Lecture/Slideshow on Historic German Organs

Henry presents a lecture/slideshow on historic German organs.

March 10, 2019—4 pm: Henry, at a monthly meeting of the Palomar Chapter of the American Guild of Organists held at House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Escondido, California, presented a one-hour lecture/slide show about his summer 2018 trip to Germany and tour of historic organs from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th-centuries in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Wittenberg, and other towns and villages in Saxony. During his presentation, he played a compact disc recording made on the 1668 Reicher organ at the Marktkirche in Halle (reportedly played on by both J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel), which is tuned in meantone temperament.

At 6 pm, Dale Sorenson, curator of the Spreckel organ at Balboa Park in San Diego and builder at L. W. Blackinton & Associates Pipe Organ Builders of El Cajon, gave a demonstration on and tour of the church’s 1989 two-manual and pedal Schlicker organ. About 33 members of the AGO Palomar Chapter and House of Prayer Lutheran Church attended the presentation. Following are letters from participants:

“Interesting. Surprising. Informative. These were some of of my thoughts as I attended the Organ Crawl last Sunday, March 10th. Led by Henry Doktorski as he guided us through some of Germany’s distinctive organs, we entered not only the sacred space and sound of beautiful instruments, but into the fascinating world of organists. I concluded that these gifted musicians must perceive the world around them like an infinite series of stops to be tried, connected, and remembered. After a delicious dinner, we were attentive to the words and playing of Dale Sorensen as he helped us make sense of the sounds and possibilities of what we were hearing. He then physically led us into the crawl space between the pipes to complete our organ crawl. You have my appreciation. Well done.”—Rev. Daren Erisman, Ph.D., House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Escondido

“Regarding our March Chapter Meeting with Henry showing slides from his German organ tour and Dale Sorenson’s demonstration and organ crawl of the House of Prayer Schlicker organ: Music, travel to Europe, entertaining narrative and FOOD. It doesn’t get much better!”—Carol Graham, Palomar Chapter Secretary”

“The organ crawl by Dale Sorenson was something new for me and I enjoyed it. Climbing up and viewing the pipes was a highlight. You don't get to do that, ever? Listening to all the things our organ can do was great. I’ve been listening to our organists for over 20 years and really learned a lot. Thanks Henry! Thanks Dale!”—Dolores Madsen, Member, House of Prayer Lutheran Church

“Thank you, Henry, for your presentation at the Organ Crawl. I learned several things about how the really old organs were flush with the wall requiring a difficult physical position to play the pedals, what ‘meantone’ meant, and other interesting information. The Lasagna dinner with salad and deserts was wonderful and plenty of food. Thanks to all who got the food, heated it up/mixed it/ made it, served it. Thank you to Dale Sorenson. I learned that each stop really has one volume, that the organist can change the volume by adding or deleting stops, and/or opening and closing the louvers. It was quite interesting to see the inside of the pipe chamber. Overall it was a great evening. Thank You.”—Chuck Aden, Member, House of Prayer Lutheran Church

“Henry did a good job explaining his Germany trip and the organs he was able to see. I’d never been a fan of the organ, preferring the piano, but have a much better appreciation of the pipe organ now. Give him, and Dale Sorenson, my thanks and kudos for the presentation.”—Ed Watson, Member, House of Prayer Lutheran Church

“Henry’s lecture and slideshow about historic German organs was informative and entertaining; even for someone like myself who knows little about organs, and does not play the instrument. Henry has a unique sense of humor which found its way into his presentation and added to the enjoyment of the evening. An added bonus of the evening was the opportunity to hear the organ in the church where the lecture was held be used for both demonstration and education about how an organ actually works. The opportunity to climb into the ‘guts’ of the organ to see and hear the mechanisms that create the amazing sounds was fun and awe-inspiring.”—K. Newman

Dale Sorenson demonstrates an organ pipe.