Organ Christmas Tree Ornament

Ever since I started studying the organ, I'd been noticing a distinct lack of Christmas tree ornaments in the shape of organs. Tiny trumpets, tiny violins, tiny posthorns, and even tiny pianos had become quite common, but I can't remember seeing a single credible-looking organ. Worse, the very few tiny models of organs I had seen for sale as dollhouse minatures were so absurd-looking that anybody who actually played would fall over laughing at the sight of them. In short, the situation was no better than one I'd heard of, in which a stained-glass window was commissioned to salute church musicians, and in the finished window, the organist was shown playing the sort of half-pedalboard spinet-model toy that one might find in the living room of someone totally devoid of taste. This in spite of the fact that the artist could have inspected the church's own organ at any time.


For over a year, I'd had the idea of designing and building a Christmas tree ornament, built in the shape of a large chamber organ (or a small church organ). The plan was to construct one for my own tree, and several more as gifts for my organ teacher, and for a number of friends who played. For quite some time, I mentally noted down the general lines of every organ I ever saw that was of approximately the right size; the result was a severely simplified synthesis of everything I'd seen.

Wanting to make everything as realistic as practical, I picked the brains of several PIPORG-L subscribers for a few technical details, downloaded the official AGO console specifications, and carefully designed the thing, and built a prototype. Knowing that I was probably not alone in noticing the conspicuous absence of organ Christmas tree ornaments, I decided to make the plans and instructions available to all, without charge for non-commercial use. Incidentally, it took me over two weeks to do the initial design work and shopping, and at least another three to build it, once I started cutting wood. Subsequent ornaments have gone faster, mainly because I was constantly having to revise and modify the plans as I was building the first one.

But the story doesn't end there. It seems that one friend, on seeing the prototype, begged me to start making them for sale, so he could buy one. He didn't mind that they would be rather expensive; neither did he mind that I would not be able to find time for any more ornaments until the beginning of the year, and so he managed to break me down. So that year, I made a few for sale. I still have a small stock of parts, but at present, I'm not taking any orders, as I have too much going on as it is, and don't have the time or energy. Perhaps this will change someday.


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