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Request for stories for sequel to "Organ-isms" book


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Hi all,

Sorry for my absence during these past 5 roller coaster years or so; but despite a number of weeks spent in and out of theatres that have nothing to do with Shakespeare, I have been plodding doggedly along with the sequel to my previous anecdotes book which so many of you helped with by submitting stories.


The sequel is quite different to the first volume. About half of it will be photographs and cartoons, and the rest compiled from delicious juicy stories that I have/will have garnered from the likes of you lot. The target audience for this book however is different to "Organ-isms". This follow-up is targeted at the non-organist; the family member, the event organiser, the clergy, the audience, the person who says they don't like organ music, those who have never heard it etc and so on. My dedication has already been written: it is to "Those who haven't got a clue".


The reason is simple. Everywhere I go, whether on tour around the world or just giving my usual U3A or Probus presentation "Carbuncles, cameras and concerts; Behind the Scenes with a touring Concert organist" I am always gobsmacked at the ignorance or naivety about the organ and organists. People become fascinated once you can draw them into the world that already enchants us - it is simply a matter of gentle and often light-hearted 'education'. The turning point for me was when I rather warily addressed a group of non-musical rugby-playing types who initially looked totally confused to be presented with this topic. By the end I thought that all of them were desperate to sign up for organ lessons. Nothing to do with me - simply that the organ IS a fascinating, fabulous creation and we tend to forget how intriguing it is once explained to 'non-believers'. Pictures, coupled with anecdotes and some simple facts (nothing too heavy) are the very thing I want to use to take this wonderful beast to more people.


Anyway, 'nuff blurb. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Your part in all this: send me stories, yarns, whatever you want. There is a gap for material about organists interacting with others, such as vergers, clergy, soloists, organisers, cleaners, choirs etc. I want to avoid repeating similar stories from "Organ-isms" no. 1. There are many good stories out there but alas, they are often too much like a variation on a theme. If in doubt, send it to me anyway! I'll enjoy it.

Put your thinking caps on. You don't need to write perfect English screeds - in fact, short little one-liners, observations, comments etc are like gold. As those of you who supplied previous stories will know, I will hack it about anyway :-)

But trust me, I can keep these anonymous and in confidence. All I ask is that they are true. Pass my request on to others you know who might have splendid anecdotes.

You can email me at jenny@pipelinepress.com and I really look forward to hearing from you.


Jenny Setchell


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Despite what you said above, It's still not quite clear to me what type of stories you want. To give the briefest synopses of two of them, a lay reader in a church I was playing at not so long ago said to me the day after 9/11 words to the effect that "the Americans deserved it" for some contorted quasi-political reason which resided in her brain. The then incumbent at the same church is now languishing in jail for child molestation, a fact which gives me the shudders whenever I recall the number of times he came into our home.


If amplified versions of these stories are of interest, just let me know.



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Thanks Colin - although the comments you described are horrifically revealing, they tell more about the lay reader than the interaction between them and you. Sorry if I wasn't clear - it is hard to describe exactly what will fit until I start working through the yarns and try to piece them together. Essentially I am looking for stories which highlight the sometimes extraordinary difficulties under which organists are expected to do their duties. But it's not all about embarrassment, hardship, challenges, awkward people etc - I want to include the fulfilling reasons that people still undertake the position of organist and get great joy from it. Any emotion that makes the role of the organist stand apart from other musicians, if you like.

But thank you so much for replying - comments like that from the lay reader leave me aghast.


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