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Belgian Leader Sings Wrong Anthem!


Guest Lee Blick
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Guest Lee Blick

Belgian leader makes anthem gaffe

 

Yves Leterme is struggling to form a coalition

The man expected to become Belgium's next prime minister has caused a stir by singing the French national anthem when asked to sing the Belgian one.

Yves Leterme, head of the Flemish Christian Democrats, broke into La Marseillaise instead of Belgium's La Brabanconne on the national day.

 

His gaffe was filmed by Belgian RTBF television, as he was about to attend a church service in Brussels on Saturday.

 

See the BBC story here

 

Have you been in an embarrasing situation playing/singing the wrong music as requested?

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Guest Barry Williams

Yes. I was asked to deputise at a church where the wedding services were conducted from a small blue book with all the usual hymns at the back. The vicar announced hymn number whatever and I duly played the same number hymn from the hymn book. I played 'Praise my soul' to the Goss tune whilst they sang 'Love Divine'. It fits for the first line. The vicar stopped us all after the first verse and explained what had happened. Apparently it had occured before.

 

Barry Williams

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Alwyn Surplice (when at Winchester Cath.) recounted that before the Willis organ in Truro was worked on by the Willis firm in the 60's (?) with the new console down behind the choir, the console was up with the organ. They had a system of indicator lights on the console to warn of 'bride at the west door' etc. One of the lights was for 'your playing the wrong tune'.

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Sometime ago I was playing for a wedding - the previous incumbent was returning to take it. At about the time the bride was to arrive the said priest walked in through the church door and waved heartily at me. I immediately started the 'coming in' music thinking that this wave was the signal to do so. It turned out that he was just waving hello as we had not seen eachother for a few years! The bride was nowhere to be seen.

Another time I was playing for the installation of a new incumbent at a church where I sometimes deputized. However the order of service given to me in advance was by the time the actual service took place a very out of date first draft. None of the hymns were announced so much of what I played at first was completely wrong. It didn't help that the church was one of those with the console in such a position as for me to not be able to hear much of what was going on anyway! The Archdecon himself eventually had to pay me a visit to sort out the problem!

 

AJJ

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Belgian leader makes anthem gaffe

 

Yves Leterme is struggling to form a coalition

The man expected to become Belgium's next prime minister has caused a stir by singing the French national anthem when asked to sing the Belgian one.

Yves Leterme, head of the Flemish Christian Democrats, broke into La Marseillaise instead of Belgium's La Brabanconne on the national day.

 

His gaffe was filmed by Belgian RTBF television, as he was about to attend a church service in Brussels on Saturday.

 

See the BBC story here

 

Have you been in an embarrasing situation playing/singing the wrong music as requested?

 

 

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

 

 

 

Oh yes!

 

No self-respecting organist could ever get through life without any number of major gaffs.

 

I've played chants quite different to those sung by the choir, and with quite different key-signatures.....Charles Ives would have approved, but oddly enough, the clergy, choir and congregation just don't appreciate this type of modern "artistry".

 

We've all, (without exception I would think), played the wrong tune to a hymn, but sometimes a small miracle occurs as people struggle through. It's good when a six line tune fits to the words of a four line hymn, when it all miraculously comes to a graceful end with the right words and the right cadence.

 

The late Bill Davies always liked to tell the story of the wedding, when he was asked to provide the music from "Robin Hood" as the processional.

 

He was more than happy to oblige, being a BBC man.

 

Unfortunately, being of "a certain age," he was unaware of the Kevin Costner film and the excellent film-score which accompanies it, so instead of this, the happy couple got the rather jaunty theme from the old film version starring Richard Green, to which the words were:-

 

"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men....."

 

It's a good job that I've never been asked to play this, because the only remake I've ever seen was "Robin Hood: men in tights!"

 

Personally, I recall a Civic Service, for which I played the organ. The fact that the town had just elected a firebrand left-wing candidate with distinctly communist leanings, gave me the perfect excuse to improvise on a selection of political tunes, which included the Soviet national anthem and "We'll keep the red-flag flying here".

 

Of course, civilian-uniformed events were always an excuse to improvise on the theme of "The March of the tin soldiers."

 

I suppose I should hang my head in shame! :lol:

 

MM

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Belgium is the place of surrealism; there is always

a joke somewhere. Would we receive a bomb from North Korea

on our heads, we'd joke about it.

We never know if we shall still exist after each vote; Mr Leterme,

supposedly our next prime minister, would like to drop the french

speaking part of the country, this bizarre southern part here, with more

deers than human beings, deep forests and 30% unemployment rate.

Are you interested ? (We do not want to be engulfed by Mr Sarkozy's France...)

For sale: 3,000.000 human beings, 2,000.000 cows and 6,000.000 deers,

and a climate a bit worse than (north western) Scotland. :lol::P:lol:

 

Pierre

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I've done the obligitory 'missing out the 2nd part in the psalm chant' and thus ending up on the wrong part for a few verses

Oh yes......

 

and perhaps a smigeon of accompanying the wrong verse - you know, where you get five consecutive verses with more or less identical words

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Belgium is the place of surrealism; there is always

a joke somewhere. Would we receive a bomb from North Korea

on our heads, we'd joke about it.

We never know if we shall still exist after each vote; Mr Leterme,

supposedly our next prime minister, would like to drop the french

speaking part of the country, this bizarre southern part here, with more

deers than human beings, deep forests and 30% unemployment rate.

Are you interested ? (We do not want to be engulfed by Mr Sarkozy's France...)

For sale: 3,000.000 human beings, 2,000.000 cows and 6,000.000 deers,

and a climate a bit worse than (north western) Scotland. :lol::P:lol:

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

 

We'll take the deer and the cows.

 

MM

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I can remember an evensong at St. John's Cambridge in the early 70s when the organ scholar played the wrong hymn tune all the way through.... flat out.....despite the frantic waving and signing from George Guest.

 

Me and my fellow choristers thought that it was terribly funny.... especially as poor old George's face was turning purple.

 

Peter

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Belgium is the place of surrealism; there is always

a joke somewhere. Would we receive a bomb from North Korea

on our heads, we'd joke about it.

We never know if we shall still exist after each vote; Mr Leterme,

supposedly our next prime minister, would like to drop the french

speaking part of the country, this bizarre southern part here, with more

deers than human beings, deep forests and 30% unemployment rate.

Are you interested ? (We do not want to be engulfed by Mr Sarkozy's France...)

For sale: 3,000.000 human beings, 2,000.000 cows and 6,000.000 deers,

and a climate a bit worse than (north western) Scotland. :lol::P:lol:

 

Pierre

 

SInce the deers and the cows go to MM, we'll take Pierre :P:lol:

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SInce the deers and the cows go to MM, we'll take Pierre :lol: :lol:

 

If you can do with my Limburgs (already spoken in Maastricht, Valkenburg etc),

no problem for me. We "ancient" belgians do not mind in which language we

are supposed to speak (young politicians make a living with those absurd games...)

As for the deers, I am very, very happy to send them to the UK. They will eat the

flowers in Mottisfont, Kiftsgate court, Castle Howard etc, and no more mines!

Pierre

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At a recent Evensong at Liverpool Cathedral, just after we had said the Creed, the Lay Clerk acting as cantor intoned 'O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us' !

 

I have had one instance of where an organist has played one more verse that contained in the Hymn. That and playing one less verse must be one of the more common errors !

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especially dangerous when they're singing from a printed order or service or a different hymn book and you forget to check whether they have the same number of verses (or even in the same order) as you. (Or, in the case of O Little Town, which order the lines within a given verse are printed.

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I can still remember the agony as a treble of at least a top C at the end of the response ' Thanks be to GOD' when the former precentor at a certain large eastern county cathedral came in dangerously over high with his bit before - the look of panic on our MD's face was a picture too. He comes on here sometimes (the MD not the precentor) - I wonder if he remembers the event?

 

Then there was also the cantor who started the responses at another eastern counties establishment with what he thought was a note from the organ - to prevent embarassment (and accusation of a 'Carry On' films type sense of humour) all I will say is that one of the alto lay vicars had apparently eaten a particularly potent chilli con carne before the service. The following loud whisper of ''Better out than in'' from the alto in question gave the game away somewhat though!

 

 

AJJ

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Guest Lee Blick
At a recent Evensong at Liverpool Cathedral, just after we had said the Creed, the Lay Clerk acting as cantor intoned 'O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us' !

 

I have had one instance of where an organist has played one more verse that contained in the Hymn. That and playing one less verse must be one of the more common errors !

 

I have been guilty of this several times.

 

Playing an extra verse can be 'covered over' if realised quick enough to go into an improvised ending.

 

Not playing enough verses can be embarrasing especially if you have already turned over to the next hymn or got the next music ready on the last chord. Firstly you get a glare from the incumbent and the entire altar party then instinctively your hands go back to the manuals, but if you are like me the sheer fright of it means it sounds like 'Les Dawson from the grave'.

 

I was in a parish once where occasionally if there was a baptism at the parish mass the order would slightly be changed. The Peace would come before the intercessions then the hymn rather than prayers-Peace-hymn. Of course after the Peace I would go thundering into the offertory (not that I really minded, it meant we never had intercessions at all and we all got to our Sunday roasts that little bit quicker).

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I have been guilty of this several times.

 

Me, too. I played for my grandmother's funeral but was unable to play before the service due to the vagaries of public transport and roadworks in Norfolk (4 hours to get from Diss to nr King's Lynn). My wife and I rushed in to the church just after the coffin had arrived. I discovered that the pre-service music was being provided by my two sisters, neither of whom had ever played the organ before. One was playing the manuals and the other was operating the pedals by hand.) There was only one hymn, 'The King of Love my Shepherd is'. Unfortunately the last verse was printed over the page. As I was bringing the hymn to a close at the end of the penultimate verse I realised that there was another. The resulting period of silence, however, was long enough for the congregation (led by my mother) to realise that I had forgotten the last verse and to sit down. My mother said that just as they rear ends hit the pews I started to play the last verse. It was a long time before I lived that down. My only consolation was that my grandmother would probably have laughed long and loud.

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I can think of a few similar things, all of which make me break out in a cold sweat to recall them -

 

I clearly remember drawing a hymn to a suitable close with a rallentando and pausing on the last chord ; a pointed cough from the choir stalls alerted me to the fact that there was another verse at the top of the next page which I had overlooked.

 

On another occasion I was asked to learn a special piece of music for a wedding as it was the bride's choice for the occasion. In fact it was rather good ; a movement from a Stanley voluntary. I saw the bride arrive, I saw the vicar waving to give the sign to start playing, and I launched in. I was vaguely aware of a lack of processional motion behind me but had to concentrate on the music so could not look round to see what had happened. When I finished, the bride was still waiting at the door. Apparently, she had entirely missed the significance of her 'special piece of music' which I promptly had to play again.

 

I also recall accompanying the choir of Exeter College, Oxford when I was organ scholar at Trinity, that is, before the new organ was installed. The old organ still lurked up in the gallery. I had to accompany the Leighton canticles ; I was fully engaged on playing the music and could only spare the time for the odd glance in the rear view mirror. All seemed well whenever I glanced up with the conductor leading the choir vigorously. Next time I looked up - empty mirror. It turned out that the conductor had keeled over - 'tired and emotional' as Private Eye would report.

 

Finally, two embarrassing moments for two friends.

 

A friend of mine was playing for a service in Norwich Cathedral with a full house. He was playing so loud he could not hear which verse was being sung, and lost track of where he was. He had to ask a friend to listen over the side at the end of each verse with his hands poised over the keys ; if the congregation started up, he would play another verse, and so on.

 

Another friend, now a most distinguished cathedral organist, was, at the time, my parish choir master. Obviously he had 'switched off' during evensong, and was woken from his reverie by the vicar announcing the psalm with increasing urgency. My friend did not have a psalter, so he improvised a series of chords that approximated to a chant. Unfortunately, the choir had no idea which way he was going, and he could never remember from one verse to the next what he had done previously, so the psalm was as if sung to fragments of late Stockhausen.

 

How we laughed.

 

M

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Unfortunately the last verse was printed over the page.

 

This is a very common happening when the words of the hymns (often different to the ones in our hymn book) are printed on a wedding or funeral service sheet. We of riper years usually make sure we have two copies on the music desk as trying to turn the pages of a stiff card service sheet can lead us into disaster.

 

FF

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To reduce the waiting time before I start the recessional, I normally ask She Who Must Be Obeyed to remove my hymnbook towards the end of the last verse of the final hymn. Yes, there came the time when after the hymnbook was removed I zoned out so much, that as my attention returned to the task at hand, I could not recall either the hymn I'd been playing of the key that it was in. Ouch.

 

I arrived with no time to spare for a wedding once, and hence did not look through the copy of the wedding booklet that I picked up as I entered the church, assuming that I had everything I needed to know in my diary. My relief at arriving on time vanished instantly when the priest announced a hymn after the initial greetings and statement of purpose. No, the bride hadn't thought to talk to the organist about this inclusion when discussing her wedding music. Murphy's law prevailed - I had never seen the words before. The congregation had to wait while I went through the process of counting syllables to determine the meter, then look up the metrical index to find a hymn tune. Now, you'd think a seasoned professional would do this calmly, without batting an eyelid, wouldn't you. Then how come I miscounted the number of syllables?

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