The Distance Music event at Lake Eola October 25, 2014

The distance organ premiered in 2014 at the well attended “Distance Music at Lake Eola for Seven Train Horns and Brass Choirs” concert in downtown Orlando. Horns were donated by Nathan Airchime, powered by nitrogen (N2) gas through seven radio-controlled, solenoid-actuated poppet valves donated by Parker Hannifin’s Pneumatic Division. Funding came from an $8710 Kickstarter and grants of $2500 from the United Arts of Central Florida and $1000 from the Awesome Foundation. This video explains the design of this concert:

In the 22 acre Lake Eola, seven nitrogen powered train horns pitched C,Eb,F,Gb,Ab,Bb and D were each mounted upon a heavy, pedal-powered, 5 seat fiberglass boat shaped as a swan. They were “played” by on/off commands sent through radio signals broadcast from the shore which emanated from a Logic X sequence on a laptop computer. The homebuilt radio broadcaster and 7 receivers at the train horns used an Xbee-PRO DigiMesh 900 using the 902 to 928MHz (ISM) band. They transmitted data at 87kbps – basically offs and ons, to each horn receiver, which was was coded to respond by sending 12 volts to a coil opening a Parker Hannefin Pneumatics N-Poppet solenoid valve when it is addressed in the serial data. The voice communications between the composer, swan boat captains and conductors was provided by a Lectrosonics T4 rented from Tai Audio in Orlando. The conductors received their own, pre-calculated, separate, recorded audio click from the same LogicX sequence that controlled the train horn data. The north ensemble’s click was 0.985 seconds ahead of the south ensemble in the last movement to allow time for the sound to reach the south-shore audience in order to synchronize with the south choir’s beat.


The Distance Music at Lake Eola SWAN BOAT NAVY

Admiral: Rick Horne

David Nielsen
Horn op
28°32’34.87″N 81°22’26.89″W
Jenn Cabral Captain
Paul Tugwell
28°32’36.07″N 81°22’25.80″W
Lourdes Crosby Horn op
Eric Brook
Horn op
28°32’37.79″N 81°22’25.08″W
Chris Lay Captain
Ben Fitzgerald
28°32’41.56″N 81°22’25.93″W
Patterson Bob Horn op
Bob Walker
Horn op
28°32’37.79″N 81°22’21.44″W
Shea Cloutier-Bisbee Captain
Veit Renn
Horn op
28°32’39.22″N 81°22’20.52″W
Charlie Griffin Captain
Joanna Leck
28°32’40.64”N 81°22’17.78″W
Grace Smith Horn op

Musicians (*Orlando Philharmonic)

Conductors Aaron Lefkowitz
Chad Shoopman Trombones Jeff Thomas *
Alexis Ragazzi
Trumpets Lyman Brodie * Chris Steelman
Benoit Glazer Daniel Suarez
Chris King Daniel Woloshin
Aaron Watson Halrold Van Shaik
Nate Smith
Horns Kathy Thomas *  (K.Thomas also booking admin) Will Fisher
Mark Fischer *
Any DiMarco
Aviel Tomar Tubas Bob Carpenter *
Ben Lieser Alex Carpenter
Emily Judd Drew Pritchard
Katie Rudzik Josh Parsons
Kevin Brooks
Kyle Halpin Percussion John Patton*
Robin Sisk Mark Goldberg *



The speed of sound changes with air temperature. Thus, adjustments would need to be made to the tempo of the entire work to maintain the set placement of the horns. This adjustment would be made by changing the tempo on the Logic sequencer according to the chart below. Not only did the sequencer control the horns, it also sent each conductor their own click track with spoken rehearsal letter cues.

Air temperature tempo changes



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