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Things That Happen At Christmas......


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'Got in today to play - music prepared etc. B flat on the pedals was 'off' so my final Toccata (everything sharp in the key signature) had to be abandoned - mind you this could happen any sunday! Then there are the random descants - I was doing 'Hymn book' for everything (plus a couple of varied endings) yet still the 'known-by everyone' CFC1 descant appeared for O Little Town...... I wish they wouldn't!

 

Any other similar?

 

A

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Guest Patrick Coleman

Church heating failed this afternoon so instead of compering the Town Carol Concert I'll be standing out in the cold turning people away. Already spent several hours in the cold trying to persuade the heating to work! :huh:

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Church heating failed this afternoon so instead of compering the Town Carol Concert I'll be standing out in the cold turning people away. Already spent several hours in the cold trying to persuade the heating to work! :huh:

Harumphhh dear Father.....

Rather than turning the punters away, it would be good to remind them that there was no heating in the stable either..... :ph34r:

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Harumphhh dear Father.....

Rather than turning the punters away, it would be good to remind them that there was no heating in the stable either..... :huh:

 

This happened last year to us - my boss shortened the sermon etc. and reduced the hymns to a couple of verses - I was ok as I have my own heater though...

 

A

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Harumphhh dear Father.....

Rather than turning the punters away, it would be good to remind them that there was no heating in the stable either..... :huh:

 

If it had been a service rather than a public concert I might well have done... But they have heard that stuff umpteen times in the past and it made no difference!

 

So harumph to you too - and I will now seek out some warming medication.

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I slipped over on the ice on my way to lunch today. I currently have a right elbow about the size of a small melon, with about 20 degrees of painful, slow movement. I also had the carol service this evening, and due to unforeseen circumstances, was having to do both organist and choir master...

 

Thankfully, the choir was in good voice and although I currently conduct like a Gerry Anderson puppet (I almost felt like shouting "F A B Virgil!" as I waved my hands), as soon as I heard the choir, I knew things would be OK. A friend came over and helped with the stops (which are slightly stiff and I couldn't really reach higher than the Great Principal). Somehow I managed it through to the end (although the final few pages of Jehan Alain's Litanies on a mechanical action organ were rather painful) but think I might visit A&E tomorrow...

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I slipped over on the ice on my way to lunch today. I currently have a right elbow about the size of a small melon, with about 20 degrees of painful, slow movement. I also had the carol service this evening, and due to unforeseen circumstances, was having to do both organist and choir master...

 

Thankfully, the choir was in good voice and although I currently conduct like a Gerry Anderson puppet (I almost felt like shouting "F A B Virgil!" as I waved my hands), as soon as I heard the choir, I knew things would be OK. A friend came over and helped with the stops (which are slightly stiff and I couldn't really reach higher than the Great Principal). Somehow I managed it through to the end (although the final few pages of Jehan Alain's Litanies on a mechanical action organ were rather painful) but think I might visit A&E tomorrow...

 

 

-------------------------------------------

 

 

Sorry to hear about the accident.

 

Many moons ago, I had a slight altercation with a stone wall, after losing the plot driving in a road-rally on snow and ice covered Yorkshire Dales roads.

 

(I recall thinking that it was going to hurt just before the car made contact with the stones. I was travelling at about 60mph!)

 

I didn't break anything, (other than the car and a section of wall), but I did manage to bend the steering wheel around my forearm and I was trapped for some time, before someone kindly unbolted the driver-seat and they carted me off to Northallerton Hospital.

 

It was a rare "White Crhristmas," and with two cracked ribs, my left arm in a sling and a badly twisted right ankle in an elastic stocking, I somehow staggered into church on crutches, looking like something the cat had caught and dragged in off the street.

 

I managed to get through everything, with judcious use of sub-octave couplers, but I wouldn't say that it was my best performance by any means. However, I did have to substitute the Bach "Fantasia in G major" for the Widor; instantly re-arranging it on the fly, for right hand pleno with 16ft and Swell Sub Octave to Great.

 

Of course, I got heaps of sympathy, people stirred my tea for me and a chorister stood dutifully by my side, holding a plate and handing me a mince-pie periodically.

 

:huh:

 

MM

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In the organ gallery where I was playing beneath a non too airtight west window I had two sturdy heaters by the side of me, as well as a TCL scarf wraped round me. The good thing was that, led by the choir of that church, my performance of Dieu Parmi Nous got an unexpected loud applause.

 

I had earned the mulled wine that was on offer afterwards.

 

Malcolm

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Guest Patrick Coleman
A former colleague of mine used to say of his countrymen,

 

'The Welsh are not born - they are hewn out of the solid rock.'

 

Clearly, solid rock isn't what it used to be. :lol:

 

No wonder the English think we're stupid. :P

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I have often wondered whether I hold some sort of record. About 40 years ago, during an IAO Congress in Cardiff, I, English through and through, sat in a Chinese restaurant in the middle of Cardiff, eating roast and beef and Yorkshire pudding. Am I unique? (No rude answers, please - 'tis the season of goodwill)

 

Malcolm

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I have often wondered whether I hold some sort of record. About 40 years ago, during an IAO Congress in Cardiff, I, English through and through, sat in a Chinese restaurant in the middle of Cardiff, eating roast and beef and Yorkshire pudding. Am I unique? (No rude answers, please - 'tis the season of goodwill)

 

Malcolm

 

Roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding & Soy Sauce?

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'Got in today to play - music prepared etc. B flat on the pedals was 'off' so my final Toccata (everything sharp in the key signature) had to be abandoned - mind you this could happen any sunday! Then there are the random descants - I was doing 'Hymn book' for everything (plus a couple of varied endings) yet still the 'known-by everyone' CFC1 descant appeared for O Little Town...... I wish they wouldn't!

 

Any other similar?

 

A

 

Exactly the same happened to me at Clifton one year - I used the last verse arrangements in the School Hymnal (for a change) but members of the congregation below pitched in with Willcocks (never mind that I was playing in A flat so the high notes would have given them something to think about in any case) and I was later sniped at for "not playing the descant." (As if it were the only one ever written! Hmph!)

 

Ironically, now I'm at Kendal the opposite happens - I play the descants (familiar or otherwise) and no-one joins in, not even the Boys whom I've taken through the stuff. (Clearly I have to stand in front of them beating time with one hand and waving a copy at them with the other before they'll realise they're meant to be singing something other than the "chune...")

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I have often wondered whether I hold some sort of record. About 40 years ago, during an IAO Congress in Cardiff, I, English through and through, sat in a Chinese restaurant in the middle of Cardiff, eating roast and beef and Yorkshire pudding. Am I unique? (No rude answers, please - 'tis the season of goodwill)

 

Malcolm

 

 

I'm reminded of Stephen Bicknell reviewing a new UK organ, built by a Danish firm, with a Solo Tuba whose pipes came from a German pipemaker and were stamped 'Englische Tuba'.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Church heating failed this afternoon so instead of compering the Town Carol Concert I'll be standing out in the cold turning people away. Already spent several hours in the cold trying to persuade the heating to work! :rolleyes:

 

Readers may or may not be glad to know that (as a result of prayer, not of engineers) the heating was happy to come on at 07.30 today with no encouragement required. It'll stay on now until after Midnight Mass. The Swell might have reached the same temperature as the rest of the organ by then! ;)

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Exactly the same happened to me at Clifton one year - I used the last verse arrangements in the School Hymnal (for a change) but members of the congregation below pitched in with Willcocks (never mind that I was playing in A flat so the high notes would have given them something to think about in any case) and I was later sniped at for "not playing the descant." (As if it were the only one ever written! Hmph!)

 

Ironically, now I'm at Kendal the opposite happens - I play the descants (familiar or otherwise) and no-one joins in, not even the Boys whom I've taken through the stuff. (Clearly I have to stand in front of them beating time with one hand and waving a copy at them with the other before they'll realise they're meant to be singing something other than the "chune...")

 

I'll forgive them insisting on the descant in the familiar stuff this year (as its DW's 90th), but as for not singing what we've rehearsed (sometimes ad nauseam) no sanction could be severe enough ....

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'Got in today to play - music prepared etc. B flat on the pedals was 'off' so my final Toccata (everything sharp in the key signature) had to be abandoned - mind you this could happen any sunday!

This reminds me of Christmas 1983 and my final days at St Thomas (City), Bristol. The diocese had decided that a 30-strong choir and a regular congregation of about six was insufficient reason to keep the church open any longer and had ordered its closure. The closing event was to be the nine lessons and carols service for the church's own congregation (as opposed to several other carol services we did for various organisations every Christmas). A nice lady from the local radio got wind of this and rang me, asking whether she could interview me about it at the church a few days beforehand. She said she wanted to start the interview by interrupting me playing something. No problem. I was planning to play the Final from Vierne's Symphony no.1 as my voluntary. That would do nicely, I thought.

 

The interviewer and I met at the church as arranged. I opened up the organ and set about trying a couple of bars before she started recording. I hit the buffers immediately when I found that the bottom A on the pedals was inexplicably not working. It was as dead as a Dodo and quite beyond my humble powers to rectify, so I had to substitute a manuals-only French noël instead. It wasn't really a satisfactory substitute, but I doubt the radio listeners were bothered.

 

It was all rather puzzling. It is true that the organ could have done with a restoration, but there were no major problems and the Osmond boys in Taunton kept it going very reliably. The note had been working perfectly the previous Sunday and I knew that if my assistant had broken something he would have told me. No one else had keys to the church and the organ - or did they? Well, not officially, but it does seem that there was a phantom player. I was once passing the place and heard the organ playing. My assistant later swore it wasn't him. I guess it must have been the same person who stole my copy of Flor Peeters' Largo from the music cupboard by the console. I think I know who this was, but my suspicion of deliberate sabotage remains unconfirmed. Fortunately Osmonds came to the rescue and got everything back to normal with hours to spare.

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We sometimes provide the Sunday school kids with a package of percussion instruments for the last hymn - quite fun if it is 'O Happy Day' or 'Blessed be the name of the Lord' etc. (not played on a pipe organ, of course).

However, this morning, the last was 'Unto us is born a Son' - the 'full Willcocks' (the full Monty?) from CfC1 with a different arrangement for each verse, and descant.

 

So I was faintly disturbed during Communion when 'Infant Holy' and 'Away in a Manger' were accompanied by an increasing chatter and jangle of tambourines.

 

The first verse of 'Unto Us...' was OK as it is fairly loud but verse 2 (unacc.) was a sleigh ride. The kids were totally unfazed by the parallel 5ths on full swell in verse 3 (which I'm sure would normally terrify Herod) and I consider that they won verse 4 on points when pitted unequally against the ladies and mp manuals.

Which just left verse 5 as a final slugging match. The organ thundered, but impartial observers would consider it a draw. :(

 

There's always next year.

Which reminds me, Happy New Year, everyone!

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Over the past few weeks as the winter weather has set in I have endured the following:

1. Open Diapason 2 on Great giving up entirely

2. Open Diapason 1 (aka QE2's foghorn) being "slow" coming on

3. Great Trumpet sticking on (an interesting playover for Silent Night was how this announced itself

4. Top C# on the Tromba (being used as a replacement Gt Trumpet(!)) ciphering during midnight mass (cured only by shut down and restart)

5. Finally on Christmas morning I got to the end of Vierne 2 Final, forgot about the ciphering C#, so added the Tromba, and more or less simultaneously the pedal contact on G jammed. Perplexed looks form people as the final (mostly D major) chord died away leaving a vast pedal G and a piercing top C#.

 

Ah well, taking next Sunday off.

Merry Christmas

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Over the past few weeks as the winter weather has set in I have endured the following:

1. Open Diapason 2 on Great giving up entirely

2. Open Diapason 1 (aka QE2's foghorn) being "slow" coming on

3. Great Trumpet sticking on (an interesting playover for Silent Night was how this announced itself

4. Top C# on the Tromba (being used as a replacement Gt Trumpet(!)) ciphering during midnight mass (cured only by shut down and restart)

5. Finally on Christmas morning I got to the end of Vierne 2 Final, forgot about the ciphering C#, so added the Tromba, and more or less simultaneously the pedal contact on G jammed. Perplexed looks form people as the final (mostly D major) chord died away leaving a vast pedal G and a piercing top C#.

 

Ah well, taking next Sunday off.

Merry Christmas

 

..............maybe you should have asked Santa for a new one!

 

A

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G# above middle C died at 3pm on Christmas Eve, just as I was trying to wrap up the Festival Toccata for the evening's two services. Fortunately the churchwarden is both handy with a soldering iron (which I certainly am not) and quite used to calls of this nature at Christmas/Easter/major weddings/etc. etc. Our new Wyvern should be in place at Easter or so. Hallelujah.

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