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:
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.
(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?)