Making merry

The world of the organ
"The rising of the sun / And the running of the deer, / The playing of the merry organ / Sweet singing in the choir” rings the chorus of “The Holly and the Ivy,” a favored carol of the season. It inspires me to a love song, an overdue tribute to the pipe organ, producer of merriment, inspirer of awe, mimic of angelic choruses, undergirder of hymns.

My sister, brother and I had good reason to despise the instrument, though my two siblings learned to play it—my sister with finesse, my brother against his will. I learned to listen. Why despise it? To answer that I must tell you what hardly a soul is still alive to remember: before organ blowers were powered by electric motors, one had to pump them by hand. We Marty three are old enough to have lived at the end of that epoch.

 

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