Whiz, Bang, Boom!
Chapter 23 Whiz, Bang, Boom!
Harry and Jimmy happily spent the rest of the day helping Mr. Mac checking the wiring and winding in all three chambers of the organ. In the late afternoon he led the boys to the console and pushed the `on' switch. Harry expected a rush of wind. Jimmy expected to hear a rumble. The boys heard neither. In fact the only way they knew the organ was on was that a few small lights lit up. The boys watched intently as Mr. Mac selected a stop.
It was `chimes'. He played a note on the solo keyboard. Far above their heads rang out clearly the note Mr. Mac had played. He selected another stop. This time he played a sweeping arpeggio on the accompaniment manual. Again, from above their heads, they heard a bubbling cascade of pulsating bell tones from the Vibraharp. Mr. Mac selected a stop marked `Piano 8' and played a few bars of `Alexander's Ragtime Band', the notes showered down on them from on high. Finally he chose a stop that had `Diaphone 32' written on it. Then he played beginning with a middle bass pedal on down to the lowest note on the left end of the pedal board.
Nothing had prepared the boys for the thundering and resounding bass notes they heard. They stood with their mouths agape.
Mr. Mac said, “Quite a bit different from the Contre Violone 32' at Mr. Edwin's church, eh?” The boys simply replied in unison; “Wow!”
Mr. Mac laughed, “Well, as they say in the circus, `You ain't seen nothin' yet! Just wait `till we get the rest of the pipes in!” He continued to check each percussion until he had checked all seven.
He then said, “Now, while I go talk to the building foreman, you boys are going to check the rest of our work. Jimmy, why don't you check all the toycounter buttons, and when he finishes, Harry, you check all the traps, OK?”
Harry cried, “OK!” as he jumped upon the bench with Jimmy right behind him.
Jimmy, seated on the left side of the bench, carefully pulled the swing-out panel into playing position. He asked Harry, “Where should I start?”
“Why not start with that button,” he pointed to the top left button” and work your way down?” Harry replied.
“Right!” Jimmy read the first button. It said “Police Whistle” and when he pushed it that's exactly what he heard. The boys thought this was tremendously humorous. When Jimmy pushed the next button “Police Siren” it was even funnier. He continued pushing buttons: Boat Whistle, Train Whistle.
By this time gales of laughter accompanied each new effect. He pressed more buttons: “Whoopee Whistle” this was the funniest of all, then: Auto Horn, Door Bell, and last of all the buttons: Bird Whistle. This was different from all the rest because the sound came from not just overhead in the percussion chamber, but from the main and solo chambers as well. Three birds, one in each chamber.
There were four toggle switches: Wind, Surf, Fire Gong, and Wind Chimes. He switched on the first and they heard the rising and falling sound of a howling windstorm. The switch for Surf made the sound of waves breaking on the beach. The one labeled Fire Gong sounded like the bell that rang at the Fire Station the night the old barn had burned down on King Street just around the corner from Osteen's Drug Store. The Wind Chimes were tinkly and sounded like little hanging bells touching each other.
Jimmy noticed three pedals, that had sound effects names on them, which looked like the pedals on a piano. They were Grand Crash, Thunder, and Lightning.
Since Harry was sitting on the right side Jimmy said, “Try `em out. Do the Lightning one first.”
When Harry pressed the pedal with his foot all at once a very bright light flickered on and off and a loud crash made them jump. The Thunder pedal made a deep rumble but the Grand Crash nearly scared them off the bench!
It was Harry's turn to test the traps on the keyboards. He decided to start with the Pedal. There was quite a list: Bass Drum, Brush Snare, Cymbal, Tap Cymbal, Brush Cymbal, Tom-Tom 1, and more. All were tried and all were enjoyed.
Next the Accompaniment traps were checked: Snare Drum, Brush Snare, Cymbal, Tap Cymbal, High Hat Closed, High Hat Open, Triangle, Woodblock, Cow Bell, Tick Tock, Tambourine, Tom-Tom 2, and more, each of which were thoroughly tested.
At the left end of each keyboard were two buttons set in the narrow pieces of wood that Mr. Mac had called the keycheeks. There were six buttons in all. Each of these were tested beginning at the top with the solo keyboard. These buttons were labeled Chinese Gong and Bell Tree. The Great keyboard buttons were Crash Cymbal and Snare Roll, and the Accompaniment ones were Wood Block and Hi Hat.
By the time Mr. Mac returned the boys were actually playing a military drum routine, Jimmy playing the bass drum and cymbals on the pedals with Harry playing the snare drum from the accompaniment.
For the grand finale Harry counted “One! Two! Three! Four! GONG!” he pressed the button on the keycheek so marked and the sound blossomed forth from the chamber overhead, bringing their percussion serenade to a close. Mr. Mac smiled and wondered what these young men could do if there were pipes in the chambers. Well, he would find out soon!