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Wait! Don't throw out those old organ shoes! Take a photo first. We want to see those raunchy, disgusting organ shoes that you wore into the ground. Email an electronic image as an attachment to BACHmaster@BACHorgan.com or email us for an address to mail in a photo.


Inducted: Shoes of Marilyn Rabbai

"What a cool idea! These are the organ shoes I’ve been wearing since 1981. That was the year I began playing the organ at First Presbyterian Church of Pitman, NJ. We have a wonderful new pipe organ now, so I broke down and ordered a new pair of shoes. Thanks for giving me a chance to display these before they get tossed!"
– Marilyn Rabbai

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Inducted: Shoes of Ron Morgan

"For your Raunchy Organ Shoe Hall of Fame. Being retired after 20+ years of service in Ohio, having just moved to Florida, where the climate obviously doesn’t agree with them."
– Ron Morgan

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Inducted: Shoes of Jane Agresta

BACHorgan.com continues to celebrate Magic Slippers that have given their all. The newest addition to the Organ Shoes Hall of Fame is a pair of organ shoes belonging to organist Jane Agresta. Jane, who studied at Julliard, is now head organist at Saint William the Abbot church in Seaford, Long Island, NY. Word has it that her daughter went on line and bought her a new pair of shoes for Christmas so after years of dedicated service, the shoes pictured are currently enjoying retirement in the choir loft. Congratulations, Jane, on a pair of organ shoes well worn!

My Idea About Shoes

"Here's my idea about shoes--I use a pair of dancing shoes, which are little more than leather covered socks--and I hate to tie them so I got some elastic thread--really rubberband material with a black thread cover--and tie them once, and they hold just tightly enough to hold together, but I can slip them on easily--as the material expands."

- Mark Nelson
Mus Dir, pro tem
St. John's, Gloucester, Mass., USA

BACHorgan.com 1ST ANNUAL "ODE TO ORGAN SHOES" POETRY CONTEST

In the end, five submissions were received for the 1st Annual "Ode to Organ Shoes" Poetry Contest and posted to this page. The submissions were then voted on by the BACHorgan.com community and are now listed below in the order in which prizes were awarded. It was a landslide victory for David Setchell, our Grand Prize winner, with 72.3% of the votes. He will receive a gift certificate for a free pair of Organmaster Organ Shoes. Second prize goes to Ward Gianella, with 11.2% of the votes. Believe it or not, the remaining three entries received an equal number of votes for a three-way tie for Third Prize, each garnering 5.5%. How appropriate for this day and age that everyone ended up a winner; so free BACHorgan.com T-shirts all around! And because this was our first big contest, one lucky voter, Jim Gladstone, will also receive a BACHorgan.com T-shirt and a gift certificate for a free pair of Organmaster Organ Shoes. Congratulations to everyone!

Organ Shoes
Everything you'd ever want to know about organ shoes courtesy of Brigham Young University.

FIRST AND GRAND PRIZE (Entry #4):


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Oh Rancid Flaps of Ancient Suede
by David Setchell

Oh rancid flaps of ancient suede,
With groovèd soles and heels arrayed,
'Tis time to pen a eulogy
About your organ shoe-logy.

You've heeled and toed your fetid way
Through every piece I've dared to play,
With never a grumble, moan or whine
About a tricky fugal line.

Through hymns galore my feet have ploughed -
The bass part ringing clear and loud:
And with malodorous precision,
You have controlled my Swell division.

With registration too your part
You've played; and what a subtle art
It is, to cause the feet to jive
Between the pistons, one to five.

Attuned to Widor, used to Bach -
Through every age you've made your mark:
Chorale by Franck or one of Handel's -
You are no ordinary sandals.

You've been an aromatic play-link
Between the hands and feet in Sweelinck.
And though your age could well be Tudor
You've never shirked at Buxtehude.

You've danced through Brahms, you've flown through Liszt,
Of Mendelssohn you've got the gist:
And though you're old and worn and smelly -
You've Sortied out Lefebure-Wely.

Complete these praises now I must
To my old shoes, so rank, so just:
You have your eyes, your tongue, your sole, my dears -
It grieves me that you have no ears.

SECOND PRIZE (Entry #1):

Ode to Organ Shoes
by Ward Gianella

I think that I shall never use
Such lively vestments as my shoes.

Not walking, working, wandering
But playing, pausing, pondering

What next note may be sounded next
What underlies the strong hymn's text.

Should I look down and see them there
It almost seems it's not quite fair

That hands should get all of the praise
When shoes are what the maestro plays.

Oh well that's life, in shape and size
I'll send this in and win a prize.

THIRD PRIZE #1 (Entry #2):

Ode to Organ Shoes
(To the tune of "Somewhere, Over the Rainbow")
by Dorry Shaddock

I love playing the pedals,
For I choose
Only th'finest of footwear:
My Organmaster shoes.

They're form and function's perfect blend!
That I am Bach, I can pretend
        while in 'em;
When my feet wear the proper gear,
Then I of contests have no fear --
        I just might
                win 'em!

I was trained in Capezios --
Many were.
Now I know those were sleazios:
It's clear what I prefer.

They're all you need to set you free
>From all performance misery --
        you'll love them!
I recommend you buy a pair
And join the ranks of those who swear --
        there're plenty
                of 'em --

Take my purse and my treasure --
Child or wife;
My shoes gave the most pleasure
During my earthly life.

THIRD PRIZE #2 (Entry #3):

A Tribute to My Organ Shoes
by Susan Burkhalter

Sparkly organ shoes, how I do love thee,
Thou keepest my feet on the keys.
Feet that dance amaze the people,
feet as busy as bees!

The first shoes I wore were big red flats,
they suited my long, narrow feet.
Long feet like mine can reach more keys,
I wore red shoes as in the "Wizard of Oz" to zoom with ease.

Now came my "Glamorous Star" shoes, they were sparkling silver.
Men's shoes are more comfortable, wearing them my feet slither,
along black pedals heel and toe,
Everybody watch them go!

The silver shoes I wore in the 80's imitated those of Diane Bish
and to be an organ virtuoso was my greatest wish,
I bought silver shoe polish to renew their shine,
at an organ demonstration the kindergarteners who tried them on thought they were fine!

My male organ teachers found the scuffed silver shoes distasteful,
"Get black ones," they suggested, "For professionals they're less dull."
To the dancing store I sped and to men's stage movement shoes was led.
The leather heels of these were built up at a shoe repair place,
And ever since, when I play organ in them I almost feel I could levitate!

THIRD PRIZE #3 (Entry #5):

Organ Shoe Haiku
by Joann Richardson

Dancing in my shoes
Nature's music comes alive
Singing through my feet

An Amusing Organ Shoe Anecdote

"I just went onto the web page and viewed the poetry and the appealing photos of your old organ shoes. Seeing those shoes reminds me of the time in the 1970's when I was studying organ with Ronald Stalford, former Organist-Choirmaster at an Episcopal church in Georgetown (in DC). Well, he had some real ugly old large dusty brown organ shoes on his desk. Once for a joke, I took one of the shoes and mailed it to him (he lived near the church). Later on he asked, 'Why did you mail me my shoe?!'"

- Susan Burkhalter

I bought these shoes in the summer of 1981. I can still remember the day they arrived in the mail. A bit snug. I didn't replace them until 1996. I was so proud of them that I used to keep them on display in my church office, but after a while even I couldn't stand to look at them. Still, they don't compare to the shoes worn by my college organ professor, Garth Peacock. I wish I had a picture of them. They looked like the backs had been blown out with dynamite!
-Dan Long, New York, NY

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