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Mander Organs

Interrupted Voluntary


PBJ

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Guest Stanley Monkhouse

I really don't know what you're complaining about. I'm pleased with hymns well played and voluntaries well practised. I agree that sermons should be interesting: I've had no complaints so far. As for your comments about council tax, although I can't see what that has to do with the point at issue other than sniping about clergy, there is much to be said for a complete revision of clergy terms and conditions: it may well be better for stipendiary clergy to be paid a wage in the expectation that they house themselves. Such a review might also include the question of proper reimbursement for expenses. All this is another issue. I must say I like your implication that I do what I do for financial gain. That's very amusing!

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As for your comments about council tax, although I can't see what that has to do with the point at issue other than sniping about clergy, there is much to be said for a complete revision of clergy terms and conditions: it may well be better for stipendiary clergy to be paid a wage in the expectation that they house themselves.

And organists too! In my last post I did 35 hours a week!

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Confrontation and tantrums (I know I'm exaggerating here) have no place in the Christian family that is a church. Disagreements, yes, but they should be talked over in a spirit of harmony.

Would you say the same for real families too, but as we know, the whole relationship of families has tantrums, confrontation and disagreements, it doesn't stop them being a family.

 

As for your comments about what actually happens, that doesn't make it right or what should happen. I'm not looking to have my ego smoothed, yes its nice when something says something, but when I decided to be an organist, it was because I wanted to serve God and the church. It is my way to worship.

 

Jonathan

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Would you say the same for real families too, but as we know, the whole relationship of families has tantrums, confrontation and disagreements, it doesn't stop them being a family.

 

As for your comments about what actually happens, that doesn't make it right or what should happen. I'm not looking to have my ego smoothed, yes its nice when something says something, but when I decided to be an organist, it was because I wanted to serve God and the church. It is my way to worship.

 

Jonathan

I think that tantrums are best left to toddlers. (And confrontation - as opposed to discussion - to families in Eastenders!)

 

I accept that being an organist is your way to worship, but what about the rest of the congregation? Is it a case for them of "take it or leave it?"

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I think that tantrums are best left to toddlers. (And confrontation - as opposed to discussion - to families in Eastenders!)

 

I accept that being an organist is your way to worship, but what about the rest of the congregation? Is it a case for them of "take it or leave it?"

 

So to that extent, if people find that they cannot worship during the sermon, or intercessions, perhaps they should feel free to have a coffee at the back and a chat!

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It happened to me a few months ago. I had just started the final voluntary when the priest began waving his arms up and down and shouting "Peter, stop!". I stopped, and he carried on to announce...

 

"I forgot to say that Peter is giving an organ reciital this evening at 7.00....."

 

So I couldn't complain, really!

 

Peter

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So to that extent, if people find that they cannot worship during the sermon, or intercessions, perhaps they should feel free to have a coffee at the back and a chat!

 

The pre-service voluntary can be very helpful in setting the mood for the service and the voluntary after the service can send people off feeling joyful or possibly thoughtful during Lent or Passiontide. I take both seriously.

 

However, no-one but an organist would suggest the the voluntaries are actually part of the services - "Ita missa est" the mass is over! I would consider it very arrogant of me to suggest that members of the congregation should feel obliged to listen to me play after the service - if they wish to, great. But why should they have to - they've come to worship God, not the organist! (If I required them to listen I would play for no more than 90 seconds.)

 

The RSCM Sunday by Sunday gives ideas for organ music "Before", "During" and "After" the service.

 

From Common Worship, Order One:

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

The ministers and people depart.

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Just on a point of order, and an observation ...

 

a) the RSCM is hardly an arbiter on these matters - there has been plenty of debate on the effectiveness of that organisation!

 

:rolleyes: one does think fondly of the appearance (though not the acoustic) of many non-conformist churches and chapels, where the congregation sits facing the organ. ;)

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However, no-one but an organist would suggest the the voluntaries are actually part of the services

...which begs the question of what function they do then serve. Either we play them to enhance the worship experience, in which case they are effectively part of the service whatever the semantic arguments (and those who do not wish to use it to enhance their worship should have regard for those who do and bugger off in silence), or they are not, in which case they can only serve a secular function, either massaging the organist's ego or entertaining the congregation - or both. I suppose whether one views pure entertainment as appropriate after an act of worship depends on one's attitude to worship. Personally I am gradually coming round to the view that, in institutions where music does not provide the dominant medium for worship, the voluntary is an outmoded irrelevance that would really be better discontinued. Just have a recessional hymn and be done wit it. Realistically, once everyone has got over the initial shock of change, who is going to care less?

 

Only half in jest...

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Whether the voluntary is part of the service is an issue that often crops up when the subject of applauding is discussed. Those who think applause inappropriate (like myself) often argue that the voluntary is part of the service and, just as you wouldn't dream of applauding the priest for the way he delivered the collect or the epiclesis, neither should you applaud the organist's delivery of the voluntary.

 

Most organists I know do indeed listen to the entire voluntary in silence when attending a service at which they are not playing.

 

At York Minster, the voluntary may be a very substantial piece indeed (the Reubke for instance) and plenty of people sit in silence to appreciate it: unfortunately they tend to applaud at the end (grrrrrrrrrrrrr!). I seem to remember there are notices on the stalls asking the congo to leave in silence if they are not staying to listen to the voluntary!

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...which begs the question of what function they do then serve. Either we play them to enhance the worship experience, in which case they are effectively part of the service whatever the semantic arguments (and those who do not wish to use it to enhance their worship should have regard for those who do and bugger off in silence),

 

Only half in jest...

 

Certainly to enhance the worship - but not part of it. Actually I think people are much more inclined to sit and listen to voluntaries than they used to be. (Remember how Vaughan Williams defined a fugue).

 

In a church like mine the congregation needs to have the chance to talk to each other and there is nowhere for them to go except the back of the church. Nearly all come from outside the parish and this after-service fellowship is far more important than my voluntary.

 

If I was upset by this I would indeed have the option of not playing a voluntary.

 

I wonder if we should have a rule that choirs should not leave until the voluntary is over?

 

Off for a couple of days holiday now.

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...which begs the question of what function they do then serve. Either we play them to enhance the worship experience, in which case they are effectively part of the service whatever the semantic arguments (and those who do not wish to use it to enhance their worship should have regard for those who do and bugger off in silence), or they are not, in which case they can only serve a secular function, either massaging the organist's ego or entertaining the congregation - or both. I suppose whether one views pure entertainment as appropriate after an act of worship depends on one's attitude to worship. Personally I am gradually coming round to the view that, in institutions where music does not provide the dominant medium for worship, the voluntary is an outmoded irrelevance that would really be better discontinued. Just have a recessional hymn and be done wit it. Realistically, once everyone has got over the initial shock of change, who is going to care less?

 

Only half in jest...

 

This helps me to understand views you have expressed elswhere. :rolleyes:

 

Mostly in jest...

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Certainly to enhance the worship - but not part of it.

But this is an oxymoron, surely? If something serves to enhance the worship it cannot help being part of that worship. Take the sermon. It may be a liturgical plug-in, unsanctioned by the prayer book, and it may not be as integral to the worship, or serve the same function as other parts of it, but it is there to enhance the divine message and, as such, becomes part of the service. To suggest otherwise would, I think, be semantic. Same with voluntaries.

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This helps me to understand views you have expressed elswhere. :rolleyes:

 

Mostly in jest...

By and large the drivel I spout depends on how much I've overdosed on the grumpy granules and some of it probably seems contradictory at times, but it isn't really. It's just that, with respect to parish worship, my ideals and the practicalities are entirely irreconcilable. It's not my place to interfere, so I defer entirely to those who exercise the cure of souls and let them get on with it - but I retain the right to stand on the touch line, shouting abuse at the referee!

 

Barely in jest...

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Guest Patrick Coleman
By and large the drivel I spout depends on how much I've overdosed on the grumpy granules and some of it probably seems contradictory at times, but it isn't really. It's just that, with respect to parish worship, my ideals and the practicalities are entirely irreconcilable. It's not my place to interfere, so I defer entirely to those who exercise the cure of souls and let them get on with it - but I retain the right to stand on the touch line, shouting abuse at the referee!

 

Barely in jest...

 

I have not yet read any drivel under the Vox Humana handle. Do you have another alias we don't know about?

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Take the sermon. It may be a liturgical plug-in, unsanctioned by the prayer book.

 

At the Eucharist, the sermon is (or should be) an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word, unfolding Scripture and helping to relate what has been read to the real lives of the people who hear it. At Morning or Evening Prayer it should be a useful teaching opportunity. Clergy who use it to rabbit on, show off, or as an extended lecture, are abusing their position.

 

I wonder what response I might get if I suggested that voluntaries should offer something similar, mutatis mutandis? :rolleyes:

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I can blame neither clergy, congregation, nor liturgical reform for the only time I can remember my closing voluntary being interrupted. Christmas Midnight Mass at St Peter ad Vincula, HM Tower of London. I'm halfway through Dieu Parmi Nous with the help of a pageturner ten times the musician I am when a Yeoman Warder comes right up to me and tells me "Stop, it's time to go!" or somesuch. I stopped, feeling angry and aggrieved, but couldn't lash out at anyone.

 

In my current job I'm left to play undisturbed after the service often with a few people listening and watching close by (I'm always happy to see young children taking an interest) whilst clergy and the majority of the congregation are enjoying coffee and biscuits at the other end.

 

I'm reconciled to being interrupted before the service by clergy keen to check details of order, announcements of hymns etc, - much better to sort stuff out then than it all go wrong in the service.

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I have not yet read any drivel under the Vox Humana handle. Do you have another alias we don't know about?

Thank you, kind sir - you are far too generous. :)

 

At the Eucharist, the sermon is (or should be) an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word, unfolding Scripture and helping to relate what has been read to the real lives of the people who hear it. At Morning or Evening Prayer it should be a useful teaching opportunity. Clergy who use it to rabbit on, show off, or as an extended lecture, are abusing their position.

 

I wonder what response I might get if I suggested that voluntaries should offer something similar, mutatis mutandis? :o

I did not at all mean to imply that sermons are otiose, but merely wished to point out that the Book of Common Prayer made no provision for them in its services and as such they are - or were - not technically part of an Anglican service. To be honest, I've not looked to see what Common Worship says; there may well now be specific provision for them. At any rate, for centuries there was none.

 

I'm halfway through Dieu Parmi Nous with the help of a pageturner ten times the musician I am when a Yeoman Warder comes right up to me and tells me "Stop, it's time to go!" or somesuch.

I remember a head verger who, immediately Evensong was over, would go around chivvying people out of the church. On more than one occasion he was reprimanded following complaints from people who wished to listen to the voluntary. Quite disgraceful really.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I merely wished to point out that the Book of Common Prayer never made no provision for them in its services and such they are - or were - not technically part of an Anglican service.

 

BCP (1662) provides for a Sermon after the notices at Holy Communion. There was even a series of homilies printed for the use of those clergy who were incapable of preaching a decent one!

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  • 2 months later...
To be serious for a bit, this is the key to it, and I know we have gone into this on other threads before. The voluntary at the end, as much as the voluntary before are part of worship, and part of our worship in particular. Our gifts are as organists, and we offer these gifts (whether paid or not) as part of worship, and as a gift to God. For someone to then get up and destroy that gift is at the best insensitive and rude and at the worst an offence to God himself. As a people we are here to worship God, and this includes the voluntary!

 

As an aside, the people who make these announcements tend to be the same people that complain when a baby cries in the service that it is interfering with 'their' worship'

 

Jonathan

Crying babies for me aren't a problem - it's the mewling spawn that so called 'enlightened' parents think should be allowed to wander up and down the aisles, crying, chatting, screaming or playing with toys, with no regard whatsoever to the sensitivities of other parishioners who want to listen to the music . If they can't respect the msic how can they understand what God's saying?

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