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Encouraging Interest From The Nightclub Generation


Guest spottedmetal
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Guest spottedmetal

Dear All

 

At the prestigious recital over the weekend where the 70 stop triple decker toaster was outstripped by a single manual pipe organ I think that we were the youngest there. We brought a couple of sons who were certainly the youngest together with a house-guest who's visit to a church was probably her first . . . :-(

 

The age of everyone else was at least 20 years more. None brought their children, let alone grand-children. When I do guided tours of a historic house in the summer I reprimand my visitors for just this too, and tell them that they cannot complain at the decline of civilisation and of the young generation if they do not themselves introduce their progeny to civilisation. (How to win friends and influence people! Fewer visitors come on my tours every year :blink: )

 

Accordingly on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, we're organising a recital for people to bring their nightclub-generation to, for the nightclub generation to come to without being brought, and for people to bring their children and grand-children. The programme is not going to toady to those thinking that children should be fed chicken nuggets and chips: Hugh Potton will be doing Vierne 2 in his series of Vierne Symphony concerts and then a transcription of the 1812 with complete with bells and bangs.

 

I'm contemplating total pandemonium. The bangs will be provided by 1000 or more balloons strung above the audience arranged to be detonated in 20 banks of 50, and, these having provided support for loose ones above, will release a rain of balloons to be thrown around or for additional sound effects. Hugh will need more than full stops out to compete with the racket. In addition the boys are plotting small detonations of gunpowder for the smoke and the smell.

 

Is this not enough temptation for the young generation to be brought or to come of their own accord?

 

I couldn't possibly tell you the time or the venue without contravening board rules . . .

 

However, that's not the point - in order to save the organ we really do have to go out of our way to provide FUN on a scale to compete with the competition that the young generation expect. (After getting home from the organ recital at midnight on Saturday my wife and I took our houseguest out to the local common establishment in the nearest town and put ear-plugs in our eyes to be able to do so - she learned that we were not fuddy-duddy!)

 

So does anyone here do a transcription of Stairway to Heaven? If so - go on and be daring! Do-it! (And of course you're always welcome to perform in the madhouse . . . B) And any volunteers to assist in the detonations are welcome too! B) )

 

Best wishes

 

David P

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Being not that far beyond the age of the 'nightclub generation' (or maybe still in it depending on how you determine it!) and a teacher of 20 students who are most certainly part of it, I actually find that what they really want, is a quality and professional performance, not a circus. My experience is that they are far more likely to go to something which looks and is presented professionally and is reasonably priced, rather than something which has been specifically designed for them, by people who claim to know what would interest them.

 

Yes, I'm sure the recital you mention would be great fun. It will probably attract lots of young people who will enjoy it, but where does it go from there? There are going to be very few, if any similar recitals going on in the country for them to go to, especially if they come out thinking that all organ recitals are like that. As far as I'm concerned, its a gimic, and the novelty will wear off.

 

My philosophy is not to make assumptions about what they would like, because very often we don't know at all. Prepare to be challenged by their ideas and views, because, very often, they are surprising.

 

David

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Being not that far beyond the age of the 'nightclub generation' (or maybe still in it depending on how you determine it!) and a teacher of 20 students who are most certainly part of it, I actually find that what they really want, is a quality and professional performance, not a circus. My experience is that they are far more likely to go to something which looks and is presented professionally and is reasonably priced, rather than something which has been specifically designed for them, by people who claim to know what would interest them.

 

Yes, I'm sure the recital you mention would be great fun. It will probably attract lots of young people who will enjoy it, but where does it go from there? There are going to be very few, if any similar recitals going on in the country for them to go to, especially if they come out thinking that all organ recitals are like that. As far as I'm concerned, its a gimic, and the novelty will wear off.

 

My philosophy is not to make assumptions about what they would like, because very often we don't know at all. Prepare to be challenged by their ideas and views, because, very often, they are surprising.

 

David

 

Keith Hearnshaw does a good line in these, aimed specifically at children rather than teenagers plus, playing a mixture of music, demonstrating the organ, and bring pipes for them to see, handle, blow etc., they are very well received.

 

Jonathan

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However, that's not the point - in order to save the organ we really do have to go out of our way to provide FUN on a scale to compete with the competition that the young generation expect.

 

Because of distractions, I have taken some time to write this reply, so my apologies if I am repeating comments already made by others...

 

Reading your posts, I wonder if you are embarking on an event that is YOUR idea of fun rather than theirs. I required no persuasion or attractive events to stimulate my life long interest in the organ, I found it for myself and through performers I considered "cool". Young people similarly will find their own musical interests, we can't do it for them.

 

I wish I could be more positive, but the organ is seen in the same light as the brass band and the tea dance and I don't think there is anything we can do about it, even with pyrotechnic support. Unless the Kaiser Chiefs or the Arctic Monkeys raise a storm on the RAH organ, I'm afraid it will remain an instrument that belongs to an earlier generation.

 

What we must do, however, is to give every encouragement to those kids who do take an interest and accept the risk that they might do things with the instrument that we don't like, while they are on the road to enlightenment.

 

JC

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Keith Hearnshaw does a good line in these, aimed specifically at children rather than teenagers plus, playing a mixture of music, demonstrating the organ, and bring pipes for them to see, handle, blow etc., they are very well received.

These are good - I went to 2 such talks and hands on demonstrations when I was 11/12, and this is what really got me into the organ. It was a talk, demonstration and workhop at a small church, then a chance to play on the Cathedral organ with David Briggs (who also played an improvisation on a suggested theme tune - the Teletubbies!). It was a great introduction, and I wish there were more like this, but afterwards, I would only have been interested in going to 'proper' recitals. Pyrotechnics etc. would have had no influence on me at all. By that point, I was more interested in what they were playing.

 

David

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Guest spottedmetal
I wish I could be more positive, but the organ is seen in the same light as the brass band and the tea dance and I don't think there is anything we can do about it, even with pyrotechnic support. . . . . What we must do, however, is to give every encouragement to those kids who do take an interest and accept the risk that they might do things with the instrument that we don't like, while they are on the road to enlightenment.

Hi!

 

It's nice to have stirred up some disapproval . . . thought I might! Actually it's quite interesting that in getting people to recitals who don't consider themselves musical one gets a greater acceptance of repertoire that others have more difficulty with - so combining Tournemire with Yon in the same recital went down well in November.

 

However, I asked "does anyone do transcriptions of Stairway to Heaven"? Yes I agree with numerous aspects of the naysayers and the temporary nature of gimmics - but actually balloon-drops are a feature of nightclub culture - especially if there is the odd £5 note inside or a voucher for a holiday or other prize . . . And shouldn't we take on, not the happy-clappy brigade but a bit more of the contemporary music in our culture? Not just trying to convert those who find the bridge of dialogue difficult to cross but engaging them with a welcoming meeting of hands?

 

Led Zep have made a comeback and we can capitalise on it for the instrument - and they offer some tunes which are actually recognisable rather some of the techno-junk that one hears coming out of the boix-de-nuits nowadays. One only need pretend to have the ability to sleep on top of a coffin . . . :unsure: Perhaps one does not have to do it for real! ;)

 

Yes that might be difficult in an ecclesiastical context, which is exactly why I am taking the classical instrument into a different arena in which the instrument and its repertoire can be judged on its own merits without strings attached.

 

So has anyone a stomping thudding contemporary encore ready to pop out from up their sleeve?

 

What appeals is that the Organ is the only instrument to have the frequencies to shake the floor, which is just what the young generation are looking for!

 

That's why I'll passionately defend that organ with the outrageous Ophicliede and largest open wood in the country till my dying day - it was a perfect diet for teenage testosterone! None of those veggies can compete! We're looking for carnivore organists here!

 

:lol:

 

Best wishes

 

David P

 

PS I'm aiming to get such momentum going that we can fill a venue for 700 people for some organ-rebuilding fundraising concerts. Challenge: who can do that now (rather than 20 years ago), and with an average age of 40 rather than an average age of 65 or more?

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What appeals is that the Organ is the only instrument to have the frequencies to shake the floor, which is just what the young generation are looking for!

But you are making the assumption that's what the young generation want. My feeling is that we'd do better to stick to doing what we, and do it well, rather than aim to do something which we aren't equipped to. In our Circuit, apparently we're trying to open a 'Cafe Church' as it will connect with those who don't go to church; it will be a cafe in the day, and have Alpha courses, Bible study, and worship in the evening. It's up against 15 other 'secular' cafe's already in the city. Looks wonderful on paper, but my feeling is that if as churches we concentrated on doing what we do, and doing it well, this would be better than trying to turn the church into a circus. I'm all for contemporary worship; some I've been to has been great, but most has been awful; badly planned, and certainly not very theologically sound. This kind of 'all age chaos' as we call it, does nothing other than put people off coming as far as I'm concerned. I'm all for new things, but don't try to make it into things it isn't. Young people don't want to go to things which are 'dumbed down' to try to make them more appealing.

 

David

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Guest spottedmetal
But you are making the assumption that's what the young generation want. My feeling is that we'd do better to stick to doing what we, and do it well, rather than aim to do something which we aren't equipped to. In our Circuit, apparently we're trying to open a 'Cafe Church' as it will connect with those who don't go to church; it will be a cafe in the day, and have Alpha courses, Bible study, and worship in the evening. . . . Young people don't want to go to things which are 'dumbed down' to try to make them more appealing. David

 

Dear David et al

 

I quite agree with you on the pastoral front. But that's not what I'm talking about: I'm talking about THE ORGAN as an instrument and a repertoire that simply is not appreciated in its own right - Vierne, Widor, Guilmant, Pierne, Gigout should all be names as familiar as Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner.

 

To many of the young generation, even these are unknowns.

 

Unlike MD, I don't sleep on top of a coffin but can pretend to - so when Jehovah's Witnesses come around I tell them that I am a priest of a Temple of Apollo, :unsure: and when school parties come I deliver the message of Job Chapter 1 and Genesis 6 as they lead to monotheism, to self awareness of right and temptation, and to the self-responsibility implanted within us from Above through discussion of the politics of the Parthenon Frieze .

 

We don't need to dumb down, just have a few encores up our sleeves which show that we are capable of talking with the other side, the neglected and the forgotten - those who have never ventured inside a church before. Our houseguest at the weekend who came to the prestigious recital picked up a bible at the end of the pew and afterwards announced that she could almost become Christian . . . and I encouraged her to go to her local church in Andratx Mallorca where there is an interesting organ. She was shocked, after having gone to a fuddy-duddy organ recital to be taken to a nightclub - what really shocked her was to find that we could relate to her generation - and in so doing, she has been introduced to relating to ours.

 

So if people won't come to services, I'm in wholehearted agreement with taking a service to a car boot sale or a shopping mall - it can work - which is why I have taken a cathedral organ outside the church.

 

We simply need to extend hands.

 

Am I serious? YES I AM! The young generation seek the "AWESOME ! :lol: , man"

 

And the organ can supply it! We just have to supply the music. And that is not hymn tunes that come straight out of Salad Days. It's the wild, the overpowering, the creator, the destroyer, the healer. * The organ and its repertoire can do all of that. It needs to relate.

 

So does anyone have a transcription of Stairway to Heaven up their sleeve, or the typewriter 9-5 song one hears in the young culture, whatever it's called?

 

Best wishes

 

David P

 

PS - I'm not sure that we should widen the debate beyond the organ and musicality here but have responded on this theme as the organ does have such an evangelical role to play.

 

* PPS That's why I believe that "hated" organ is a good organ - it can express all of that. The veggies can't - or can they? (Better start a new thread on that!)

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But you are making the assumption that's what the young generation want. My feeling is that we'd do better to stick to doing what we, and do it well, rather than aim to do something which we aren't equipped to. In our Circuit, apparently we're trying to open a 'Cafe Church' as it will connect with those who don't go to church; it will be a cafe in the day, and have Alpha courses, Bible study, and worship in the evening. It's up against 15 other 'secular' cafe's already in the city. Looks wonderful on paper, but my feeling is that if as churches we concentrated on doing what we do, and doing it well, this would be better than trying to turn the church into a circus. I'm all for contemporary worship; some I've been to has been great, but most has been awful; badly planned, and certainly not very theologically sound. This kind of 'all age chaos' as we call it, does nothing other than put people off coming as far as I'm concerned. I'm all for new things, but don't try to make it into things it isn't. Young people don't want to go to things which are 'dumbed down' to try to make them more appealing.

 

David

I agree entirely.

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As someone still on the right side of thirty, I would argue strongly that we need to showcase our wonderful exciting instrument at its very best. No embarassing gimmicks, no haphazard arrangements of music never suitable for the organ, no patronising stances or over-enthusiastic comments about the sheer range of sound it can produce. Children and teenagers are not stupid - indeed they have a clear and unbiased viewpoint that puts that of most adults to shame, although modern culture is eroding this away with its cynicism and requirement for 'cool'.

 

I'm not suggesting playing a whole Vierne symphony to a primary school class - common sense should always prevail - but I feel that, if we present good examples of the instrument in a straight but engaging way - remember the teacher who most inspired you at school: their approach - people will make up their minds based on the organ's merits alone.

 

In case of confusion, I don't mean to criticise Spottedmetal's upcoming event - the very best of luck, it sounds exciting! I'm talking about a general approach to a wider audience.

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However, I asked "does anyone do transcriptions of Stairway to Heaven"?

 

I was once asked to play this during the communion at a Roman Catholic wedding. The priest said I wasn't allowed, so had to disguise it in a sort of improvisatory baroque style chorale preulde. Sounds like a horrid suggestion, but the priest didn't recognise the tune, but all the rockers in the bridal party did.

 

Success!

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Smoke on the Water can come out like the start of the plainsong Te Deum if incorporated in some Langlais like harmonies. I sometimes use this or Postman Pat depending on whether it is a family service or something slightly more grown up. Once a teenage type did come up and ask me whether it was the former which I took as a complement - l'ucky I was playing the right one that day!

 

AJJ

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As someone still on the right side of thirty, I would argue strongly that we need to showcase our wonderful exciting instrument at its very best. No embarassing gimmicks, no haphazard arrangements of music never suitable for the organ, no patronising stances or over-enthusiastic comments about the sheer range of sound it can produce. Children and teenagers are not stupid - indeed they have a clear and unbiased viewpoint that puts that of most adults to shame, although modern culture is eroding this away with its cynicism and requirement for 'cool'.

That is just so true; I agree entirely!

 

David

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Guest spottedmetal
I was once asked to play this during the communion at a Roman Catholic wedding. The priest said I wasn't allowed, so had to disguise it in a sort of improvisatory baroque style chorale preulde. Sounds like a horrid suggestion, but the priest didn't recognise the tune, but all the rockers in the bridal party did.

 

Success!

:-) Thank goodness for someone at last! I was beginning to feel quite squashed! :unsure:

 

This is just what I mean by "extending hands" and it sounds as though it really worked very well.

 

It's so much the means by which this generation can feel included and understood - and similarly feel that they can partake - and similarly with the organist able to play their tune it means that a happy-clappy revolution is not necessary for them to feel comfortable in coming in . . .

 

I'm looking forward to reports of other exploits!

 

I first did this sort of changing audience perception when putting on musical fireworks displays. Handel got boring, and people thought we were playing the Water Music, and the orchestral 1812 was clicheed . . . so I shocked the traditional audience with Stairway . . . and they loved it. Very wicked - sorry ! :lol:

 

Terrible sense of humour - someone paid me back a while ago persuading me that they were serious in invoking Bryant & May as an organ restorer! They thought it hilariously funny ;)

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal

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:-) Thank goodness for someone at last! I was beginning to feel quite squashed! :unsure:

 

I'm sure people didn't mean to squash you. I think people here are pretty well meaning by their comments.

 

My experience has always been that, whilst you need to get them through the door, and often something fun aimed at children is useful, they often come for the 'real' thing. I have found this in the past with organ pupils, but more significantly find it all the time at present with the choirs. They prefer 'real' music, and are highly critical of anything inferior, whatever its genre or period. Last Sunday the girls & men sang: Farrant: Call to remembrance, Tomkins Responses, Byrd: Second Service and Amner: I will sing under the Lord (verse anthem version, not the other one). On Monday, some of them said how much they enjoy this music. When we go into schools to recruit, we do an excercise or two with the whole school (usually one by Barry Rose I believe based on football teams), but they always sing a real piece, even if it is a popular one, last time 'Panis Angelicus'.

 

I think it is an excellent idea to offer opportunities for young people to experience the organ. However, I'm always worried about people's perception of what children and young people like. I remember going to a conference/workshop at Worth Abbey where the keynote speaker was the Abbot. He told the story of a service they held one evening, a choir prayerful service, where there was a small group of teenagers/early twenties present. Afterwards, he spoke to them, and asked if they had enjoyed the service. They said that, yes that had, it was very peaceful and quiet and they relished that experience. They said they had tried a few 'house churches' on the south coast, where the music was led by a group of aging rockers, trying to reclaim their youth by offering what they thought young people wanted, but it had been a complete turn off, what they really wanted was peace and quiet and time to think about life and reflect. The Abbot asked these young people what they did, and the said they were a rock band.

 

Jonathan

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Guest spottedmetal

People appear to be avoiding the serious issue:

I'm aiming to get such momentum going that we can fill a venue for 700 people for some organ-rebuilding fundraising concerts. Challenge:

1. who can do that now (rather than 20 years ago), and

2. with an average age of 40 rather than an average age of 65 or more?

 

Any ideas on that?

 

Best wishes

 

David P

 

PS Thanks to Jonathan about being well meaning - love the story of the Abott and the Rock Band :unsure::huh:;):wacko::lol::):D:lol: - don't worry, I don't take negativity to heart.

 

When on committees years ago, I loved seeing reactions when I'd either play Devil's Advocate or otherwise throw a cat in amongst the pigeons upon seeing an opportunity to make a necessary controversial observation.

 

Upon seeing that poor organ at Staplefield Convent destroyed by vandals with bulldozers in the name of development, I knew that we need to do something - and get people to sit up and re-think - so thus the challenge above.

 

Great thanks to Quentin for his support - Heavy Organ, here we come, Aeneid in hand!

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They prefer 'real' music, and are highly critical of anything inferior, whatever its genre or period.

Which of course does not exclude elements of contemporary culture. Think, for instance, of the Quodlibet in Bach's Goldberg Variations - rather the equivalent of slipping in some "unauthorised" tunes, I should think.

 

Paul

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I am mystified by posts that include both "Stairway to Heaven" and "this generation". Should this perhaps read "Stairway to Heaven" and "my generation"? Is "this generation" particularly familiar with "Stairway to Heaven"?

 

Of course this may in fact be my complete ignorance of some "Stairway to Heaven" remix currently playing one of these dreadful disco-tecca-ques ( you know, where they play po-pu-laaarr music).

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