Six-year-old Peter gets a lesson in basic finger exercises
Daddy at the two manual console.
The four Devey
Paul, 2; Peter, 6;
Tommy, 11 and
of the 1519 pipes which go
A full scale hobby
If you were assembling
a do-it-yourself pipe organ kit you might need:
· 1519 pipes ranging in length
from 16 feet down to 3 /8 of an inch
· two 6X9 foot chests to support
· a two manual console
· a three horsepower motor
· and a 22 foot square blower
You would probably also need a large
basement, a garage and an understanding wife.
Possessor of all these is Ted Devey, systems engineer with radio regulations
engineering section of the telecommunications and electronics branch at Ottawa.
Although he is a member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Ted doesn't
play-yet. By the time he assembles the pipe organ in two years, however, he will
have been taking piano lessons for five years and will be ready for organ
studies. He can then practise on his own instrument, a 26 rank organ (which is
big in case you know nothing about pipe organs).
Ted's interest in organ music goes back to his youth when he enjoyed
listening to it, both in and out of church. He decided to one day build his own
electronic organ and learn to play, but it wasn't until about five years ago
that he switched his thoughts to the much more complicated task of building a
massive pipe organ.
- After leaving the Navy in 1961 Ted joined the Department of Transport and
was posted to Ottawa. There he heard about a local professional organ builder, Raymond Barnes, and sought him out. It was Mr.
Barnes who suggested Ted build a pipe organ and who gave him much advice and
First acquisition was much of an organ discarded by McPhail Baptist Church
followed by an old console from St. Matthews Anglican Church. Before Ted got
around to doing anything with them, however, he read about the proposed
demolition of a downtown Ottawa United church, the cornerstone of which was laid
by Sir John A. Macdonald in 1896. As an organ buff he knew that the church's
Breckles and Matthews organ had been completely rebuilt and modernized in 1957
and provided with a new console. He decided
to try and purchase the entire thing and put in a bid to the new owners of the
building, who were preparing for
demolition. As luck would have it Ted was the only person to do so. The organ was his-for a price,
Enlisting the aid of two
friends, one an organist, he worked
evenings and weekends to move the organ over a three week period last
Ted feels he got a real
bargain. He estimates the work done to the organ in 1957 cost $7,000 or $8,000 and
that to replace the entire organ,
pipes and all at today's prices would cost about 20 to 30 times the price he paid.
The Devey's (yes, Mrs.
Devey thinks the project is a wonderful addition to their ranch style bungalow) are
planning to enlarge their three bedroom house, to provide an area with a 10 foot high ceiling for the new "member of
the household". Meanwhile, Ted plans
to install some of the pipes this fall after first getting the blower hooked up to the motor.
Unusual as Ted's hobby
might sound, another member of the
Telecommunications branch shares it. He is Clarence Thomas, a technician
in electronics. Clarence is a member of the congregation
of a church which a few years ago discarded its organ when a new one was installed and fell heir to the
old instrument. He set up as much as
he could in the basement of his home, but many pipes had to remain in packing cases. Now he
is having a new house built with a basement designed to
accommodate the entire organ. Both he
and Mrs. Thomas are taking lessons and, as Mrs. Thomas points out, will have no trouble
putting in the time when Mr. Thomas retires in 1967 after 40 years with D.O.T.
In Ottawa, and other
Canadian cities, perhaps, there are several homes that either have finished pipe organs
installed or have them in various stages of construction. Some
of these owners are professional
musicians but the majority are
people like Ted Devey and Clarence
Thomas who may not play, but who
regard organ building as a challenging hobby.