The responses to my posting a couple of weeks ago about inmate
Roy E. Johnson who wants to build a band organ while locked up were very
interesting. Jean Potteck, Scott Olson, and Damon Atchison offered to
help him, while a couple of other MMD'ers cautioned to be on guard when
dealing with convicts.
I received a reply from Mr. Johnson. He was not at all discouraged by
anything I told him. I mentioned that he could probably make the pipes,
though voicing reed pipes can be difficult, but that he'd need either
machinist skills to build a tracker frame or funds to buy one ready-made.
I also told him that his starting point should a decision on the type of
roll his organ would play, because that would determine the organ's size
and instrumentation; I made no mention of MIDI operation.
It turns out that he has a carnival background, which is how he fell in
love with band organ music. However he has never seen the inside of a
band organ, except for a glimpse once inside a Reithofer organ. So
I doubt he understands the complexity of the pneumatic system yet. But
he could have lots of fun trying his hand at making a rank of flute pipes
as a starter.
He told me nothing else about himself personally except that he is from
Vermont and is serving time in Maine because Vermont doesn't have a state
penitentiary. What a law-abiding state Vermont must be, clean and pure
in every sense.
But taking seriously the cautions a couple of MMD'ers sent me, I wrote
to the warden to ask about Mr. Johnson and to say that I would send him
some cassettes of band organ music, if he is allowed to receive home-made
ones. Mr. Johnson said that commercial tapes are allowed but not private
ones. I will find out for sure.
If he still intends to pursue his dream, I can send him some pages from
Doyle Lane's Wurlitzer pipe scale book as a starter, and a couple of us
are talking about chipping in for a copy of the Stanoszek manual or on
We will see what develops. His postal address is available from me
via e-mail if you want to advise, encourage, or discourage him.