Having responsibility for instruments in 9 different buildings keeps us on our toes, especially in winter.
One of the surprises for us here was finding out just how dry it gets in the winter. Once the temperatures are consistently below freezing all the moisture gets ‘sucked’ out of the air (literally freezing to all exposed surfaces). This plays havoc with any instrument containing wood, as the wood shrinks. Thankfully the ‘sanctuary’ area in Finnsnes church is humidity controlled so the main organ and grand piano are protected, but not so in the other buildings, so it’s always interesting to turn up to play and discover what doesn’t work. Examples include:
- Notes that stick on once played (OK if there are one or two, but problematic when you get half a dozen!).
- Notes which are stuck to their neighbours (sadly most hymns don’t sound good with tone clusters)
- ‘Couplers’ which hold notes on permanently.
- Pipes which are wildly out of tune (some times by several tones) because they’re made of wood and the tuning stopper has ‘shrunk’ and fallen down the pipe.
Therefore on Friday we took a trip to Bjorelvnes, ahead of a family service in Lenvik church today, to fix some problems. And we’re glad we did – it sounded horrendous! Despite arriving to find the whole town without power, it’s all fixed now.
Here are the innards of the instrument, and Sarah at ‘the helm’.