The Day the Rafters Sang
Finding a Connection With God Through a Musical Instrument
By Rev. Paul J. Bern
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I have been blessed with being able to play a piano from a very young age, about 5 or so. For the last fourteen years I have played the keyboards in the same church, serving as a musician. The keyboard is an oldie-but-goody Yamaha YSR-290, a 73 key model, which is only one step away from a full size 88-key piano. But it’s a digital model so it’s very light compared to acoustic pianos, which can tip the scales at 500 pounds or more for a spinet or a console, and half again as much for a grand piano. About five years ago, an anonymous donor donated an ancient Hammond organ with its own Leslie amplifier, which consisted of a rotating woofer-type speaker and attached rotating horn. I don’t know the wattage rating for the amp, but it must be substantial because it can get pretty loud at full volume.
Identification of Its Model
At the time, it didn’t work properly. I would turn it on and it did have power, but it wouldn’t play, and no one knew why. So one Sunday morning after service I got into the back side of the organ and determined it approximate age and what appeared to be the correct model number. Come to find out it was a Hammond made sometime between the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, and its chassis consisted of antique vacuum tubes as its power source. Getting parts could be a problem because of its age, I thought. I related all these things to pastor that same day.
An Ultimately Unsuccessful Repair Job
So for a couple more years it just sat there with the other instruments unused. One Sunday the church was able to collect enough money to repair the old instrument, and I had located two local people who could fix the organ. An older service man came and worked on it, replacing several of the vacuum tubes on the chassis, and he got it working. But after about a year or so, the old organ stopped working again for no apparent reason. The symptoms were the same as before — power with no sound. We were unable to locate…