It was a beautiful, warm, sunny summer day. Except for the fact that it was September 21ˢᵗ. Summer was lingering into autumn. Matthieu and I had been invited to a meeting with Juget-Sinclair's last creation: an elegant two manual, thirty-three stop tracker organ with warm tones. The organ would soon be dismantled and shipped to Pelham, New York, where it would be reassembled and voiced to the specific acoustics of its new home. In the meantime, the organ community in Montreal was invited to meet the newborn instrument, standing tall in the middle of the shop, amongst material and working tables, its façade pipes wrapped up, and the bench protected by a towel that had been taped around it, lest the behinds of the Montreal community leave marks on the pristine jewel.
There is something surreal about playing a large pipe organ in a workshop. (Alright, that one is considered medium-sized, but still...) We are used to seeing pipe organs in churches, not manufactures. But these are made somewhere, and the life of all pipe organs begins that way, in a shop.
It was just like a baby shower with no gifts. Everyone gathered around the new baby, drinks, snacks, children running around, music, conversations and fun. We all took turns playing the organ. I had not prepared anything, so I just played around, improvising—bare foot because I had not brought my organ shoes with me.
Matthieu and I have virtually nothing to obtain from the firm, so we say it because we think it: Juget-Sinclair's pipe organs are some of the finest instruments we have played. Beautifully voiced, with a superbe, agreeable traction and touch on the keyboard, they feel comfortable to play quite rapidly. Organs are not standard instruments, but Juget-Sinclair tends to follow the American Guild of Organists' standards to set the dimensions, the distances and the size of the console, so it makes the organist's adaptation much easier. Their organs are easy to love and a joy to play. It is a great quality in organ building.
This is one of the perks of living in the great cultural area of Montreal. Being able to come to the showcase of a new creation, and share in its coming into the world. Other perks include congratulations from our colleagues as Matthieu's CD received a good review in the Choir and Organ magazine. We had no idea. We did not even know there had been a review!