Turning on the Chimes

organ chimes stop

Have you ever wished you could just push a button and make someone happy?

I’m fortunate, because I’ve found a way to do that very thing.

Let me explain. I play organ once or twice a month at a small country church. A year or so ago, after a service, one of the ladies from the congregation asked if I would perhaps use the organ chimes sometime. She just loved them, she said, and had not heard them in years.

The next time I played, I looked at the many organ stops (known to the casual observer as “buttons”), and sure enough, amongst those that were hard to decipher (quick, anyone know what an “aeoline” or a “gemshorn” sounds like?), was the lowly CHIMES.

That day, I added the chimes stop to my typical set-up for the last verse of the opening hymn.

Understand that my organ church is part of a pretty reticent farming community. Despite the fact that I’ve been playing there for almost a decade, it’s pretty rare for most of the congregants to speak to me. But on this day, the woman who’d mentioned the chimes ran up and hugged me. It was a great thing — I had made someone so happy, just by pushing a button!

Since then, I’ve added the chimes in as an every-week feature. I use them on the final verse of the opening hymn, as well as on the final verse of the closing hymn. There are exceptions — somehow, chimes just don’t seem appropriate the week before Easter — but those are rare. Each time that first chimy note plays, a woman in the balcony looks over at me, smiles, and gives me an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Often after church, a congregant will shyly mention that they “sure enjoy those chimes” before shuffling quickly off to their vehicle.

It’s kind of nice, making someone happy so easily. If only all of life could be that way …

organ stops chimes

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
 — Romans 12:18

10 thoughts on “Turning on the Chimes

  1. Such a sweet gesture! I loved the pictures too. I’ve become so addicted to doing little things that you know will mean something to others. I loved this!

  2. What a great way to look at things! Sometimes that little addition in life can impact someone in huge ways. You were a blessing to someone that day, and now can be a blessing every week 🙂

  3. Our current church doesn’t have an organ, but in the churches I’ve been where they’ve had them, the chimes are one of my favorite features, too. I don’t understand how anyone can play an organ with all those buttons – or stops. But I guess it is a learning process like anything else.

    It’s so neat she felt free to offer a suggestion and you were amenable to receiving it. 🙂

  4. I love this. I think of the elderly people in my church–they get it that modern music is part of keeping people coming to church, like it or not. But a few of my Sunday School ladies (who range in age to around 90, though the oldest can’t come anymore) would sure love to hear music like this sometimes. What a great present! 🙂

  5. I’m glad you can make people happy so easily. I’m also glad that they’ve expressed their appreciation for what you’re doing for them.

  6. What an interesting post! No doubt you make many more members of the congregation happy, only they don’t tell you. I love hearing chimes, too, and Joyle always uses them here and there in her annual organ concert in Markle each year on the first Saturday night in December. Mark your calendar for next December for sure. The soup supper before the concert is very good, too.

  7. As an adult, I took organ lessons for a couple of years. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing a key that said Chimes. I never learned to play very well and, when we moved, there was no room for my organ so I sold it and quit the lessons. I miss it. Your blog today made me feel better.

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