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Pipe Dreams on the Farm
by Tim Post
January 3, 2000
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0

In the early part of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for wealthy families to have a pipe organ sitting in the parlor. Radio and television eventually replaced music as a family's form of home entertainment, but not everywhere. A western Minnesota farmer has dedicated his life, and a big part of his house, to a pipe organ.

Hear a sampleof Myron Lindeman playing the organ.
MYRON LINDEMAN has a basement room filled with pipes; Not water pipes, not gas pipes - organ pipes.
Lindeman: Thank goodness when they built the house, they built 10-foot ceilings in the basement; that really helps when you build pipe organs because then you have lots of extra height for pipes.
Actually, the basement of this rural Renville County home looks like any other, until Lindeman opens the heavy door that leads to the pipes. About half of the organ's pipes are in this room. There are more two floors above. In all, there are 40 ranks of pipes in this house, that means somewhere in the area of 2,500. It's meant a bit of remodeling.
Lindeman: There used to be a wall over here, but the organ didn't play loud enough because the hole in the floor wasn't very large. So I took my sledgehammer and knocked the wall out and put twice as many pipes down here. And you can see, there's more room for pipes.
MPR: Do you have plans to expand it?
Lindeman: Oh, there's always plans to expand it.
The console - or keyboard - for the organ dominates Myron's living room. He sits on an elevated bench, facing four rows of keys, flanked by dozens of switches that control his wind-powered instrument.

Lindeman pulls a few knobs to properly set up which pipes will play. The base notes vibrate through the wooden floors,,tickling your feet. Higher notes come floating down through the ceiling and the stairway leading to the second floor. This is true surround sound.

Myron has collected pipe organ parts for 25 years. He watches the newspaper for equipment usually being sold by churches. He's been playing since he was a child, and is at a keyboard - either at church or here at home - just about every night.

Myron's family is supportive of his hobby. His teenage daughter helps him tune the pipes periodically, And he says his wife has never told him to ease up on his collection.
Lindeman: No, not really. She really hasn't objected, as long as I keep the pipes in these rooms, it doesn't bother her, she doesn't care; the only thing is she has to go in the kitchen once in a while and shut the door. It gets too loud in here.
When he's not playing or working on his organ, the 55-year-old Lindeman farms 240 acres of corn and soybeans. He says the organ doesn't require much maintenance. Tuning it once in awhile and cleaning dead flies out of the pipes is enough.

Myron doesn't consider himself a musician as much as he is a handyman. He enjoys playing but enjoys building pipe organs even more. Myron's future plans include watching the classifieds for any chance to build on to his pipe organ. He also helps local churches install organs, and occasionally donates the parts they need. Myron won't give up this hobby anytime soon, he's addicted to the work involved and the sound he creates.
Lindeman: I guess it's the sound, you can always pick out a pipe organ versus an electronic organ. It seems like the sound is a real sound. Each pipe is a musical instrument even though it plays on note, I guess it's a live sound.
Renville County's farmer-organist, Myron Lindeman.