The same edifice witnessed my accompanying of an annual service for the Girl Guides and Brownies; the building was crammed with very high frequencies.
I built up the last verse of one of the hymns (its identity has been, mercifully, erased from my memory) in the middle of the proceedings, to close the last line with the striking Tuba and growling 32’ Contra Trombone. All was well.
Then, with my left hand, I reached nonchalantly for the special edition A&M of Brobdingnagian proportions. Horror struck ! I dropped it awkwardly. It slipped down the manuals: starting with the Solo (where the Tuba flashed, as I hadn’t cancelled), on through Full Swell, most things coupled to Great, bounced off the Positive and landed on the Pedals. Rumble, rumble; grumble, grumble.
The Verger clambered up and around the stairs to the loft, a look on his face as if he was going to find dead bodies scattered on the floor.
Somehow, I regained enough composure to proceed with the remainder of the service without repetition, deviation or hesitation. Rarely has a ‘voluntary’ been so involuntary.
There was the time as a chorister when the two boys (fortunately not me) responsible for laying out the music got it badly wrong. I can’t recall the precise details, but Decani had, say, Tomkins and Cantoris, the Byrd Preces and Responses.
The Precentor's intonation was fine, of course, and presaged nothing of what was about to occur. The first choral chord produced looks of astonishment and bewilderment all around. The vocal amalgam sounded like Stravinsky. (I only knew this later.)
The so-usually-unflappable Organist was nonplussed and waved his hands in a ‘change over’ movement. Pages were hurriedly turned.
‘The Good Lord was most definitely slow to help us’, once more, as the same happened with slowly unfolding “haste”.
The Organist then said, out loud and quite clearly, whichever composer it was supposed to be and we carried on . . . nervously, but much more traditionally.