Subscribe to our mailing list to get news, specials and updates:     Name: Email:

Jerry Newbury's Unique Hauptwerk Solution for the Blind or Low Vision Organist

2015-01-19 - Setup Gallery

Jerry is blind. However, he's also a retired professional who is used to getting things done. 

So when we started talking about building a Hauptwerk instrument using our MIDIWorks products, we started with "how" rather than "if" it could be done. 

He, along with organ tech Dominick (Nick) Orso, have done a fantastic job.

Jerry started with a compact console because he had some spatial constraints. He and Dominick added toe studs that plugged into the pedalboard. 

Since touchscreens aren't a whole lot of use to Jerry, They went with Novation Launchpad S 64-Button Controllers and built racks that would hold them in place like touch screens. This allowed him to put braille on the switches and use like regular stop jambs.

Notice the fantastic drawers they built to house keyboards and other controllers needed for the special computer provided by who specializes in PCs for blind musicians.

These drawers hold the wireless computer keyboard on the left, and several small devices on the right, including wireless off/on switches for the organ transformers, monitor and small loudspeakers for his Jaws screen access program for the blind.

He also has a removable shelf that he can use for reading braille scores with his left hand while he's using he right hand and feet on the manuals and pedals. This is Jerry's unique invention.

I always like a good product "hack"! Jerry and Nick have done a great job of taking some basic products and customizing them by fabricating some new, innovative parts.

If you're in the Portland Maine area and need help installing MIDIWorks products or if you need some fine wood work done, contact Nick Orso Organ Service at (207) 774-2702 or find him on our organ tech locator in the Meet & Greet. 

For more info on the keyboards, pedalboard, swell shoes, and wood products used, please visit


cmmarker (2015-09-13) Log in to Reply
I'd like to give a hearty endorsement for Nick Orso. Years ago, when no one else could fix a recurring problem with dirty key contacts on the Allen organ at the church where I played for many years, I called Nick. Instead of simply cleaning the key contacts and calling it a day as others had done, Nick figured out that the dust was coming from the felt lining of the roll top. He installed a plastic shield that prevented the felt dust from settling on the key contacts, solving the problem for good. If I ever had a HW problem that I couldn't resolve on my own, I would call Nick in an instant. And as someone with less than perfect vision, I find this solution fascinating!
You must Sign up or to comment.

Subscribe to get the latest articles and updates!