December 3, 2003
Vol. III, No. 34
Today, The American Organist magazine changed my life. Inside the December issue was a letter to the editor about postludes. The author of the letter was saying how organists take themselves and their postludes too seriously and how it's natural for people to talk during the postlude, how the postlude isn't a recital and how it's not technically part of the service anyway. I thought about that for a while and then I suddenly realized that the author was absolutely right. I immediately drove over to the church to share my light bulb moment with the pastor. After reading the letter, he was just as excited as I was. Here, after all those years of us butting heads over the postlude, was the answer. We immediately hatched a plan. P.S. My new organ shoes arrived today.
Today is the one-month anniversary of Operation pp-ostlude. The pastor and I call it that because for the past month I've been playing pianissimo postludes. Finally I can hear what people have been talking about all this time. Heck, now even I can talk during the postlude. Since no one's really paying any attention, I haven't bothered playing anything too difficult lately. It's not like it's a recital after all. Things are going so well that the pastor is considering Operation pp-relude so that people have even more time to "fellowship." P.S. I have to remember to get my new organ shoes out of the box and break them in.
Another month has gone by and my church job is going really well. Everyone seems much happier now that they don't have to yell above my postlude and I have a lot more free time (less practicing). Speaking of which, we've replaced the prelude with a coffee time. When it's time for the service, we just go into the church, take our seats and I start the first hymn. Some people squawked at first but we told them to lighten up. They agreed to go along after we explained that the prelude isn't technically part of the service. Oh, and we don't have a postlude at all anymore. Now I'm first in line to greet the pastor after church. Lucky me!
Diary, I don't know who I thought I was, expecting people to sit and listen or even stay quiet while I was playing my postlude. How inconsiderate could I have been to have such unreasonable expectations of people? Why, it goes against human nature! The only people who seemed to mind skipping the postlude were the people who used to sit and listen to the postlude. At first, they just grumbled about being bored during Operation pp-ostlude but then they finally left. I said Good riddance! How dare they have such high expectations of me! I heard they now attend the church down the block. The organist there still plays postludes. What a maroon! P.S. I don't think I'll be needing those new organ shoes. As little as I play, it looks like the old ones will last me. I should probably return the new ones.
Sorry I haven't written in a while. It's funny how life is. One minute you're on easy street and the next minute you're, well, they figured they didn't really need me down at the church. It was true, I hadn't played a prelude or postlude for the past couple of months and then that parishioner volunteered to play the hymns on guitar. Oh, don't worry, I'm still working. It's kind of ironic where I ended up because back in the days when I was fighting to have my postlude heard above all the talking, I used to say, "The only thing missing from the postlude is the tinkling of cocktail glasses!" Now that's all I hear. Once in a while, someone from the church shows up and slips a little something into my tip jar. They tell me the church has switched over to a contemporary worship format and the organ was removed to make room for the praise band. I should pick up a Penny Saver. Maybe I could trade in those organ shoes for an electric keyboard and start my own band. Nah, on second thought, I'm comfortable here; too much change isn't good. This place may smell but at least there aren't many expectations. (hiccup)
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Choosing an Organ:
It's been a long time since I found something worthy for this page. Finally, I found "The Big Debate - Pipe Organ or Electronic?" on the website of WJ Simon Pierce, an Australian organ builder. "There is always the question as to what is the difference between a pipe organ and an electronic organ. Is an electronic organ simply cheaper than a pipe organ but capable of producing the same sounds and doing the same work? I am often asked whether it is good stewardship to spend money on a pipe organ. This is not a case of denigrating electronic organs but trying to achieve a realistic comparison between the two." Click link below for more.
Also, if anyone is in touch with Ryan Hostler or if he is reading this, please contact me so that, if possible, I can refresh the link to his web page. Thanks!
Added is "To fill with wonder" from The Christian Science Journal. "With few exceptions, as Christians enter their churches for worship and as they leave at the conclusion of the service, they will hear music being played from the organ or piano. The practice of using musical instruments in the worship of God, however, predated the Christian era. It is recorded in the Bible that the purpose of the music was "to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord." This was music with a purpose." Click link below for more.
Have a great week!
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