Jump to content
Mander Organs
Guest Cynic

Old Stories

Recommended Posts

Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Gerard Irvine when Vicar of St Matthew's Westminster in the 1960's called at the Cardinal's residence in his parish after he had recently been enthroned. He found him not at home, so left his calling card which proclaimed I am sorry you were not at home. Your Parish Priest called today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gerard Irvine when Vicar of St Matthew's Westminster in the 1960's called at the Cardinal's residence in his parish after he had recently been enthroned. He found him not at home, so left his calling card which proclaimed I am sorry you were not at home. Your Parish Priest called today.

 

===================

 

:P:P:P:( Delightful!

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Runcie invited Pope John Paul II to England, Dr Paisley in Northern Ireland went ballistic; wagging a finger and shouting, "Aye warnnt to 'av wards with the Archbishop o'Canterbury!"

 

 

MM

 

 

 

I was present at an ecumenical service in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral during which the Holy Father participated. The said Dr Paisley and his cronies were protesting outside the Cathedral with Paisley screaming "anyone blessed by the Holy Father will suffer eternal damnation". The Pope must have been tipped off because as the popemobile passed Paisley and his gang, the Holy Father turned towards Paisley and bestowed his benediction upon him!

 

NS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
====================

I stand corrected.  In fact, I was hoping to rush back during the wee small hours and correct the mistake; knowing that someone would spot it.

 

David Jenkins it was, of course, but I'm not so sure that his views were especially controversial, considering that they had been around for the better part of a century before he uttered them.

 

MM

 

Fair point but what made Jenkins controversial was he took them out of the academic cloister and published them to what we would now term John Major's "spinsters cycling through the mist..." many of whom were quite unaware that "the dear vicar" might be entertaining views along these lines, if only because in the C of E, at any rate, the opinions that clergy hold on such matters are not necessarily the views they expound in the pulpit. Or it might be more accurate to say that back then, almost a generation ago, that was the case whatever may be the current position. The C of E is after all the state church, and sets (used to set ?) quite a lot of store by being a broad church which could accomodate both the Anglo-Catholic and the person more attuned to an Ebenezer Chapel in its ranks. To do that you need to make quite extensive use of constructive ambiguity and certainly not go out of your way to start raising awkward questions, after all you may find the long promissed legacy you have earmarked to repair the roof (or the organ, for the benfit of those here) is suddenly destined for the cats home if you spend Advent declaiming that the Christmas story is largely bunk, that the evidence in the Imperial records for the "decree of Caesar Augustus by which the world should be taxed" is rather thin, to say the least, and that many of the traditions of Christmas are unequivocally derived from pagan traditions etc etc.

 

I believe it is also a principle of the newspaper industry that when faced with a choice between the truth and a good story you always go with the good story !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A certain cathedral director of music was conducting a choral course for young singers in the U.S. On the morning in question, he was leading an open rehearsal, involving girl choristers. Unfortunately, the young ladies were rather shy, due to the fact that there was a goodly turn-out amongst the parents, all of whom were listening and watching intently.

 

After yet another rather lack-lustre rendition of part of an anthem, the great man turned to the girls and said, with exasperation, "No, no girls! I want you to blow me against the west wall."

 

There followed a palpable silence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
A certain cathedral director of music was conducting a choral course for young singers in the U.S. On the morning in question, he was leading an open rehearsal, involving girl choristers. Unfortunately, the young ladies were rather shy, due to the fact that there was a goodly turn-out amongst the parents, all of whom were listening and watching intently.

 

After yet another rather lack-lustre rendition of part of an anthem, the great man turned to the girls and said, with exasperation, "No, no girls! I want you to blow me against the west wall."

 

There followed a palpable silence.

 

I love it!

It's a good thing you haven't given us the name of the main protagonist of that story, so we shall have to guess whether he would have relished this mistake or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love it!

It's a good thing you haven't given us the name of the main protagonist of that story, so we shall have to guess whether he would have relished this mistake or not.

 

 

To mis-quote a well-known phrase: "I dare not speak [his] name."

 

(Well, not unless you wish to communicate via PM....)

 

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One further story springs to mind:

 

The time: the early 1980s. A Sunday evening (if I remember correctly).

 

The place: a village church in North Cornwall.

 

The occasion: The sermon.

 

The players: The congregation, choir, myself - and an elderly priest, of childlike innocence and naïveté.

 

He was preaching about a journey which St. Paul was making. Apparently there was a ship involved....

(*Cut to sermon:*)

 

... "He was on the ship, when - suddenly there was a storm! ... The waves grew higher, the ship began to founder... It had a hole in its bottom!"

 

(*Fixes congregation with steely-eyed glare:*)

 

... "Are you in the storms of life?" ...

 

... "Are you sinking?"

 

(*Quietly, yet fervently - almost in a whisper:*)

 

 

... "Do you have a hole in your bottom?"

 

 

 

(Collapse of stout party.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One further story springs to mind:

 

The time:  the early 1980s. A Sunday evening (if I remember correctly).

 

The place:  a village church in North Cornwall.

 

The occasion:  The sermon.

 

The players:  The congregation, choir, myself - and an elderly priest, of childlike innocence and naïveté.

 

He was preaching about a journey which St. Paul was making. Apparently there was a ship involved....

(*Cut to sermon:*)

 

... "He was on the ship when, suddenly there was a storm! The waves grew higher, the ship began to founder... It had a hole in its bottom!"

 

(*Fixes congregation with fervent glare:*)

 

... "Are you in the storms of life?" ...

 

... "Are you sinking?"

 

(*Quietly, yet fervently - almost in a whisper:*)

... "Do you have a hole in your bottom?

(Collapse of stout party.)

 

The following is not quite as hilarious as that, but it concerns a chaplain at the school where i play services: he started his blessing (which he was reading out of the service sheet) as follows, "Christ the sun of darkness shine upon you..." (as opposed to the sun of righteousness)

Edited by jfdg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi newbie here but thought i'd contribute

 

 

in the 1960's shortly a few years before his death, one of our cathedral organists was at his position during evensong. During the particulary boring sermon (it was a sunday) he was heard audibly to say 'effin bishop why dont he effin shut up' (well you can guess waht was really said) amongst other things. This lead to the dean sending up a choir boy 'The dean asks could you please stop swearing during the Bishops sermon. He understands it isn't a good one, but moan in a spiritual not earthly voice"

 

 

Not a very well known one that... but i heard it from a gentleman who attended evensong that evening, and has moved around cathedral circles there for many years

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard the story of Christmas Carols at Truro, where the tenor soloist, doing the ubiquitous Darke, sang E'nuff for him, whom Angels worship day and night... Then he had to make the rhyme... A breat full of meeeelk and a manager of full of (momentary pause) .... Well, go one, you can guess the rest - it was probably an accurate description of the contents of the manger, but probably not the most liturgically pleasing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I heard the story of Christmas Carols at Truro, where the tenor soloist, doing the ubiquitous Darke, sang E'nuff for him, whom Angels worship day and night... Then he had to make the rhyme... A breat full of meeeelk and a manager of full of (momentary pause) .... Well, go one, you can guess the rest - it was probably an accurate description of the contents of the manger, but probably not the most liturgically pleasing.

 

Ha! A good story.

 

The local civic church had a variant of this some years ago, when the soloist sang "A breast full of hay and a manger full of milk" - and then stopped, since the choir were then laughing audibly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a story I heard some years ago regarding a vicar who took as his sermon them 'I shall come down and dwell among you'. He repeated it several times, thumpiong the pulpit vigorously each time. Unfortunately the pupit was past is prime and collapsed. At which point some wag said 'Well, you did warn us!'

 

David Jenkins. His biggest mistake was to use wonderful sound bites, which were then misq

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was a story I heard some years ago regarding a vicar who took as his sermon theme 'I shall come down and dwell among you'. He repeated it several times, thumping the pulpit vigorously each time. Unfortunately the pulpit was past is prime and collapsed. At which point some wag said 'Well, you did warn us!'

 

David Jenkins. His biggest mistake was to use wonderful sound bites, which were then misq

 

Not sure what happened there - my apologies. What I was trying to say before technology got the better of me was that he used these wonderful sound bites ('a conjuring trick with bones', for example) which were picked up by the press and enthusiastically misquoted. What he actually said was that the resurrection 'was not just a conjuring trick with bones' - a perfectly vaild comment on the theology of resurrection. I suppose that having edited 'The Myth of God Incarnate' some years earlier, with all the attendant fuss, he didn't stand a chance. Those who experienced his ministry as Bishop of Durham thought very highly of him, I understand.

 

Regards to all.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is said that when Marcel Dupre played at Wimbledon Town Hall (quite a remarkable fact in itself) he missed the Great to Pedal to piston and hit the bird whistle instead....

 

Just last week I was accompanying the psalm and for verse 2 instead of drawing a soft swell 8', I drew the 16' basson instead. I carried on as if this is exactly what I had intended to do. Has anybody any similar experiences, and what, if any, is the best way to cope with them?

 

Regards

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Andrew Butler

Some years ago, at my previous church, I was accompanying "O praise ye the Lord" to "Laudate Dominum". There were 2 composition pedals to each manual - those for the Swell gave 1) Stopped diapason and salicional and 2) Full swell. I didn't actually use them very often, but on this occasion pressed 2) for the words "Loud organs his glory...", coupled to the great, intending to take off the Trumpet by hand and play "and sweet harp........" on the swell, to mixture. I completely forgot that the full swell on this comp pedal consisted of only 2', Mixture, and Trumpet, and was left playing on the swell with just the 2' and the mixture!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just last week I was accompanying the psalm and for verse 2 instead of drawing a soft swell 8', I drew the 16' basson instead. I carried on as if this is exactly what I had intended to do. Has anybody any similar experiences, and what, if any, is the best way to cope with them?

 

Regards

 

Peter

 

Very sensible. I find that turning around and glaring at the back row of the choir helps, too.

 

I had a similar - but perhaps more alarming experience. Several years ago, I was idly doodling during communion, waiting for the choir to return and sing a motet. After a minute or so, I decided that a nice solo on the Positive Crumhorn would be just the thing to add to the mood of reverence and reflection and so, with little more than a cursory glance, I reached over to pull out the stop. Now, just above the draw-stop for the Crumhorn is the one controlling the chamade....

 

Of course, I had to continue, to show that I, too, had fully 'intended' to use this rather louder stop.

 

However, I do not for a moment believe that anyone was taken in by my ploy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Just last week I was accompanying the psalm and for verse 2 instead of drawing a soft swell 8', I drew the 16' basson instead. I carried on as if this is exactly what I had intended to do. Has anybody any similar experiences, and what, if any, is the best way to cope with them?

 

Regards

 

Peter

 

I hesitate to say that this sort of thing happens all the time...makes me sound totally useless.

 

I can blame one or two dead bulbs (sometimes). For instance, I have a Tuba rank which plays on the Choir/Bombarde with a light bulb and on the Solo without a bulb. Not only this, the Solo stops do not cancel with Gen Can. This means that I can sometimes arrive on the top manual and find a 'drawn' Tuba secretly lurking there. It's good one too....no chance of mistaking it for anything else! Got to be a minimum of 15" wind - you can hear it across the square outside.

 

With something blatantly adrift all one can do is frown at the organ console as if to say 'wasn't me, guv!' and change it quickly. Joe and Josephine Public get these moments with evil-minded technology, don't they? - the paper jam on the copier, the clock that won't adjust, the cashpoint that sulks.....

 

Something like your 16' Bassoon, you did the right thing to brave it out, IMHO. After all, if there's an other organist downstairs listening to you, why aren't they in another church being useful? Everyone else, what do they know?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a similar - but perhaps more alarming experience. Several years ago, I was idly doodling during communion, waiting for the choir to return and sing a motet. After a minute or so, I decided that a nice solo on the Positive Crumhorn would be just the thing to add to the mood of reverence and reflection and so, with little more than a cursory glance, I reached over to pull out the stop. Now, just above the draw-stop for the Crumhorn  is the one controlling the chamade....

 

 

A certain other member of this forum was accompanying a Nunc to Anglican chant the other night, and went to do a nice solo on the choir. Unfortunately the Tuba was out - I thought it made a marvellous noise, but I fancy that there wasn't much of the last verse of the Nunc audible by the congregation...

 

Whilst auditioning for my current post I had the swell box shut on swell strings, with a solo corno di bassetto on the choir. Hoping for a nice crescendo, I hit what I thought was the swell ISG... Instead I got the general crescendo, and kicked it completely open. Sw strings to full swell, and corno di bassetto to Tuba + Sub+Octave.... Quite a crescendo. Oh, and full pedal reeds. The auditioners were sat in the choir stalls directly in front of the great and choir - a quick glance in the mirror showed a look of utter terror on the faces of all 3!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A certain other member of this forum was accompanying a Nunc to Anglican chant the other night, and went to do a nice solo on the choir. Unfortunately the Tuba was out - I thought it made a marvellous noise, but I fancy that there wasn't much of the last verse of the Nunc audible by the congregation...

 

 

Oh joy! Poor *****. I shall commiserate with him later.

 

I told him to melt the thing down....

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes indeed, thank you very much.  That's what happens when other people come along and change your generals...

 

 

Clearly you need to secure your combinations.

 

How about a chastity belt?

 

 

 

:)

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just last week I was accompanying the psalm and for verse 2 instead of drawing a soft swell 8', I drew the 16' basson instead. I carried on as if this is exactly what I had intended to do. Has anybody any similar experiences, and what, if any, is the best way to cope with them?

 

Regards

 

Peter

 

=========================

 

 

Well this is probably the best way of coping with them.......

 

Although something of an apocryphal tale, which I sincereny hope to be true, I heard of an incident at St.Paul's Cathedral, when Sir John Stainer was then organist there.

 

The story goes that he fell soundly asleep during the sermon, and on his waking up, discovered to his horror that the choir were singing the last verse of the last hymn without him.

 

With great presence of mind, he very queitly slipped in with quiet foundations, drew more and more stops, and brought the hymn to a thunderous conclusion, as all eyes focused on the organ-console.

 

After playing the final voluntary, Sir John apparently left the console, wandered down to the choir-vestry, removed his robes and put on his overcoat; the choir remaining robed and completely silent. With great style, Sir John then put on his gloves, picked up his music-case, made towards the door, opened it, and then turned back, saying, "Thank you so much gentlemen. A splendid final hymn, and just the way I wanted it. Goodmorning."

 

With that he departed without another word.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At a much humbler end of the organ scale, there is a particularly good story about a parish organist named Donald, of distinctly Anglo Catholic leanings, who had been organist and choirmaster at a particularly "spikey" church for over a decade. All smells and bells, they did things properly, with a fully robed choir, plainsong and the English Hymnal.

 

When the incumbent died suddenly, it became something of an excuse for the most extreme expressions of high-church practice, which were only curtailed by a fairly low-brow bishop who had the gift of the living, and decided to nominate his own man as vicar.

 

Indeed, during the installment of the new man, the bishop gave the sermon; suggesting that a more moderate churchmanship should prevail, as old ladies "tut tutted" and others counted off the "Hail Mary's" on rosary beads as if they were using an abacus.

 

Unfortunately for the older members of the congregation, who smelled of linament, humbugs and incense in equal measure, the churchmanship did indeed slide down the ecclestiastical scale a notch or two.

 

The first things to go were the Latin psalms, which caused a few resignations from the choir, but the organist remained; though now in a state of increasing isolation and sullenness. The statue of the B.V.M. was relegated to the boiler-room, and whilst the "Stations of the Cross" remained, the many crucifixes were banished and placed in vestry cupboards. Then the new vicar started to introduce more modern hymns; at least insomuch as they were in the vernacular and would have found approval with Sir Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

 

Increasingly agitated and despondent as he presided over the lovely old Arthur Harrison organ, the organist could stand no more when, on "Mission Sunday," the vicar chose "Onward Christian soldiers" as the opening hymn. For reasons of ecumenicism, the vicar asked that the processional-cross remain in the vestry, and that the choir should be seated in the choir-stalls when the service commenced.

 

For Donald, this was the final straw, and in a fit of catholic pique, he placed "hymn sheets" on the choir-stalls rather than the usual hymn-books.

 

So it was, that as the vicar announced the opening hymn, the choir rose to sing, "Onward Cristian soldiers, going on before, with the cross of Jesus, nailed behind the door!"

 

With great style, Donald then left the organ-console, prostrated himself in front of the chancel-steps, got up, removed his cassock and cotter, threw them in a heap at the vestry door, and departed for the last time.

 

:)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes indeed, thank you very much.  That's what happens when other people come along and change your generals...

 

Doh - I was trying to keep your name out of it! Bloody annoying when people fiddle with your pistons...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...