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Organists Do The Silliest Things.....


Peter Clark
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As it gets quite warm and dry up in the organ gallery I generally have a bottle of mineral water up there (as indeed do many of the choir). Yesterday, having put the bottle next to me on the console, I left it too near the stops; I pressed the piston to bring on the positif stops, the stops knocked the bottle and it went flying onto the floor! Luckily it was firmly closed. Anybody else done anything similarly daft?

 

Peter

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As it gets quite warm and dry up in the organ gallery I generally have a bottle of mineral water up there (as indeed do many of the choir). Yesterday, having put the bottle next to me on the console, I left it too near the stops; I pressed the piston to bring on the positif stops, the stops knocked the bottle and it went flying onto the floor! Luckily it was firmly closed. Anybody else done anything similarly daft?

 

Peter

 

I have a weakness for empty bottles in the music cupboard. These don't cause a particular problem until I open the door to move the camera for the Agnus Dei at which point they come bouncing out and come to rest at the foot of the sanctuary steps.

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As it gets quite warm and dry up in the organ gallery I generally have a bottle of mineral water up there (as indeed do many of the choir). Yesterday, having put the bottle next to me on the console, I left it too near the stops; I pressed the piston to bring on the positif stops, the stops knocked the bottle and it went flying onto the floor! Luckily it was firmly closed. Anybody else done anything similarly daft?

 

Peter

 

 

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

 

 

I wish to distance myself from this topic, on the basis that there is not a shred of evidence to support the rumours that:-

 

a) I often fell asleep during sermons after taking part in overnight car-rallies

 

b ) Dropped hymn books which bounced down 4 manuals with the organ set-up for the last voluntary FFF.

 

c) Once cooked breakfast on a Primus Stove during Mattins

 

d) Showered the choir with 'Mint Imperials from on high"

 

e) Got the couplers wrong and started the Cocker Tuba Tune on....the big TUBA!!!!!!!!

 

f) Started a recital without switching on the organ

 

g) Once fell down a spiral staircase, landed in a heap and knocked myself out.

 

h) Forgot to play the National Anthem on November 11th

 

So if you hear any of these rumours, please forward details to my solicitors, Messr Sue, Grabit and Run.

 

Lies...all lies, I tell you!!

 

MM

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I have a weakness for empty bottles in the music cupboard. These don't cause a particular problem until I open the door to move the camera for the Agnus Dei at which point they come bouncing out and come to rest at the foot of the sanctuary steps.

 

 

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

 

 

Why do you need a camera for the Agnus Dei?

 

Are you into sheep spotting?

 

:unsure:

 

MM

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I let my younger daughter (7) sit at the console for one of the remembrance services that I had to play yesterday - half way through one of the hymns the order of service was removed from the music desk so that she could check what was coming next - she was oblivious ro the fact that not only was I following the words but could not actually hear from the congregation what verse I was on. Mercifully my guess was right and we all ended the hymn at the same place. But.. she also had her new joke book with her so mid sermon we also had .....'What did the elephant............' etc. in a very loud whisper. She really means well but...!

 

AJJ

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A number of years ago I had to play the organ for a funeral in a neighbouring parish. During the sermon my clerical colleague went up to the pulpit and said ". . . may I speak to you in the name of the Living God, Father, Son and HolySpirit", and then he began to tell a lovely tale about our dear departed brother.

 

A couple of minutes into the sermonette I felt a movement in my hair. And then suddenly . . it moved again, and I reached up into my hair and pulled out . . . a wasp!!! In my home town of Colwyn Bay on the North Wales Coast we call the darned varmints "JASPERS" ... Can you believe it? A wasp in my hair????!!!!! Anyway I threw the Jasper on to the organ bench and it looked somewhat dazed, and then, totally forgetting that I am a holy Vicar, and was in front of a large audience (err. . . congregation ) I slammed down a copy of HYMNS ANCIENT & MODERN (STANDARD) on to the said JASPER with a great crash. To the curious, this act of murder was quite undeserved because the JASPER had not left his visiting card on my head or fingers . .. but then maybe the punishment was sufficient if the little blighter had even thought about stinging.

 

For quite some time conscience was pricked because the next hymn which was played with great gusto was

 

ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

ALL THINGS WISE AND WONDERFUL

THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL

 

Does this include JASPERS? And if so, what should the penance be?

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Guest Hector5

Oh dear yes - about a month ago, I was reading a book to lift the boredom of a very bad sermon and managed to laugh out loud at a screamingly funny part of the book (C'est la folie - about an organist/journalist who moves to France, an excellent read and available from the travel writing section of all good bookshops). This is a stiff-lipped Catholic church, and sadly I didn't get away with it in the same way I would have at an evangelical church (Toronto giggles/blessing or whatever they call it).

 

THEN - two weeks ago, I fell asleep at the console during the morning sermon listening to a very pleasant lady giving a sermon. I obviously managed to fall deeply asleep, but woke with a start as I heard the preacher say in hushed tones "awwwwwwwwwwwww - he's fast asleep). With that I woke with a start fell backwards and knocked the rather large pew front over behind me which went crashing to the floor. Needless to say, I ignored this and everyone and studied the music desk for knots and cobwebs!!!!!!

 

Tell me - has anyone forgot themselves when conducting a choir, and like me barked AND BREATHE!!!!! at the top of their voices during an anthem????????

 

Hector - with head hung in shame.

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I played for the LFB Remembrance Servive as usual on Sunday. As this is held in the HQ foyer the only available instrument is a small (cheap) Casio keyboard. Normally I manage to do a reasonable job but this year the piece that I was going to play at the end slid of the (pathetic excuse for a) music stand and collided with the auto start for the rhythm section. Naturally the default setting is a very loud salsa beat.

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I, too have been a victim of 'sermon slumber'...last weekend our NSM was preaching and she is usually worth hearing but a late night, a very warm church and the comforting words of 'footprints in the sand' proved too much. I remember hearing the first line or so and awoke with a start as the incumbent announced the offertory hymn. Lucky the hymn book was open at the right page and since I am seated well out of sight of all but the clergy, I think I got away with it.

 

Short survey :

 

How long does it take your eyes to focus when urgently required ?

 

H

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Has anyone ever forgotten which transposition of a hymn tune they are playing mid hymn? Our hymnal has alternative high and low versions in some cases and I ended up playing an atonal version of 'I vow to the my country' when this happened - it's the same sort of feeling as when driving home from work today I suddenly realised that I had passed through a couple of villages without the fact actually registering!

 

AJJ

 

PS.....suddenly mid piece finding that the photocopies (!) are in the wrong order causes a similar feeling of helplessness.

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PS.....suddenly mid piece finding that the photocopies (!) are in the wrong order causes a similar feeling of helplessness.

 

 

I've played the last page of a photocopied piece (Toccata: Stella maris from Weitz Symphony no.1) with the vital page left at home on the practice organ. I tell you, it was scary!! It was in front of The Organ Club (at an annual recital) too. I can play two pieces from memory (on a good day) and the Weitz is neither of them.

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A certain organist of my acquaintance once amused himself during the sermon by trickling incense on to the naked 150w bulb that lights the pedalboard - in a church that can just bring itself to tolerate incense twice a year.

 

 

That's funny because I have a friend who, when organist at a Presbyterian Church, used to drop a few grains upon the old parrafin stove next to the organ on occasions. They never did find out where the smell came from, apparently!

 

The church is now a convenience store.

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I played for the LFB Remembrance Servive as usual on Sunday. As this is held in the HQ foyer the only available instrument is a small (cheap) Casio keyboard. Normally I manage to do a reasonable job but this year the piece that I was going to play at the end slid of the (pathetic excuse for a) music stand and collided with the auto start for the rhythm section. Naturally the default setting is a very loud salsa beat.

Oh, I've done that. Fortunately our digital keyboards (a decent enough Roland digital piano, and a not-very-great Viscount portable organ) don't have salsa beats. But they do have the Blue Danube available at the hit of a "demo" button...

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Has anyone ever forgotten which transposition of a hymn tune they are playing mid hymn?

 

Oh yes, - and I'm quite capable, it seems, of forgetting what I'm tranposing into halfway through transposing! Not a happy effect.

 

Another piece of "life experience" was playing an electronic machine (not a good one) for a funeral in a very cold rural church. The family had chosen Jerusalem for one of the hymns. My wife had kindly stepped in to turn the pages. The pages were very thin paper, and her fingers were very cold. I was on autopilot, unforgiveably, so, when she turned rather more than the usual number of pages in one go, an interesting effect was achieved. The local retired bishop, seated no more than a metre away, told me later that when I had finally woken up, my eyes were like organ-stops.

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A number of years ago I had to play the organ for a funeral in a neighbouring parish. During the sermon my clerical colleague went up to the pulpit and said ". . . may I speak to you in the name of the Living God, Father, Son and HolySpirit", and then he began to tell a lovely tale about our dear departed brother.

 

A couple of minutes into the sermonette I felt a movement in my hair. And then suddenly . . it moved again, and I reached up into my hair and pulled out . . . a wasp!!! In my home town of Colwyn Bay on the North Wales Coast we call the darned varmints "JASPERS" ... Can you believe it? A wasp in my hair????!!!!! Anyway I threw the Jasper on to the organ bench and it looked somewhat dazed, and then, totally forgetting that I am a holy Vicar, and was in front of a large audience (err. . . congregation ) I slammed down a copy of HYMNS ANCIENT & MODERN (STANDARD) on to the said JASPER with a great crash. To the curious, this act of murder was quite undeserved because the JASPER had not left his visiting card on my head or fingers . .. but then maybe the punishment was sufficient if the little blighter had even thought about stinging.

 

For quite some time conscience was pricked because the next hymn which was played with great gusto was

 

ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

ALL THINGS WISE AND WONDERFUL

THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL

 

Does this include JASPERS? And if so, what should the penance be?

 

 

God in his wisdom made the fly

And then forgot to tell us why.

 

(Wilde, I think)

 

Peter

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Guest Hector5

Ah yes - transposing!!!! Many years ago I played for an evensong at Bristol Cathedral. My girlfriend, her father and I went for a VERY long lunch at a pub (The Moritania I think) up the hill. We sauntered back for evensong, and I had a nagging feeling that I'd forgotten something, although couldn't remember what. This nagging feeling continued while I was playing before the service. It continued through the introduction and the responses. The psalm was announced and I held a Db chord down for the choir - then I remembered what was nagging me - Neil (the conductor) wanted the psalm chant played in D - so in that split second (God help me!) I changed from Db to D major, with all the ensuing chaos. The choir had just come in, I lost my mind, changed to D major leaving the choir in choral never-neverland! Isn't there something in the organists handbook about never drinking and playing psalms?!?!?!?!?!?!?

 

Hector

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Having people sitting with you at the console can be hazardous...

 

About 20 years or so ago when a teenager my daughter was sitting with me at the console for a wedding. Before the last chord of 'Jerusalem' I made a quick grab for the tromba, and in the process unwittingly smacked her on the head. Never been allowed to forget that!

 

Then another time I was playing for Stainer's Crucifixion (yes, it probably served me right!) and had a friend along as page-turner, who had the distinctly offputting habit of humming along with the music. Not disastrous with the chorus part but when he decided to do this in my right ear as a soloist was singing - I couldn't hear the soloist. What with trying to concentrate on playing, listening out for the singer and muttering 'Shut up!' - 'What?' 'Stop humming, I can't hear' 'What?' - '******* SHUT UP!' How do you audition page-turners?

 

Ron.

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