David Wallace

President, Wallace & Company

David Wallace is the senior partner of David E. Wallace & Company Pipe Organ Builders of Gorham, Maine. He gained an early appreciation for the pipe organ and musical training in piano and organ from Eleanor Wallace, John Fay and Stewart Shuster. After completing college, a graduate degree, a career as a foreign language translator and an apprenticeship in organ restoration and maintenance, David founded David E. Wallace & Company Pipe Organ Builders as a pipe organ service company in Southern Maine. The company has grown and now specializes in the restoration of historic mechanical action instruments as well as the construction of new mechanical action pipe organs with instruments located across the U.S. and in Europe and Canada. David Wallace and his son Nick have served as curators of the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ since 1981. David first began working with FOKO when he was called to begin the arduous task of bringing the nearly defunct Kotzschmar Organ back to life. David is a member of American Guild of Organists, The American Institute of Organbuilders and the International Society of Organ Builders. He has been a member of the Organ Historical Society for more than 60 years.

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Nick Wallace

Nick Wallace holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance graduating with honors from the University of Southern Maine School of Music. Though he grew up in the organ business, it was after graduating from college that Nick joined Wallace & Co. full time. As the junior partner, Nick now runs many aspects of the business, but focuses on visual and mechanical design, shop production and general project management. Leading Wallace & Co. into a new generation, Nick has expanded the shop’s capability to build new mechanical action organs, alongside the detailed restorations of 19th century tracker organs that Wallace & Co. has built a reputation on for over the last four decades.

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Kotzschmar Organ Maintenance Stories

The Kotzschmar Organ has tens of thousands of moving parts that allow organists to control the pipes and make the music happen. With so many parts, some very tiny, needing to work in perfect synchronicity, rarely, but occasionally, something will get out of sync!

The worst situation is to have a note stick – or continue to play – after the organist releases the keys. When this happens during a concert, the curators spring from their seats in the auditorium and dash to the interior of the organ back stage to resolve the issue. Once during a Christmas with Cornils concert, a note stuck. Fortunately, it was a fairly soft note. We dashed into the organ, quickly found the offending pipe and the cause of its unending sound and prepared the solution all while Mr. Cornils was introducing his next piece. While the audience was applauding as Ray finished his introduction, we switched out the problem part and glued in the new valve. When the applause ended the softly singing note was silent. With the exception of Ray, no one was aware anything had happened.

During a silent movie presentation, James Kennerley was improvising (making it up as he went) the sound track to the movie when one of the loudest pipes in the organ continued to speak. While Nick dashed back to the interior of the organ, James continued his improvisation but based it on the continuing sound of the stuck note until Nick was able to silence it at the appropriate moment in the improvisation. Again, except for James, no one was the wiser.

Years of experience with the Kotzschmar Organ and the design of the Austin Universal Air Chest make quick emergency repairs to the organ while it is being played a quick and easy (most of the time!) thing to do.