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Hate To Brag.....


Jeremy Ewen
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Yay, folks, have just about recovered from the organ playing marathon. Due to illnesses, long term deputizing, etc, I did 7 services over the last two weekends:

 

18th Dec:

 

9.30 Communion

3.00 Carol Service

6.30 Carol Service

 

24th Dec:

 

5.30 Crib and Christingle

11.15 midnight Communion

 

25th Dec:

 

9.30 Family Service

11.15 Family Service

 

Yes, I know the repertoire is all the same but the sheer concentration of sitting on a hard organ bench for x hours is purgatory! And as none of our group of churches has WC facilities I have to watch the fluid intake to enable performances to take place "in comfort". And I don't like being thirsty.

 

Anyone do more than this?

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I did considerably less than this....none at all, in fact.

 

I didn't listen to King's, I haven't heard a single carol because I've been listening to Bach on the Beeb rather than Classic FM and I didn't go to church.

 

However, in previous years......

 

I foolishly agreed to cover for a sick organist one year, at a catholic church, in addition to mine own. This entailed a Saturday/Sunday Christmas as we have had this time around. The church in question had different mass times, so the schedule was as follows:-

 

Public School Carol Service the week before Xmas.....50 mile drive each way.

 

Christmas Eve 8pm First Xmas Mass (Church A)

11.30pm Midnight Mass (Church B....finished at 2am)

 

Christmas Day: 9am Mass (Church B....45 minutes, thinly attended)

10am Mass (Part of it Church A....left last few hymns to a pianist)

11am Mass (Church B...Got there on the wire....quick "In Dulci Jubilo" CP and into first hymn)

 

Local Hospital Christmas Carol Service 2.30pm

 

I got gold and lots of incense, but not a single mince-pie or shot of brandy to keep me warm. The hospitality was about as underwhelming as the crib, but the hospital mince pie was at least edible.

 

I ended up eating Bacon & Eggs at home!

 

Humbug Sir! Humbug!

 

MM

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Humbug Sir! Humbug

 

Dear Ebeneezer/MM,

 

You seem to be reading the story in oriental fashion, ie starting at the back and working towards the start. Logically this ought to produce the reverse effect to the story as written, so are we to end (start) with a "feel-bad-factor" beginning/ending, purchase smaller coal buckets (in the name of meeting Kyoto targets), sign donation forms in respect of Tim's organs and sack Bob for poor time keeping ? Respectfully suggest that historically informed performance practice to which we are all now converted requires a return to the original CJHD text, with a return to the season of good-will rather than ill-will as its destination.Best wishes for 2006. God Bless us everyone.

 

BAC

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Yay, folks, have just about recovered from the organ playing marathon. Due to illnesses, long term deputizing, etc, I did 7 services over the last two weekends:

 

18th Dec:

 

9.30 Communion

3.00 Carol Service

6.30 Carol Service

 

24th Dec:

 

5.30 Crib and Christingle

11.15 midnight Communion

 

25th Dec:

 

9.30 Family Service

11.15 Family Service

 

Yes, I know the repertoire is all the same but the sheer concentration of sitting on a hard organ bench for x hours is purgatory! And as none of our group of churches has WC facilities I have to watch the fluid intake to enable performances to take place "in comfort". And I don't like being thirsty.

 

Anyone do more than this?

 

Hi

 

Quite a marathon - but I once played for 7 services in one day - never again! (Admittedly 3 of them were short eucharists with only 1 hymn each).

 

On a slightly different tack, for Christian Aid week this year I did a sponsored organ crawl, and played 9 different organs in one afternoon (mainly just 1 piece on each).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Yes, I know the repertoire is all the same but the sheer concentration of sitting on a hard organ bench for x hours is purgatory! And as none of our group of churches has WC facilities I have to watch the fluid intake to enable performances to take place "in comfort". And I don't like being thirsty.

I used to deputise for a couple of churches in South Kensington and Earls Court in West London, but with the pay so paltry and no WC facilities necessitating a visit to nearby bushes, I gave it up as a bad job. Why should organists have to put up with this?

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Last year, I went on holiday, ski-ing in Switzerland over xmas. Thankfully there were enough students back from University to cover my duties at church. But while I was on holiday, I ended up playing for 4 services over 3 days in churches over the ski resort.... 3 of these services were on this vile philips electrone thing. I was told afterwards that it was the highest Anglican church in Europe - Geographically, that is!

 

I had about 1 book of music with me and do you seriously think I got paid?

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I'd venture that anyone who's ever been a crematorium organist finds even the playing marathon that is Christmas a walk a the park!!

 

Crematoriums are huge fun. You get to do tons of practice, can have a cup of tea every 25 minutes, it's lovely and warm, and you can play the same piece 53 times a week. Best of all, mine has a shiny new Allen with a bolt-on midi unit containing 5000 voices, so I can have fun making septieme mixtures and nones and adding a 2' Musette plus tremulant and a 32' Contra Violone to everything. Between services, there are rounds of applause, gunshots, helicopters, waves breaking on the shore, birds tweeting etc to make the most of. And you can play Crimond in Gb in quarter comma meantone.

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Crematoriums are huge fun.  You get to do tons of practice, can have a cup of tea every 25 minutes, it's lovely and warm, and you can play the same piece 53 times a week.  Best of all, mine has a shiny new Allen with a bolt-on midi unit containing 5000 voices, so I can have fun making septieme mixtures and nones and adding a 2' Musette plus tremulant and a 32' Contra Violone to everything.  Between services, there are rounds of applause, gunshots, helicopters, waves breaking on the shore, birds tweeting etc to make the most of.  And you can play Crimond in Gb in quarter comma meantone.

 

 

This could be from a belgian. Excellent!

An organist here told me a woman had choosed for her passage there

"Allumez le feu" (Put the fire) from Johnny Halliday as music.

Even more belgian...

Pierre

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This could be from a belgian. Excellent!

An organist here told me a woman had choosed for her passage there

"Allumez le feu" (Put the fire) from Johnny Halliday as music.

Even more belgian...

Pierre

 

I've had Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash) and Smoke gets in your eyes at Cremations before now.

 

I've also had (several times), Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, which is normally fine, except one family requested that I sing it too. Singing the Life's a piece of shit line wasn't entirely comfortable for either me or the vicar!

 

I also once had a *videoed* cremation. I couldn't for the life of me understand why. Very odd.

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OK - but I am willing to bet that no-one has ever been asked to play EH No. 3 at a wedding....

 

:lol:

 

 

For those without English Hymnals, the hymn in question is:

 

Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night....

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OK - but I am willing to bet that no-one has ever been asked to play EH No. 3 at a wedding....

 

:lol:

For those without English Hymnals, the hymn in question is:

 

Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night....

 

Actually, I have...

 

Friends of mine got married in April - they requested (at the last minute, as always) a medley of "unsuitable hymns" for the signing of the register. So we had EH 3, Through the night of doubt and sorrow, Fight the good Fight, etc.

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Guest Lee Blick
Best of all, mine has a shiny new Allen with a bolt-on midi unit containing 5000 voices, so I can have fun making septieme mixtures and nones and adding a 2' Musette plus tremulant and a 32' Contra Violone to everything. Between services, there are rounds of applause, gunshots, helicopters, waves breaking on the shore, birds tweeting etc to make the most of. And you can play Crimond in Gb in quarter comma meantone

 

lol, lucky you! I had to be content with a rather crap Norwich organ. Beautiful looking, well equipped console but hugely let down by not having a woofer so the bass notes sounded thin and weedy. Do you not have a recorder playback on yours? I used to pretend to be playing Crimond, useful if I wanted the complete the crossword in the back of TV Quick. I used to pretend to be playing Amazing Grace and twist the knobclockwise one increment each verse to 'transpose' it up a semitone (or down if I felt like it)

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  I used to pretend to be playing Amazing Grace and twist the knobclockwise one increment  each verse to 'transpose' it up a semitone (or down if I felt like it)

 

I once managed to kill this 'hymn' dead in the water by modulating straight from C into F major, for the last verse. Watching the poor souls trying to reach the top notes, their necks straining and faces becoming increasingly red was quite amusing.

 

Probably would not bear repeating, though - there was the sticky five minutes in the vestry afterwards (speaking figuratively).

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Crematoriums are huge fun. You get to do tons of practice, can have a cup of tea every 25 minutes, it's lovely and warm, and you can play the same piece 53 times a week. Best of all, mine has a shiny new Allen with a bolt-on midi unit containing 5000 voices....

 

I wish my experience 20ish years ago had been as comfortable. I did two six week stints during university summer vacs.

 

The timing of the commitals was such that you were lucky to get 5 mins between services...cup of tea every 25 minutes?...pure luxury!

 

Rather than a shiny new Allen, I had to make do with a Wyvern that was pretty rubbish even by 1984 standards.

 

Mind you, it did have its interesting moments, such as arriving at 8.30 am and being told that I was playing '633 Squadron' at 11.00.

 

I never played for a videoed commital, but do remember quite a few instances of mourners appearing at my side in the galley in order to take photographs.

 

Mind you, I'm sure we've all had our fair share occasional offices where some aspect of or incedent during the service has left us with a memory that we can never fully expunge. New topic anyone?

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Guest Lee Blick
once managed to kill this 'hymn' dead in the water by modulating straight from C into F major, for the last verse. Watching the poor souls trying to reach the top notes, their necks straining and faces becoming increasingly red was quite amusing.
:lol:

 

 

You should have said your Swell Pedal slipped... :lol:

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Ha! I wish!

 

The vicar was less charitable - I think that it was the only time he called me a 'miserable sod'. (Oddly enough, he liked the hymn.) Oh well, at least my boss thought that it was funny.

 

I would have liked to hear how your congregation coped with the downwards transposition of verses!

 

:rolleyes:

 

Well, in our line of work, we have to make our own amusement.

 

I am pleased to say that I have managed to catch out several visiting organists with my copy of The History of Farting, which resides against the treble key-cheeks. With its repertoire of four authentic sounds, the long winter evensongs just fly past....The best bit is, once some unsuspecting organist has opened the book, it goes through (as it were) all four sounds - even if the book is closed immediately. One colleague had to stuff it inside his cassock, as the voluntary choir (it was August) thought that he had actually farted. He did get his own back, though - bastard!

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I once managed to kill this 'hymn' dead in the water by modulating straight from C into F major, for the last verse. Watching the poor souls trying to reach the top notes, their necks straining and faces becoming increasingly red was quite amusing.

 

Can one ask was your antipathy directed at the hymn or the congregation or both ? If the former is it the words to which you object or the tune ? Just curious.

 

BAC

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I think, if I am honest, that it is the visual association with bagpipes playing the tune (c.f Top of the Pops, c.1975) that did it for me. I have a horror of bagpipes - (is there a term for this?).

 

However, I confess that I do not like the tune either. The harmony in HoN (Anglican version) is extremely pedestrian - which did not help. After having livened-up one verse with a few ninth chords and the odd flattened tenth chord, I felt that the only way to go was up - a lot.

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I think, if I am honest, that it is the visual association with bagpipes playing the tune (c.f Top of the Pops, c.1975) that did it for me. I have a horror of bagpipes - (is there a term for this?).

 

Not to my knowledge but there is a kind of cure known as a Glasgow kiss which you might exerience if you owned up to this opinion North of the Border

 

However, I confess that I do not like the tune either. The harmony in HoN (Anglican version) is extremely pedestrian - which did not help. After having livened-up one verse with a few ninth chords and the odd flattened tenth chord, I felt that the only way to go was up - a lot.

 

Obviously. Perhaps that might have been the one occasion in your life so far when you might have found the resources of a Wurlitzer of some use. The hymn would undoubtedly create a different impression registered on sleigh bells and tuned bird whistles.

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Ha!

 

Yes - having seen a Glasgow kiss administered on TV, I am not anxious to express my thoughts too loudly!

 

However, I doubt that I am the only organist (or indeed, person) who finds the sound of bagpipes unpleasant. Beecham was fairly disparaging, too - but then, he was disparaging of most things.

 

Any lady 'cellists in the house, tonight?

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For my money, the best (and if you don't send it up also the most moving) way to play 'Amazing Grace' is is:

 

1) Add tremulants etc. and do your best to turn your instrument into a hammond.

2) Play VERY slowly in blues style with appropriate added note chords and RH improvisation.

 

This also works for 'What a friend we have in Jesus'.

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