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[quote name='MusingMuso' date='Mar 6 2007, 07:20pm

 

I think I quite like "A Fugue of Organists" or perhaps even better, "A Loft of Organists."

 

Loft as in lofty, seems somehow appropriate.....high-minded and remote.

 

MM

 

 

Excellent Colin, I like it - A Loft of Organists - ' high minded and remote' an excellent description which is actually an euphemism for what many would describe as:

 

" Closeted within the cloistered precincts of their Cathedral and thus oblivious to the realities of the big wide world without"

 

I hasten to add the above is applicable to only some of our Organists; but I can think of one or two whom that description fits like a seamless glove !

 

Yes - I like it "high minded and remote" A very polite way of saying things.

 

Shall we adopt that collective noun ? A Loft of Organists.

 

Michael.

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On Saturday 24 March at 10.00 a.m. the Plymouth and District Organists' Association is mounting a "Meet the Organ" morning at St Andrew's, Plymouth. The event hopes to stimulate some interest in learing the organ by giving any budding pianists a chance of learning a bit about what an organ is and how it works and giving them the opportunity to get their mitts on one and give it a whirl. All ages are welcome, but youngsters especially so. To this end the association has been doing a fair bit of canvassing, including sending leaflets/posters to all the schools in the area.

 

From what I hear the feedback so far has not been very encouraging, but I was positively dismayed to hear of the attitude of the Head of Music at one of Plymouth's most highly repected secondary schools. The gentleman concerned - a brass player - apparently simply binned the material, dismissing the organ as "an old man's instrument" and by implication not worth further consideration. This despite the fact that two of his pupils are already organ pupils - one of them a lad who, although he has not been learning long, has exceptional potential.

 

Does anyone else share my dismay about finding such a blinkered attitude in an institution supposedly dedicated to education?

Well we held the event last Saturday. We had a turnout of around 40 which, believe it or not, is quite reasonable for Plymouth. And I think we may have gained three of four students of varying ages. But the audience was virtually entirely adult. This was fairly disappointing considering the effort that the association had been put into canvassing local schools and churches. I suspect the slot they secured on local radio did more than anything to publicise the event. The local schools showed no interest whatsoever, which is hardly surprising when the organ is seen to be "religious" and "uncool".

 

What was even more depressing, though, was the signal lack of interest from the local churches. This is entirely in keeping with the local ethos: there is little interest in classical music in Plymouth and virtually all the local churches are happy crappy. It really makes you wonder whether the organ has a long-term future. Who actually wants it other than a few fanatics like me?

 

Philistia be thou glad of me.

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Guest Lee Blick
The local schools showed no interest whatsoever, which is hardly surprising when the organ is seen to be "religious" and "uncool".

 

I feel that there should be more focus on the organ as an instrument played in secular venues and at home.

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I daresay, but that presupposes you have pipe organs in such places. In our area I know of one pipe organ in a home and none in secular venues. I would not be interested in promoting toasters as a primary instrument; they have their uses, but will forever be second best to pipe organs.

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Guest Lee Blick

Yes of course, but how are you going to get children and young people practicing the organ? Most wouldn't want to step foot into their local churches. Maybe more should be installed in schools, even if they are digital organs. I guess if nothing new or imaginative can be done to attract them, I guess classical organ playing, just as the Christian Church in this country, will just continue in ever decreasing circles until it does finally die away....

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Hello!

 

Even with our often fascinating instruments here in the area of Luebeck, Hamburg and Bremen, the situation is not so much better - there is a lack of young people being interested in learning to play the organ. But on sunday I attended an organ concert for children in a smaller Hamburg church, together with my kids of 3 and 4, and they had much fun, as about 30 others around, though it was finest weather outside. But one has to admit that the families have already been connected to the church somehow...

 

But I am able to report that a project of the Orgelakademie Stade is very successful: Making visits to primary schools and holding sort of workshops there, Annegret Kleindopf (staff member of the Orgelakademie), raises much interest among the youngsters. Most fascinating is the enthusiasm amongst muslim kids! (there are many turkish immigrants in industrial areas in Germany) It is really touching to watch and hear children of turkish family background recalling the dates when Arp Schnitger was apprentice of Berendt Hus or rebuilt the Stade St. Cosmae organ!

Looking forward to take over a job at a major church in eastern Germany (aka as former German Democratic Republic...), I see it, including all the problems, as a chance to have an environment, where christian background has disappeared so far, that it is not EMBARRASSING anymore to step into a church or be a member of a choir. Friends will not ask anymore: "How are you able to participate there at those fancy rites and weird ideas?" but "Oh, a church? What is it, what are you doing there?"

It is more like starting on a blank page.

Well, this was a little bit over-positive (greetings to Barry Jordan...) and viewing through the pink glasses, but I want to say, that the fascination of the organ (and the REAL one, of course!) will exist forever. And indeed, the reputation of "church" and "religion" are of influence, but we know, that this instrument started its fascinating career without those two aspects...!

(To make it clear, I hope that interest in organ not beeing obstructed by religous aspects may always be at least the entrance to this instrument, but should at the very end lead into a spiritual dimension, beneath whatever confessional surface...).

As long as enthusiastic organists go out to the people to tell about their instrument, they will always succeed, sooner or later (as succesful fundraising for bebuilds and new organs here in Germany shows, wehn happening under rural and difficult circumstances...)

Some events in Stade, suitable for Children (German text)

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Hello!

 

Even with our often fascinating instruments here in the area of Luebeck, Hamburg and Bremen, the situation is not so much better - there is a lack of young people being interested in learning to play the organ. But on sunday I attended an organ concert for children in a smaller Hamburg church, together with my kids of 3 and 4, and they had much fun, as about 30 others around, though it was finest weather outside. But one has to admit that the families have already been connected to the church somehow...

 

But I am able to report that a project of the Orgelakademie Stade is very successful: Making visits to primary schools and holding sort of workshops there, Annegret Kleindopf (staff member of the Orgelakademie), raises much interest among the youngsters. Most fascinating is the enthusiasm amongst muslim kids! (there are many turkish immigrants in industrial areas in Germany) It is really touching to watch and hear children of turkish family background recalling the dates when Arp Schnitger was apprentice of Berendt Hus or rebuilt the Stade St. Cosmae organ!

Looking forward to take over a job at a major church in eastern Germany (aka as former German Democratic Republic...), I see it, including all the problems, as a chance to have an environment, where christian background has disappeared so far, that it is not EMBARRASSING anymore to step into a church or be a member of a choir. Friends will not ask anymore: "How are you able to participate there at those fancy rites and weird ideas?" but "Oh, a church? What is it, what are you doing there?"

It is more like starting on a blank page.

Well, this was a little bit over-positive (greetings to Barry Jordan...) and viewing through the pink glasses, but I want to say, that the fascination of the organ (and the REAL one, of course!) will exist forever. And indeed, the reputation of "church" and "religion" are of influence, but we know, that this instrument started its fascinating career without those two aspects...!

(To make it clear, I hope that interest in organ not beeing obstructed by religous aspects may always be at least the entrance to this instrument, but should at the very end lead into a spiritual dimension, beneath whatever confessional surface...).

As long as enthusiastic organists go out to the people to tell about their instrument, they will always succeed, sooner or later (as succesful fundraising for bebuilds and new organs here in Germany shows, wehn happening under rural and difficult circumstances...)

Some events in Stade, suitable for Children (German text)

 

 

============================

 

 

This is a very interesting post from Herr Kropf, because it points to something I have always regarded as very important.

 

In many ways, the points raised could serve as a background to my own route to the organ, which never started with "going to church" or being immersed in "ritual" or specific "beliefs."

 

I loved architecture as a young-boy, and would often take photographs of nice buildings, and it was this which took me first inside a church at the age of 11. I heard the organ being played, and I loved what I heard; thus drawing me back to hear more. By the age of 13, I was telling lies to my parents, by suggesting that I was "going to a friend's house," when in reality, I was cycling to York to hear the organ and choir at the Minster; a round journey of 130kms!

 

What happened next was very interesting, because not only did I not understand or even admire the ritual and beliefs of "church", I completely rejected them as an irrelevance. It was at the age of 15 that I discovered Boenhoffer, who seemed to write with such clarity. So there was I, a young teenager in England, immersing myself in German theology and Lutheranism, and not a slave to either convention or tradition.

 

With despair, I observed the death of liberalism, and attempts at establishing a new order which, in pretending to be more enlightened, merely re-inforced the divisiveness of "faith" and sought to re-establish the false authority of "religious institutionalism," and with it, a pernicious "religious racism" such as we see, (but not eclusively), in America to-day.

 

I always like to remind my Muslim friends, who see the organ as a "Christian" instrument, that it started off Pagan, moved East into the Muslim world (Emperor Sulliman) and eventually drifted back to the west and into the churches of Christendom; in addition to much of the preserved science, mathematics and reason which had developed from the ancient world.

 

I find the idea of boys and girls from Turkish families being able to hear a church organ, and then quote the dates of Arp Schnitger, a very beautiful one, as it should be. It reminds me of a wonderful moment, when in the company of an orthodox Jew, I went to hear the Bach "Matthew Passion."

 

"You're supposed to be Jewish," I hissed, as tears rolled down his face.

 

"I am," he said, "but this is Bach!"

 

MM

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EXPOSURE

 

this is the key.

 

I joined a choir when i was 7, so got into the organ that way.

 

Now 10 years on, when i have big services and concerts, i often ask friends to turn pages and registar. 3/4 years ago this was met with 'ask someone else' but now i have 6 who enjoy it, and have organ cd's, (one has the complete Bach) even if they can't play a note, enjoy it as is.

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Thank you for the link you posted. There are some useful ideas there which we might bear in mind (we did consider a "Peter and the Wolf" event at one point).

 

I see it, including all the problems, as a chance to have an environment, where christian background has disappeared so far, that it is not EMBARRASSING anymore to step into a church or be a member of a choir. Friends will not ask anymore: "How are you able to participate there at those fancy rites and weird ideas?" but "Oh, a church? What is it, what are you doing there?" It is more like starting on a blank page.
This is most interesting. I wonder whether such a day will ever come in Britain. Maybe, but I wonder whether we will then have any organs left.

 

In my Bristol days there used to be a tale - I have no idea whether it was true - that the cathedral had on its staff both a Canon Ball and a Canon Shells. Only yesterday I was relating this to a young lady in her mid-late twenties. She looked at me blankly for a bit and then said, "What's a canon?" It's the way I tell 'em.

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Guest Psalm 78 v.67
She looked at me blankly for a bit and then said, "What's a canon?" It's the way I tell 'em.

 

My wife's boss had dealings with a retired Canon, and seriously thought he had a hyphenated surname ("Canon-Whoever")

 

 

Only yesterday I was relating this to a young lady in her mid-late twenties.

 

Can I swap jobs? :lol::o:lol:

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Guest Psalm 78 v.67
In my Bristol days there used to be a tale - I have no idea whether it was true - that the cathedral had on its staff both a Canon Ball and a Canon Shells.

 

I had some Bristol connection a few years ago, and although I don't recall canon Ball there was indeed a Canon Shells.

 

(No doubt one of the big guns of the church!) :lol:

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Having been brought up in Swindon - well, someone has to be - we had an Archdeacon whose surname was Bowles. When he retired, he became a Canon of Bristol Cathedral. He may well be the Canon Bowles towhich you refer.

 

Ian Crabbe

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Before W C's time - but if he did anything wrong I am sure he was just let off! :lol::D
Boom, boom!

 

 

Having been brought up in Swindon - well, someone has to be - we had an Archdeacon whose surname was Bowles. When he retired, he became a Canon of Bristol Cathedral. He may well be the Canon Bowles towhich you refer.

 

Ian Crabbe

Ah. Thank you, Ian. This seems very likely to be the answer.
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My dad was born in Swindon!

 

 

=======================

 

Nothing to do with organs, but I said to girl from Swindon, "Ah Swindon! The Great Western Railway and Brunel"

 

She replied, "Eh?"

 

:huh:

 

MM

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You know, PCND is remarkably quiet at the moment. Is he on holiday?

 

Ian Crabbe

 

=======================

 

Perhaps "pcnd" gave us up for Lent.

 

I also notice that the "professionals" and the clergy go very quiet during Lent and Holy Week, only to mysteriously re-appear as if nothing had happened.

 

MM

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=======================

 

I also notice that the "professionals" and the clergy go very quiet during Lent and Holy Week, only to mysteriously re-appear as if nothing had happened.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Hardly surprising! Even with my small church I've got 7 extra services/events to prepare and lead during this week. Plus all the normal routine.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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