Chapter 32 Maiden Voyage
The service for Lars Lynnsehn had been a beautiful one. He was buried on Azalea Island in the small graveyard next to Zee zee's father and mother. The rest of the afternoon had been spent with Mr. Edwin at the console of the organ in the ball room and with Zee-zee, her Chinese friends and their children, Mr. Mac and the boys, and the good doctor, as the delighted audience. Even though the years seemed to drop away from Zeezee, Doctor O'Shaughnessy called a halt to the merriment shortly after dinner saying that it was eight o'clock and Zee-zee needed her rest after her ordeal. Mr. Edwin expressed concern for her too, saying that he had to reluctantly leave as well. Mr. Mac and the boys agreed saying that they had a big day on the job at the theatre next day themselves.
Early the next morning the unpacking and racking of the pipes began. It was a long and tedious process. The boys were quite aware of how careful they needed to be to make sure none of the pipes were dented or bent in the process of unpacking and carrying them into the chambers. Finally, after hours of work, it was time to tune the pipes.
Rank by rank, pipe by pipe the task proceeded with Mr. Mac wielding the tuning knife and the boys each taking a turn at the console, then up in the chambers to observe and learn. Ultimately, each pipe of each rank had been tuned and the big moment had arrived.
Jimmy said “I wish Miss Mel was here. She's going to be the Floridian Theatre organist. She ought to be the first to play it!”
Mr. Mac replied “Oh, that's all right, she'll have ultimate say on the final voicing and finishing. I understand that she's going to play first at the open house so, in a sense, she will be the first to play it. At least in public. Anyway, the way it will sound then may be quite a bit more refined than the way it sounds now.”
Jimmy said “Mr. Mac I think you should go first.”
Harry agreed, “Yeah, I'm not sure that either of us know our way around the console, yet.”
“Well, OK, here we go!” Mr. Mac selected several stop tabs and began to play.
The boys stood rooted to the spot. Never had they heard such a glorious sound. It was a sound that throbbed and pulsated throughout the theatre. Sometimes brassy, sometimes sweet. Sometimes the sound was so beautiful it made Jimmy want to cry. Mr. Mac finished with a flourish.
From behind them came a round of applause. Every workman in the building was standing in the aisles clapping. Startled, Mr. Mac jumped from the console bench. Laughing, he sketched a little bow to the house. A cheer went up from the men who shouted, “More, more!”
Mr. Mac motioned to the boys.
Harry emphatically shook his head and said “No! Not me! Jimmy plays much better than I do. Go ahead, Jimmy. Play the organ!”
Jimmy had to be honest with himself. He couldn't wait to play! He had been thinking about it for along time. He thought about all the song she knew he could play. He couldn't think of many popular songs at the moment so he decided to play “Onward, Christian Soldiers” a hymn he knew very well.
He started with a military cadence on the Snare Drum and Bass Drum finishing with a Cymbal crash. He followed this with a fanfare on the Posthorn. Then, moving into a march tempo, he played the melody on the Trumpet accompanied by the Diapasons. On the chorus he added all the Strings, the Tuba, Flutes, Tibias and Vox Humanas. For a grand ending effect he added a great 'Amen' on full organ with all the trems off.
Everyone stood still for just a moment, then began wildly applauding, shouting, “Bravo!”
Harry was pounding Jimmy on the back and Mr. Mac was pumping his hand, saying “Jimmy! That was great! That was wonderful! I didn't know you could do that!”
The workmen gathered on the stage to get a closer look at the console. They began to ask Jimmy questions about the organ. Jimmy looked at Mr. Mac with a look that said 'don't you want to answer?' Mr. Mac pointed back at Jimmy and smiled as if to say 'they asked you, so you answer. 'So he did.
Jimmy was surprised at how much he knew about the organ. In fact, he knew the answer to every question he was asked. Soon the foreman urged everyone to go back to work.
After they left there was one man who stayed behind and introduced himself. “Nice playing! I'm Jerry Hampton, the projectionist. I just wondered if you would like to practice with the film sometime today?”
Jimmy asked “You mean 'The Sword and the Diamond' is already here?”
Jerry replied “Yes, it and the score arrived on the train this morning, and since you're going to be playing it. . .”
“Whoa! I'm not the organist!” Jimmy said laughing.
Jerry said, “You're not? But you played so well I thought you were. Huh! Oh well, I have to run the film anyway. Why don't you play just for the fun of it?”
Jimmy looked at Mr. Mac “Do you think it'd be OK?”
“Sure, while you're doing that it'll give me a chance to work out any problems we find.”
Harry agreed, “Yeah, why don't you? It would be great fun. Besides, I want to see your Aunt Ethel in action on the screen!”
“His Aunt Ethel is in the movie?” queried Jerry.
Harry replied “She's none other than Miss Etta EauKlaire herself!”
“You're kidding! I heard she was from Jax! Jeepers! And she's gonna be here for the opening! Let's run this flick and get a good look! I'll go up to the projection room and get the score then I'll set up the first reel while you look it over.” said Jerry.
Over his shoulder he tossed, “Gee! It must be swell being the nephew of a real movie star!”