May 232009

(continued from Part 4)

Now that I had decided to start at square one with the Minimoog Voyager, the synth whose analog circuits have a touch of magic about them that gives it a rich sound full of character, the only question was when would the purchase make sense. And after the trials and tribulations I recapped in Part 3, even my wife understood. So after we’d gotten our tax refund and things had settled down a bit, I proceeded to purchase a Minimoog Voyager for myself in the Summer of 2005.

At the time, there were a few different choices/options available for the Voyager, and I wanted something special if I could find it. As I mentioned before, I am very fortunate to work for a dealer that sells music gear, so I contacted someone at Moog Music who I regularly dealt with. I asked if, by chance, there were any interesting or non-standard wood cases that they had in the shop (the case, or the base, of the Voyager is made of wood, just as it was on original Minimoogs). I was told that they did have a few things, and I got a price quote so I could proceed with my purchase. I settled into the sweet anticipation of my pending arrival.

In July of that year, I learned of a startling development – Bob Moog had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Moog Music had released an announcement, and Bob’s family, recognizing that Bob had countless friends and associates, had begun posting updates at CaringBridge. It was troubling, unthinkable news to say the least. Even with an overwhelming (and growing) flood of activity at CaringBridge, the family kept the updates open to everyone at Bob’s request. Throughout July, they posted updates that included countless thank yous to supporters along with progress reports on Bob’s medical treatment and how he was doing. Sadly, on August 9th they reported that a new MRI had shown that the radiation/chemo treatment hadn’t done anything to shrink the tumor.

On August 19, my Voyager arrived. You’d think that I’d stop everything and rip it open like a kid on Christmas morning, but when I buy something, I really love to savor the experience of unpacking it, unwrapping it, seeing and feeling it for the first time. The middle of a workday isn’t really conducive to that, so the box sat, unopened. That very same day, Bob’s family wrote the last CaringBridge post that would be written while Bob was still alive, and two days later, Dr. Robert Moog died at the age of 71.

Between my heavy heart over Bob’s passing and the personal and musical significance of the very special and long-anticipated instrument that sat in front of me in its unopened box, it was with utmost reverence that I began slowly and carefully cutting through the packing tape when the time had come to unpack the Minimoog Voyager. I opened the end of the outer carton and slid out the inner carton, then slowly lifted off the carton lid. There, within a protective clear plastic sleeve and buffered on either end with foam packing ears, was a gorgeous new Minimoog Voyager. I paused, then lifted the keyboard out of the box, took the foam pieces off, and carefully slid off the plastic sleeve.

And right there, on the top of the wood case, just above the keyboard on the left side, was Bob Moog’s signature.

I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me and time stopped for a moment. With tears in my eyes, I took several (well, probably more than several) deep breaths before taking the twist-tie off the power cord, connecting it to the Voyager, then plugging it into the wall. I then connected the Voyager to a powered speaker, clicked the power switch on, and watched my Minimoog Voyager light up for the first time.

And, as expected, when I played the first note, Bob’s circuits did their jobs as magically as ever – and they still do today, the day that would have been Bob’s 75th birthday. Thank you, Dr. Robert Moog, for your wonderful ideas and instruments, and all they’ve brought to my life and the rest of the world.

“Moog Lives. Play On.”

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