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Pipe Organ Use Policies

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Policy on the Use of the Turner Hall Recital Organ

The Dobson organ in Steve & Judy Turner Recital Hall is understood to be for use primarily by the Blair School faculty and by Blair students who are currently studying (or have previously studied) organ. Special provision will be made to accommodate the needs of guest organists formally invited by the Blair School to perform on the organ.

When a Blair School conductor or performer wishes to use an organist from outside Blair as accompanist or as a member of an ensemble performing on a program in Turner Hall, the Blair faculty member extending the invitation should send an email to Dean Mark Wait, copied to Carl Smith and Joe DeBusk, requesting approval for use of the organ.

Once the request has been approved, the host faculty member should communicate with Christine Claffey for all scheduling matters, and with Joe DeBusk to coordinate rehearsal and concert technical needs. All requests for practice time and technical services should be made by the host faculty member, not by the guest organist.

Because of the uniqueness of certain aspects of the Dobson organ’s design, opening its case, placing its removable pedalboard and other similar logistical matters shall only be performed by Blair’s technical staff under Joe DeBusk’s direction. Keys to the organ’s case and service room will not be made available. The key for the power switch (controlling the blower, console lights and combination action) will be left in the switch by the technical crew. (This switch is located at the bottom of the right-hand stop jamb.) Because the organ may only be opened and set up by a member of the technical crew, careful advance coordination of schedules will be required.

Guest organists must not try to do any touch-up tuning of the organ or attempt to deal on their own with any technical problems. The information card in the console will list contact information to report any issues that may arise.

Guest organists are welcome to use the combination action, which provides an abundance of memory levels and settings. We ask that guests only use levels numbered 50 or higher for their combination settings, and that they leave a note in the console advising other organists of the levels they are using and the date of their concert so that combination settings won’t be deleted by accident. The Swell pedal must always be left completely open at the end of each use of the organ.

Organists providing accompaniment for concerts with a conductor may want to use the conductor’s CCTV camera and console monitor. The camera can be adjusted by remote control — a technical crew member can retrieve the controller and demonstrate on request. The position of the monitor itself is fixed and is not adjustable. There are also two removable mirrors, one for the top of each of the console’s stop jambs, that are useful in various ways with musical works for smaller ensembles. The technical crew can install these mirrors as well on request.

While the construction of Dobson’s Opus 92 organ is extremely sturdy and hopefully durable, it does have a few unusual features that leave it vulnerable to unintentional mishandling. For that reason, we cannot make keys to the instrument available to people who are unaccustomed to it, We ask that guest organists and their Blair hosts respect and abide by these policy guidelines and a few further requests detailed on the information card located on the console’s music desk.