A Bit About Me: The pipe organ became a major part of my life around the age of twelve, when an organ recital by Virgil Fox in Toronto convinced me that this was the instrument I must learn to play. It all began with reading every book on the subject I could find in the school and public libraries as well as well, of course, as finding periodicals like ‘The Diapason,’ and ‘The Organ.’ My own funds ran to a subscription to the former, while a generous aunt living in Wales sent me a subscription to the prestigious British journal. While in Grade Seven, I began taking lessons on the fine old Ryder – Breckels and Mathews organ at St. Stephen in the Fields Church in Toronto and later on the three-manual Casavant at St. Clement’s, Eglinton in the same city. It was not just the sound of the instrument and playing it that excited me, but the mechanics of the pipe organ were fascinating. More reading and research, hanging around when the organ technician was there, and finally working part time for an organ builder.
My academic career took me to university in England, and there I had the good fortune of studying at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Philbeach Gardens, London, where a large Compton four-manual rebuild of an earlier Hunter organ was at my disposal. During this period I managed to build a small tracker organ in the school where I had started teaching, using used parts from an elderly Walker organ that was being dismantled after the Church in which it had stood for many years was deconsecrated and closed. This was made possible by Noel Mander who was looking after the instrument for the Church Commissioners. One of the highlights of my life was meeting Noel Mander and visiting his St. Peter’s Organ works where fascinating projects were under way. The organ from Addlington Hall was there under reconstruction and restoration, and the shop was also working on an historic tracker for the Chapel in Buckingham Palace…fascinating!
On returning to Canada with degrees in History and English, I pursued a career in the teaching profession, with a parallel secondary interest in the organ, both as a player and builder/technician. In the fullness of time it was possible to leave the academic world early, and pursue my interest in pipe organs and writing, two areas which continue to absorb my time. In addition to pipe organs and writing, sailing is a passion through which the little journal. Tall Ship Canada has come about. http://www.tallshipcanada.homestead.com/Ross.html
My home is in Wellington, Ontario, Canada, a small village in Prince Edward County, on the shores of Lake Ontario.
A Bit About I. Ross Trant Pipe and Reed Organ Service:This is the little business which has grown out of my early interest in the King of Instruments. It began with taking on the maintenance of the organ in a Church where I was playing. From there it grew, rather haphazardly, into something fairly large.
Being a small operation, in spite of what I just said, except for building a couple of small instruments, the firm has primarily looked after the tuning and maintenance of existing pipe organs. Along the way I added the reed or ‘pump’ organ to the realm of interesting instruments, and have serviced and restored a number of interesting harmoniums.
Two major projects with pipe organs are now in hand. One involves using part of a very large Hutchings organ from Pittsburgh to provide a sizable instrument for a Church in Vermont. The Church had purchased the Pittsburgh instrument, not realizing how many pipes were involved. Discovering the 700-seat Vermont Church did not match the 3,000 person capacity of the Pittsburgh Church, it was decided to sell much of the pipework and some wind chests, etc. Luckily the Great, Swell and Pedal were kept intact, while the pipes and chests for the Choir, Positiv, Solo and Antiphonal were disposed of…leaving the little Vermont Church with materials for a two manual and pedal instrument of 54 stops and 64 ranks. Work continues on this undertaking. Provision is being made in the plans for a ‘new’ three-manual console to be provided by Temple Organs of St. Joseph, MI, with an electronic control system by Artisan-Classic of Markham, Ontario, Canada. The story of this organ’s arrival in Vermont is rather amusing, and says a good deal about the old adage about ‘a little knowledge being a dangerous thing!’
The other interesting current project involves the organ at St. Stephen -in-the – Fields, Toronto. This exciting instrument by Ryder, rebuilt by Breckels and Mathews and others, has fallen on evil days and had become almost unplayable. Here the project is to try and raise the required funds for restoration, and in the meantime make the organ reasonably usable. The final step will be all new chests and action, using the Ryder pipes and others that have been added over the years. When I became involved, the organ was unplayable. Dust and dirt inches deep filled all available space and covered every flat surface. Many pipes were so filled with dust that they had become unplayable. Today much of the organ can now be used, but only with great care. Frequent ‘runnings’ in cables and split wind chests plague the organist. The entire Choir division, pipes and chest, is missing. Many pedal pipes are missing…to name a few problems. When we reach the final stages, we hope to involve Temple Organs once again…this will be their first foray into Canada.
Services Provided: Consultation, design, tuning and maintenance of pipe and reed organs.
By email, firstname.lastname@example.org
By snail mail: P.O. Box 394, Wellington, ON, CA, K0K 3L0.
Telephone:  399-2476