Now for pistons and toe studs. Because of the huge number of midi signals available, I could have pretty well as many pistons as I wanted. On our organ, each division has six thumb pistons, plus a pedal coupler reversible and a divisional cancel. There are twelve general pistons, and – best of all – there are 68 levels of memory. One of the really cool things about the levels of memory is that you can give them names; so for example we have a level named Gordon's Anthems where I store various anthem accompaniments, another level named Barbara's Anthems where my assistant stores hers. This is terrific because once you've figured out the registrations for “They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships”, you simply note the memory level on your music, and next year when you sing it again, all your registrations are there.


A thumb piston can be referenced to any element of the organ. So for example, we have a Memory Level One piston which hops back to level one. We have another Memory Adjustable piston, so for example if you need to get to level 28 right away, you simply set it on the Memory piston and hop to level 28 by pressing the thumb piston, rather than having to poke the UP button 27 times. There is also a piston which resets the pitch tuner to A-440.


Regular Klann thumb pistons, such as you find on most pipe organ consoles, can be very expensive. With the large number of pistons on this console, Klann pistons would have cost nearly a thousand dollars. All the pistons have to do is close a circuit, like a doorbell – so, guess what, on this console we used doorbell buttons. They didn't have numbers on them, so I added the numbers using a labelling machine and clear labeling tape, with each number carefully placed.




There's one problem, however; Klann pistons have a groove in them so they won't move, but these doorbell buttons wiggle and turn through use. What the heck, it gives the organist something to do during the sermon, to turn the pistons all right-side up. And since they're not permanently engraved, the function of a particular piston can easily be changed in the software, and a new label put on it.