New Organ in church

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Sun May 09, 2004 10:40 am

Hmmmmmm - now let me think - it's not all that far from here - didn't a certain parish priest decide a few years ago to sell off the console of his church's organ and just leave the pipes? :shock:

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Sun May 09, 2004 10:48 am

Hmmmmm - and then there's the parish that has decided to leave its large, three-manual pile of decaying spotted metal chimney cans in situ and fill the remainder of the gallery with another pile of decaying spotted metal from a redundant church ....... perhaps the spare console could go to the church that is unfortunately missing one?

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Gwyn
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Post by Gwyn » Sun May 09, 2004 11:49 am

Benevenio wrote:
which is the better model of ministry and Church: one person hidden in the organ loft or collaboration between a group of instrumentalists working, playing, praying together?

Organs, pipe or otherwise, can and do blend beatifully with most if not all combinations of instruments, we must get away from this tired and incorrect belief in exclusivity. I agree however that this may not be true of organists but the same goes for everyone, whether organist, bassoonist, tympanist, egocentric p.p. or whoever.

We as musicians must leave our un-ground axes and personal agenda at the church door.

So you're right, Benevenio, collaboration between a group of instrumentalists is infinitely desirable. :wink:

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Post by SOP » Sun May 09, 2004 3:16 pm

Benevenio wrote:Personally, I could do without the organ in church, much prefering to use instruments and ring the changes ...


Aha - sense at last! There are times when a piano or guitar is more suitable but try telling that to a resident organist!

I had the upsetting experience the week after Easter of the organist saying he would not be there. Fine, the choir do not sing on that Sunday either so the priest approached me and asked me to get together a small music group. As usual, on the last minute. I went away muttering how more notice would have been good but I would do what I could. I gathered together a pianist, 2 guitars and 3 singers. Selected the music bearing in mind the instruments we had. Had a quick practice and all was fine.

Guess what happened? The organist heard about this and turned up on the morning and spooked the little scratch music group. Insisted on playing things and as he was there, we felt we couldn't say no. (I learnt a lot folks!). Needless to say, despite practicing upstairs, something fell apart solely because of the organist playing his own thing. Those playing the guitars were also hurt that their contribution was drowned out and they did not even bother playing for the final hymn. How willing do you think they will be the next time I ask if they are available to play at a Mass?

Why do organists think they are the only ones capable of providing music in church? I have since been taught a little phrase by one of the priests to use next time but I can't put it here as it would read beep beep beep.


Don't misunderstand me: I do appreciate the organ as an instrument. There is something particularly magnificent about the awesome power that is at the fingertips of one player - and to hear the reverberation around an (English) cathedral after a final notes of a rousing recessional can take my breath.


I agree entirely. The organ can be awesome.

Perhaps my rather jaded view of using the organ in liturgy is influenced by a number of poor organists - poor practitioners are deadly on any instrument - or by the feeling that I am being dominated rather than supported in prayer, or by organists' improvisations intruding upon silences...


Now you sound like our pp! Our organist is technically very, very good but he does have an affection for playing Messien. At times his improvisation sounds like the film track from a Hammer House of Horrors film track. Instead of leading us into reflection he has half the church jumping out of their skin and the other half grinning and saying to each other "he's off again!".

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Gwyn
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Post by Gwyn » Sun May 09, 2004 5:15 pm

I'm always saddened when there exists a perception of two opposing forces, organ versus others. We are surely ministers with a vocation to serve God and our fellow worshippers through music and prayer.

I suspect we need to look at ministry and at preparation before we even thing of putting finger to key/plectrum or lip to reed.
so the priest approached me and asked me to get together a small music group
Priests should know better. A little sensitivity perhaps? Had the organ-basher been included in preliminary discussions then I'm sure the end result would have been less an act of alienation, more the beginning of wonderful collaboration - Ointment running down onto Aaron's beard spirings to mind.

End of sanctimonious, trite sub-homily. Anyone watching Children of Abraham on Channel 4 at 8pm tonight? Last one in the series I think. Mega-brill.
Last edited by Gwyn on Sun May 09, 2004 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SOP
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Post by SOP » Sun May 09, 2004 5:48 pm

Priests should know better. A little sensitivity perhaps?


Actually, I did go to the priest afterwards and say that if he had a problem with the organist would he please sort it out with him and not use me!

Had the organ-basher been included in preliminary discussions then I'm sure the end result would have been less an act of alienation, more the beginning of wonderful collaboration - Ointment running down onto Aaron's beard spirings to mind.


Erm, very doubtful! The organist is not the choirmaster, two separate roles. He does not usually say he will not be there on the two Sundays when the choir do not sing. Usually hymns are chosen, perhaps a Mass setting and no music group, no cantor. He definitely said he would not be there so it was assumed that he was going away.

Same organist did not turn up for a regular monthly Friday night service the other night. No apologies, just did not show. He is famous for turning up for weddings 10 minutes after they have started and is also known for calling in an hour before a wedding, saying he is double booked and then going elsewhere!

I find it hard to feel grateful!

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Gwyn
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Post by Gwyn » Sun May 09, 2004 5:54 pm

He does sound a laff-a-minute doesn't he?

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Post by Merseysider » Sun May 09, 2004 8:44 pm

But as I don't have an organist at all can I borrow him please?

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Gwyn
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As I don't have an organist at all can I borrow him please?

Post by Gwyn » Sun May 09, 2004 11:08 pm

I sort of get the feeling that SOP will send him postage paid,, bound and gagged, no return address, around to your place.

Your dilemma - when you've had done with him, what'll you do with him? Think carefully before you answer. If all else fails, get him ordained.

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Sun May 09, 2004 11:10 pm

:shock: ..... but then I can think of one seminary that needs an organist!

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Gwyn
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. . . needs an organist

Post by Gwyn » Sun May 09, 2004 11:15 pm

:lol: Hearty guffaw.

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New organ in church

Post by Andrew » Mon May 10, 2004 5:41 am

Although this thread seems to be getting away from original question, I cannot help feeling that some important points are being missed.

However good it may be to have a music group praying together, what are they (a couple of guitarists, the odd flute, clarinet, whatever, going to do, collaboratively and on the spur of the moment when the tempo of the congregational singing goes awry-faster or slower? An experienced organist, (alone and in their ivory tower) knows what tricks of the trade to bring into play to get things back on course.

Why was the organ originally used in church? It has the power to fill a building with sound, and the sustained tone suitable for accompaniment.

Also, a good organist can think about suitable tempi and start accordingly.
I have heard the following more than once: Priest ends preface...audible stage whisper from music group leader - "ready? :? 1,2,3.go!" Give me agood organist any day

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Post by musicus » Mon May 10, 2004 7:10 am

Andrew is quite right; we have strayed too far from the original topic. Also, it has become less about musical instruments which cannot speak by themselves, and more about musical people who cannot speak for themselves. Therefore, we bid farewell to this topic. Discussion of Andrew's brave first post continues in "Organs and instruments".

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