Pringles Pipe Organ

This repost from is clear evidence that some people have too much time on their hands…

It’s not every day that one finds oneself in the presence of both an apocalyptic piano and a working pipe organ made entirely out of Pringles® potato crisps cans. But that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Brooklyn studio where mixed-media artist collective, Fall On Your Sword (FOYS), took on the challenge of using the cans to create works of art with hot glue guns blazing.
Will Bates (cofounder of Fall On Your Sword), Sarah Bereza (an artist and the self-proclaimed “catchall for anything visual” at FOYS), and Ryan Price (the resident audio post mixer) discussed the creative process behind their final masterpiece: a massive pipe organ that will be displayed and played at Gawker’s fourth annual Silent Disco in New York City. Because the best part is, it actually works. Guests will be able to play duets and jam out on this instrumental work of art during the event.

A Working Work of Art

Apparently, a functional pipe organ is the obvious artistic choice when deciding what to make out of the cans. “It happened in about a minute I think. One of us just said ‘we should make an organ!'” As Sarah put it, “we were sort of like, duh. The shapes just sort of make sense.”

Raw Materials in Three Flavors

Sarah was tasked with building the physical organ, which she created with the help of an iPad sketch and many boxes of Original, Sour Cream and Onion, and new Tortilla Pringles® potato crisps cans. “It kind of felt like back when I was a kid, building a fort or stacking blocks. The canisters are just asking to be glued together and cut at angles.” Deciding to let the cans shine in all their classic glory was easy: “I toyed with the idea of painting the cans, but there’s something Warholian about seeing all the guys with their little mustaches, so I wanted to do something with a pop art feeling. And that’s why I used more of the red cans in the end. They’re so iconic.”

Yes, You Can Actually
Play the Pringles Organ

FOYS is known for its interactive pieces, or, as Will describes them, “art that reacts like a musical instrument.” Will and Ryan built ten keys below the organ’s pipes by connecting the cans to springs. Pushing a key triggers a tone, causing air generated by hidden fans within the tubes to flow out of the pipes at the top of the organ. “We want the piece to feel like a real instrument, so the tones will be based on manipulated recordings of organ tones and resonances played through the cans themselves. Participants can make up their own tune, and have their own unique experience with the piece.”

You Don’t Just Eat ‘Em…
But Sometimes You Do

Building a giant organ out of Pringles® potato crisps cans is hard work, so a fair amount of crisps (“you really don’t want to count,” Sarah admitted) were used as creative fuel for hungry artists. “I was just sitting on the floor, going for it. I was into the Original flavor because they’re nostalgic for me,” Sarah recalls.

FOYS had a plan to avoid wasting the six garbage bags full of uneaten crisps: “We kept a bunch of the crisps on hand so that we could record the sound of the crisps rustling. This recording will be processed and serve as a percussive accompaniment to the organ tone.”

Seriously, I think it’s an amazing project, put together by some very creative and talented individuals. Wish I could see it in person. Way to go!

Washington SALSA: Linda Wells

SALSA—Society of Awesome Latter-day Saint Accompanists

Linda Wells from Longview Washington loves playing the organ. So far in her 63 years of life she has served as organist in three different wards. And that’s fine, but more would be even better because, as she says, “Ward Organist is my favorite calling.”

Take a moment to get acquainted with Linda, our newest member of the Society of Awesome Latter-day Saint Accompanists, then go to Questionnaire and tell us your story!

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Linda Wells—Washington

What was the first musical calling you received? When I was still in high school, I was called to be the pianist in Primary. (Primary was during the weekdays back then.) I was very nervous and hadn’t taken piano lessons, only organ. I made it through however.

When did you start playing the organ?  I always wanted to play a musical instrument. My sister and brother were given the chance to play the piano and accordian but they both bombed out. I don’t think my mom and dad wanted to risk the time and money on me. Finally, close to my 15th birthday, my dad said I would get the chance to take organ lessons. My mom and I shared the same birthday. We were getting an organ for our birthdays. I never did figure out if I would get the lower and upper manual. I got to take lessons for three years and I loved the lessons. I dove right in and really enjoyed it. I’m so thankful that my parents let me take lessons.

Do you play any other instruments?  Let’s see. I play AT the piano. I’ll play in Relief Society if the regular pianist is absent. I dabble at the harmonica. I can play a comb with tissue paper on it. I can play the kazoo.

Which instrument do you prefer? I think, yep I know, I prefer the organ.

What is your favorite hymn?  Did You Think to Pray

What is your favorite prelude or postlude piece?  I like to play The Lord is My Shepherd. This is the prelude. For postlude I like to play Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing. I like that one because I can play it by heart.

What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I enjoy playing with my grandchildren and helping out in the kindergarten class where my son teaches and going to movies with my family.

What is one of the challenges you face as an LDS organist? I have never been taught how to use all of the pulls and knobs on the big organ at church to make various sounds. I just play what sounds best to me.

What is one of the blessings you have received through accepting the call to serve as an organist? This is the third ward where I’ve been the organist. I’ve learned how to play for the congregation without getting nervous. I know if I pray before I practice and play on Sundays, I do a much better job. Heavenly Father has called me to this position for a reason and He trusts me to do my best. As long as I try to do my best, He will bless me with more ability. I can only hope and pray that I’ll always be able to play.

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Thanks for introducing yourself to us, Linda!
Are you or someone you know ready to join SALSA? Just go to the SALSA questionnaire, fill it out and submit. No cost, no obligation, no contract and no fine print. Just a wonderful opportunity for lds organists to get acquainted!
btw If you accepted the call to sit on that organ bench, you are awesome!  If you think you’re not, please see The Calling.

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