Paul Kealy is the sixteenth inductee to the Walnut Hill Wall of Fame.
He is a member of the Walnut Hill VTPO and Theatre Organ SoundFonts groups on Yahoo!. Paul describes his setup with accompanying pictures below. We quote him directly:
In my Mighty MidiTzer installation shown below, Bruce Miles' SoundFonts are installed.
Pual Kealy's Mighty MidiTzer installation
as viewed from the right side looking left
My hybrid console is built around a Baldwin C-305 MIDI classic 2 manual, 32-pedal AGO organ.
Setup assignment is very simple in the MidiTzer software by clicking on the yellow logos button in
upper left-hand corner of the screen.
Sitting atop the console are two MIDI keyboards cannibalized from original cases I designed into a staggered stack for easier ergonomic fit to play easily as seen in the picture above.
I had been converting a completely disemboweled Wurli 950-TA horseshoe console into a 3-manual MidiTzer for my keyboards to move into and inhabit.
The keyboards fit ... but not the additional stops Esquire James Henry created for his new 3 manual MidiTzer software, doubling the existing ranks of the Style 216 2/10 instrument to emulate more than even the actual Mighty WurliTzer 260 Special and the Balaban 4 combined.
The latest joy I am having is retrofitting a larger vintage Conn 650 console shell, with essential deck real estate for three manuals in addition to other needed MIDI triggering retrofits.
Rather than attempting to MIDI-fy the existing keys, I installed existing MIDI keyboards – found to be quick and easy!
Most MIDI keyboards have too many knobs and switches (for gimmicky sounds and rhythms) to nestle together easily, so I used simpler MIDI keyboards
without all those switches. All I need here is the MIDI controllers with assignable output.
By liberating these keyboards from their cases and stripping the non-essential items to create a more compact staggered stack, I now have these MIDI controllers ready for MidiTzer performances. – just plug and play!
Paul proudly displays the MidiTzer badge
on his elaborate setup.
Unique playing technique requires some adjusting, as the MIDI keyboards are velocity-pressure-sensitive, while the Baldwin MIDI Swell and Great are not. It's sorta like gliding over Hammond keys and pounding a tracker or piano at the same time, heh!
Newly returned to serious organ playing after years of neglect, I want to have a pipe organ like Lorin Whitney built, and this is the first step.
It works as an awesome wrap-around surround performance that sounds quite authentic.
It helps that Bruce Miles avoided the temptation to add echoey reverb when he created the SoundFonts used in the Mighty MidiTzer. They are sonically as dry as an organ chamber should be. I can flavor my acoustic room ambience preferences myself through the Creative Audio HQ's Echo/Reverberation Effects dialog box on my computer.
Before I define my four-manual technique, let me complete the "top"ography of the organ "top":
Centered on the roll-top console sits these two MIDI keyboards, aligned in precision directly above the keys of the existing Baldwin manuals. Although above the rocker style stop tablets, they are not out of comfortable reach for hours of playing, because I cantilevered them closer to me on a sturdy shelf
(as also I did with the music rack for easy reading.)
With all those unit orchestra sounds calling to be set free, I do have a tendency to pop back and forth amongst the keyboards, adding a variety of faux sounds to the melody (the conductor in me...) and misaligned note placement causes my fingers to take your ears on a trip you don't want to travel, so I made dead-bang certain the C’s were aligned in the installation!
To the right of this top MIDI keyboard stack is the monitor displaying Esquire James' Mighty MidiTzer, with a tiny computer qwerty keyboard just below, adjacent to the lower of the two MIDI keyboards.
The mouse (to select the MidiTzer stops) dwells within the console, adjacent to the Great manual until I figure out a way to install a tab stop trigger system retrofit. Some folks utilize a touch screen, but I prefer to eventually create a MIDI box of some sort.
To the left of this top MIDI keyboard stack is a video monitor, framed by a miniature theatre proscenium that displays, – you guessed it, silent films to accompany as they are "screened."
Since I am a symmetrical kind of guy, until the day I can create MIDI triggers for a row of actual centered tab stops in a horseshoe spread, I need to balance the MidiTzer screen on the right with something corresponding on the left. (Placing a candelabrum like Liberace did is NOT me.)
So bring on flickering DW Griffith and America's Sweetheart, and let me give them music to live by, or Wings as pictured above. (I can even conclude my performances with MIDI applause - heh!)
I framed this video screen with reproduction of the Chicago Rialto proscenium, cutting a hole in place of the theatrical curtain the size of the video screen, and mounted the video monitor within it.
Paul Kealy's MitiTzer installation.
I have available a 9 x 13-foot screen with a video projector for PowerPoint which I use during teaching seminars, but neither my ego nor my playing skills are THAT intense here so this video monitor size is right, and it balances the MidiTzer screen on the right.
Between them resides a music rack-on-a-boom I recreated to position MIDI keyboards on top.
Here is a map of the manuals, themselves, from bottom to top and how I configured them:
On the floor are 32 pedals, then the bottom Great and the Swell above it which produce a straight classic sound through the Baldwin speaker system. Period. No change there, no harm, no foul. BUT, in addition it's a -
All three of these, Pedals, Great and Swell, can also import MidiTzer ranks via three MIDI Baldwin reversibles. Whatever I select on the MidiTzer monitor screen is the engine that drives this Theatre Organ.
All those screen registrations appear on the Baldwin:
Now I can play a straight Theatre Organ or I can switch off MIDI and play straight Classic or I can mix and match amongst the two.
Other than a chiff on some of the imbedded Baldwin stops, a Chimney Flute and a Gedeckt, and also a couple of 32-foot pedal stops to die for, I prefer Bruce's SoundFonts over the Baldwin.
However, In addition to this, on top the console are my additional MIDI keyboards that play as two separate organs. They each have their own discrete playback loudspeaker systems driven by signals from the computer soundcard output.
The lower of these two keyboards performs exclusively as the MidiTzer Solo keyboard signal running
either the two or three-manual MidiTzer vesrions.
On the Style 216 MidiTzer software, this manual duplicates the Solo manual. Whatever registrations
are set to appear on the MidiTzer monitor screen as Solo stops play on this MIDI keyboard, in addition to the Baldwin's Swell manual via MIDI.
Although both keyboards receive identical MidiTzer solo tab registrations, remember that the Baldwin Swell manual can selectively blend any or all Baldwin stops with those displayed on the MidiTzer Solo stops, duplicated on the MIDI keyboard on top. The output of the topmost MIDI keyboard on the console sends MidiTzer solo registrations through a distinctly separate stereo amplification and speaker system.
Now the topmost of the two MIDI keyboards resting above the manuals of the Baldwin is not connected to the MidiTzer or the Baldwin. It drives a completely separate organ with its own stereo playback system. It powers a Roland Sound Canvas MIDI module, capable of generating any choice of 128 different MIDI orchestral instruments.
It is limited to the typical MIDI one-at-a-time voice selection we were all limited to before Esquire James and Crew Glasjev invented the MidiTzer.
These are not recreations of actual organ stops. Instead, they sound like orchestral instruments. The Clarinet is not an organ clarinet, but rather a genuine acoustic sound. The Cello sounds good for the piece Lloyd-Webber wrote for his brother as Cello/keyboard performances. The Acoustic and Electric Guitar voices sound real.
The module's Trumpet voice is great for trumpet fanfare, violin obbligato or brass ensemble, vibes, percussion, even choral "oohs" and "aahs", or an orchestra hit if you want to play the Bernstein Marlborough jingle.
From this top Antiphonal/EnChamade (Sound Canvas) keyboard, I can selectively add GM sounds, brass fanfare, faux bourdon for choral accompaniment, or whatever... although the extended purpose is eventually to install a true pipe antiphonal and enChamade rank playable from this keyboard.
I gotta face some facts. I never outgrew my fascination with Disney's Tiki Hut as a kid, and I've got speakers all over the place playing different organs in synch with each other. It's more like hearing the West Point multiple organ chamber installation or the famed Wanamaker Organ.
Because the Alesis echo generator installed on the Baldwin system is different from echo configured on either of the two soundcards in my computer for the MidiTzer on the Swell and the MIDI keyboard above it, the spatial perception enhances the environment.
My true passion is more in the spirit of the Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra than pure organ, and the MidiTzer,
combined with classic/baroque pf the Baldwin and the Roland MIDI Sound Canvas module gives me a virtual something until my actual pipe installation becomes a reality.
This replicated organ gives me an opportunity to experience sounds that otherwise would be limited to those who access cathedral instruments or the diminishing number of movie palace pipe organ installations.
Performing on this hybrid is unique, but lots of fun.
In my pursuit of a portable unit orchestra sound I love to experiment with the full spectrum potential of this hybrid organ.
My music varies pretty far from cinema’s golden age to express a more orchestral repertoire of classics, gospel/hymns, pop, lounge lizard, (heck,
elevator music even!) - all the kinds of music people whistle while walking down the street (... RAP? NAWT!)
If I run out of fun pop orchestral things to do, I simply retire the MIDI tabs and let Bach play, or visit a Gypsy campfire with Liszt or Brahms.
Recently a friend asked why I love the MidiTzer and I replied,
"One thing I love about conducting orchestra and now more recently, discovering what a wonderful orchestra a symphonic organ can be, is that my repertoire can be an exciting eclectic array of Bach and Bacharach, Buxtehude and Beatles, Brahams and Berlin, Bizet and Bernstein."
And that's what I'm doing with my MidiTzer. . .
I showed you mine, now you show me yours!
Paul Kealy and his Zoomer!
Getting inducted to the Wall of Fame is easy!
Who doesn't want recognition for their efforts with the Mighty MidiTzer? Now, you can get noticed on the Walnut Hill Wall of Fame! Folks will see your pictures and be able to go directly to your site by clicking on them. We hope to see many more inductees here in the days ahead as folks step out with their Mighty MidiTzers. So... Dust off those cameras and get snappin'. Also, if you have recordings or any other content you want featured, we can put those here as well.
Email The Bone Doctor to find out how you can be among the ranks of those who are pioneering this Mighty Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ. Join TOSF and Walnut Hill VTPO and make your intentions known to all the folks in VTPO land. We are always glad to recognize those who make the TPO kingdom a better place!