The King of Instruments

As you “long time” readers know, much of modern church music is like fruit for dessert to me:  nice try, but it’s just not working.

So, it’s with great pleasure that once a month I am able to depart from that scene and look at this one instead:

organ music

Yes, my friends, one Sunday each month I play organ, the “king of instruments,” at a small church (somewhat) near my house.  It’s a quaint little church where the people all know each other and are friendly. But what really soothes my soul are the strains of Bach and Widor wafting through the air.

My path to the organ was an interesting one.  I took piano lessons from grades 2 to 12.  After college, my mom suggested I take organ lessons because “not many young people are learning to play organ and it’s really going to be in demand.”  So, I took 11 organ lessons before being hired for my first teaching job.  Combined with my piano, it was enough to get me going.

Since that time (now unbelievably 20 years ago), I have practiced weekly at a church near my house that was kind enough to give me permission and a key.  I’ve had the pleasure of playing at numerous churches, and for weddings and funerals as well.

I can’t say I’ve had a lot of demand – unfortunately, my mom’s words were not prophetic.  The past 20 years have seen most non-Catholic/Lutheran churches drop their organs for the ubiquitous “praise band” of guitars, drums, and synthesizers.  Obviously this appeals to many people, but in my book, nothing will ever rival the old masters played on the king of instruments – the organ.

traditional church balcony… the cozy view from the organ bench.

(As a side note, I noticed yesterday that the piece I played for offertory was last played 8/6/44, as noted at the top of the page by another long-ago organist.  How cool is it that the book could even survive that long?)

10 thoughts on “The King of Instruments

  1. I love all that you do and you know, anything to do with faith is BIG in my book. You are so talented Susan and sharing your gift, even if some think it is going out of style, is wonderful. Thank you!

  2. Susan, I’m an Episcopalian, and we still have the organ in our church. It is gorgeous, and I can’t imagine Sunday services without it. I go to the Methodist Church some, and in their contemporary service they have a praise band… but they still have the organ for the main service. I love the organ. I also love the old hymns of the church. My grandmother’s next door neighbor and a close friend of mine is an Episcopalian who plays for the Lutherans. He also does weddings and funerals for friends. Very talented. I love the organ, too.

    Oh, before I forget, the young girl on my blog is my Godchild, Cecelia.


    Sheila 🙂

  3. So that book has survived as long as I, since I was born that year. What is the source of that book?

  4. I can see the ancient music book is open to the beautiful strains of Ave Maria…

    It was my dream that you would play organ where I could hear the music.

  5. I agree!! Our church sings hymns out of *gasp* hymnals and we are accompanied by the organ and piano.

    As a church body, we are memorizing a hymn a month and learning the theology behind the hymn. We’ve started with Amazing Grace with the original verses by John Newton.

  6. How lovely to be able to play such beautiful music! I took organ lessons very very very briefly. It’s on my life’s to do list to learn piano. I suppose pulling my keyboard out of the closet and blowing off the dust should be my first step.

    Very cool on writing the dates on the pages when a song is played. I hope you added yourself into that history!

  7. We used to have a very good organist at our church and I enjoyed it so much. Now,as you say, it’s the praise band. I can’t understand why it has to be all or nothing. Can’t we have the piano and organ some weeks and the praise band the others? Contemporary songs sometimes and the hymns I grew up on as well? I don’t mind encouraging the young people, but catering to them doesn’t seem healthy. All of us need to remember that it is about worshipping God, not indulging ourselves. Ok, that’s my rant.

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