factory. A new, two-manual, 17 rank instrument bound for St. James Episcopal Church in New York City, is just about ready to ship, and was available for "open console" where anyone could sit down and play this magnificent instrument. The ranks of pipes were not enclosed in their chests yet, and thus were exposed, enabling guests to walk among the ranks of pipes, and experience the sound of the organ from the inside. And what an experience it was - quite earth-shaking in several instances, when a couple of show-offs let it rip with some bombastic Bach!

The console was set up in the main assembly shop, just in front of the erecting bay housing the pipes.

The erecting bay, complete with bridge crane, is 42 feet high and enables Schoenstein to build any size instrument.

Ever been inside the business end of a pipe organ? It's damned, fraggin' awesome - especially when someone's playing the instrument!

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