Tuesday, August 01, 2006


We have an organist who, like many church organists, as well as many artists, chooses times to work/ practice when he thinks he will not be noticed,(or maybe when he thinks he won’t be bothered is more accurate.) I find this consideration amusing. How can you NOT notice an organ playing? Especially at odd times when most staff are gone…. the building is pretty much sleeping? the birds are napping, all is quiet in the church corridors? Yet, this is the time that at least two of my favorite organist artists choose to practice; to bond with their keys. At my home church, I sometimes will venture into the building on Saturday night, just to hear the pipes percolate their finest notes.

At my heart of home church, I have a permanent reservation in the balcony, the cushion indentions give away my idenity after all this time. Much like a glass slipper, the cushion fits me perfectly. On occassion, I have been known to enter quietly and sit in the dark balcony simply to absorb the melodies that fill the sanctuary. When the worship space is empty, he tends to test the ability of the pedals and keys and the pipes sing out with vim and vigor not always released through Sunday hymns. I love those moments. The organists that I know are true artists. Their music comes from their hearts, and the pages that hold the notes are sidebars.

At work church, I’ve become amused at the attempts of the organist to practice when no one is visibly around. It’s like an elephant in the room. No one acknowledges he is there, the anonymity seems to help put him at ease. Sometimes I sneak in and lay on a pew where he can’t see me. Only once did I walk right in and straight to the organ. I sat beside him in a choir pew and realiazed that the sound does not resonate as well from the source. I prefer being away where the notes can intermingle and play well together. I have become comfortable with Phantom of the Opera serenades on Friday afternoons, in fact, I found myself taking the time for granted.

One day, I was multi-tasking by secretary-ing and cooking for a work event, and I could not get the jar of pickles I was serving on the pickle tray open. It was God, me, and the organist in the building. So I took my jar to the keybord. He opened it for me willingly, and continued playing after I left. A few weeks later, the UPS guy stopped in and commented on the beautiful French toccata that the organist was playing last week. He said that he had gotten the organist to sign for a package and then had lingered to absorb the notes before he finished his deliveries for the day. I could easily picture the uniformed guy standing in his brown shirt and shorts, listening. There’s nothing like music to calm a tired soul. Having the setting be the sanctuary has an added plus. Soulful music with a prayer on the side sounds perfect. AND it is good to know that our organist multi-tasks well. Oh those artists….