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In the beginning....


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#106 TweedleDee

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 19:34

The loudness and acoustic in general depends a lot on the shape and materials used in the church building.  As is common in the states, our church is wood with a carpeted floor in the loft and nave (unfortunately!).  I really have to crank up the volume to get it to the congregation downstairs.  And yes, I notice a big difference between an empty and full church.  My Priest would often tell me to crank it halfway through the service when we first got it installed and I've never had a complaint that it's too loud (which seems to be unusual from what I hear.)  It's electric, but we also have a little 3-rank pipe organ I use for quieter preludes, choir, and communion music.

 

As an aside, I have to tell you that my wife and I had a wonderful vacation 2 years ago in Scotland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  We didn't get up as far north as you live, but we made it to the Isle of Skye.  Sadly, I didn't get a chance to try out any organs while visiting the country.  We visited the big church next to the Sterling castle while they were having some sort of open house.  They told me it housed the largest organ in Scotland.  I had no idea.  Probably the highlight from an organ perspective, however, was to visit St. Paul's in Edinburgh on a Sunday morning and hearing the organ and choir play.  That was really great.


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#107 Misterioso

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 17:23

It's a while since I posted in this thread, but I have been steadily working away, and yesterday evening played for my first Evensong service - on my own! Terrified doesn't really come near, and I felt strongly tempted to quit the whole venture mid-service. I made plenty of mistakes (some covered up, others blatantly obvious), and it took me a while to stop shaking - but I have been asked to play again!  :o

As is often the case for Evensong services, it was a very small congregation, but they were all so grateful to have someone play for them rather than sing to a tape. I feel quite humbled.

I've decided to skip G2 organ. I can do without the stress and financial outlay just as my SAD is kicking in, and will also need to learn more hymns and incidental music for before and after services.

 

:)


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#108 elemimele

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 18:33

Congratulations! And probably wise about the exam; the problem that any developing church organist faces is that learning hymns is far from trivial, certainly if you want to play them well. You've got a regular influx of new stuff to learn, and trying to perfect exam pieces on the side is a big burden. It's a frustration of organ that the organist wants to learn nice pieces, but has to have access to an organ to do so; and organs come with churches who need organists to play for services, which takes so much time that there's no time left to learn the nice pieces... a delicate balancing act!

The terror of playing for a small congregation for evensong is very tangible, and the amount of work is exactly the same whether the congregation is 5 or 500 - and the gratitude is even bigger when it's only 5. Finding real musicians to support a small congregation is difficult. You've done a good thing.

I hope the SAD stays not too awful, and hope you get a lot of organ-satisfaction over the coming Winter, before the leaves reappear in the Spring!


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#109 TweedleDee

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Posted 03 October 2019 - 19:18

Congratulations!  It only gets easier.  Did you plan manuals only?  I'm working on getting our parish to hold an Evensong this year.  And if it happens, hopefully more than 3 people show up!


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#110 Misterioso

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:47

I've only just seen your post, TweedleDee. Yes, I played manuals only (although on a good day I can manage to drop a pedal at the end of the Lord's Prayer). Hope you manage to get your parish to hold an Evensong - it's such a lovely service.


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#111 Misterioso

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Posted Today, 14:56

Oh help! Three months on and things have changed completely. We have been in interregnum for around 18 months, then finally in November a new incumbent was installed. He is actually a nice man, but comes to our remote charge from the grandeur of York Minster, and is also an ex-organist. I "tried" to play the Lord's Prayer a couple of Sundays ago in the morning service, but it was a complete car crash. (Really!) I can't remember the last time I played so horrendously badly - and yes, it really was as bad as all that. I was feeling well-rested and quite relaxed during the service, and trying not to feel too nervous, but then sat down to play and &%^£%:!(&@!!!

 

To be honest, I'm on the verge of giving up. He is being very prescriptive about hymns, so I will no longer have more or less free choice of what I'm able to play. But - more importantly than that - I don't think I can EVER get over my paralysing performance anxiety, and am only adding to my stress levels and sense of general incompetence when I try....and fail. The real organist says it will get better, but she's been saying that for some time now and I really don't think it will.

 

I'm pretty miserable about it and would be grateful for any wise words about which way to go now.  :(   


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#112 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted Today, 15:18

Sorry to hear. A virtual feel-better hug coming your way.


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#113 mel2

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Posted Today, 15:34

:thereThere:

 

My heart goes out to you. I will not  say we've ALL done it, because I wouldn't presume to suggest others have displayed similar ineptitude to my own, in times of stress. 

I recall a couple of Christmas Eves when tiredness added to insecurity with the Widor Toccata to cause disaster; there was the time when louts weighed in at an evensong at the urban-priority parish where I played and even after they were ejected, my concentration was completely shot with inevitable consequences for the musicality.

 

One wonders why the incumbent forsook the fleshpots of York Minster for your outpost (delightful though I'm sure it is). Perhaps he tired of the formality and precision of cathedral worship? His mind was probably elsewhere when you were disintegrating.

 

I have no idea who it is so I speak generally in case he sues; I'm sure he hasn't really fled to escape some Great Disgrace. ( My imagination is conjuring up scenes of a Deadly Sin with a hedgehog on the tomb of some Worthy or other, far, far away)

 

Maybe step back a little and do one or 2 hymns when the regular organist is there, and can take over if it all gets too much. Small steps. Quiet, informal occasions. I'm sure the incumbent will understand your nerves and inexperience. He may even offer to send you on an RSCM course for reluctant organists.

 

Just think of Nish Kumar at the charity do, and reflect that nothing was thrown at you and your Lord's Prayer did not go viral. (As I always feared a less-than-perfect wedding would do in these days of smartphones)


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