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Getting Through Sunday Morning/service Playing


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#1 Guest: grand choeur_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 11:24

All,

Just another thread where it may be useful to share experiences in our spheres of Organ activities.
Service playing, choir accompaniments, work with soloists/instrumentalists - you know, that sort of thing.

Cheerio

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#2 Guest: Patricia_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 12:22

One of my biggest problems lies in the fact that the Rector likes to have a printed order of service rather than read directly from the Prayer Book. Clearly, this is easier for the congregation, but we only get the sheet immediately before the service, and it isn't always quite as expected. Pointing for the psalm and canticles only has to deviate very slightly from the book to cause problems. The choir and I use the book (as does the boss - I'm only the assistant organist) as it's easier to read from, with regard to page turns, and being clearly set out, etc, but this can mean that we're not always doing quite the same thing as the congregation! And needless to say, it looks like we're the ones to get it wrong!

We also need to take careful note of the number of verses in the hymns, for obvious reasons! I've been known to do a lovely solo verse at the end!
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#3 Guest: sbhoa_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 16:41

Congregations (or ministers with big voices who think they are good) singing more slowly (or sometmies faster) than I am playing.
(They seldom win tongue.gif ).

One person in our congregation who likes to anticipate the start of every verse.
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#4 Guest: katyjay_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 16:44

QUOTE(sbhoa @ May 28 2006, 05:41 PM) View Post

Congregations (or ministers with big voices who think they are good) singing more slowly (or sometmies faster) than I am playing.
(They seldom win tongue.gif ).

One person in our congregation who likes to anticipate the start of every verse.


That's why a good soloist (like me) will rehearse the hymns as well as the anthem with the organist before the service starts......only to be defeated on occasions when the organist has partied not wisely but too well the previous night and therefore is playing in a rather ad-hoc fashion. (Yes, hung-over organist at service this morning rolleyes.gif )
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#5 Guest: hannah_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 16:47

QUOTE(Patricia @ May 28 2006, 12:22 PM) View Post

One of my biggest problems lies in the fact that the Rector likes to have a printed order of service rather than read directly from the Prayer Book. Clearly, this is easier for the congregation, but we only get the sheet immediately before the service, and it isn't always quite as expected. Pointing for the psalm and canticles only has to deviate very slightly from the book to cause problems. The choir and I use the book (as does the boss - I'm only the assistant organist) as it's easier to read from, with regard to page turns, and being clearly set out, etc, but this can mean that we're not always doing quite the same thing as the congregation! And needless to say, it looks like we're the ones to get it wrong!

We also need to take careful note of the number of verses in the hymns, for obvious reasons! I've been known to do a lovely solo verse at the end!



Yes, I have printed leaflets for each service just before it starts. Not much fun when you find out that vicar's made a typing error in the hymn lists and the words in the leaflet don't match the tune you've been practicing. Usually involves a frantic flicking through the 1000+ page hymn book 5 minutes before the service starts... Also words in psalm and acclamation can be different to what I've been given - luckily the choir and cantors are pretty experienced and happy to make it up as they go along!

I always write the number of verses in each hymn in a big circle on the leaflet - haven't made any mistakes yet so far! Though it does get tricky to keep count when you have 6+ verses.

Have also been known to have piles of books fall on me from the shelves above while in the middle of playing - kept going though!

Any female organists tried playing pedals in a skirt? Have found it to be pretty impossible unless skirt is quite short and not too tight - I need to see what I am doing!
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#6 Guest: grand choeur_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 17:30

QUOTE(hannah @ May 28 2006, 12:47 PM) View Post



Any female organists tried playing pedals in a skirt? Have found it to be pretty impossible unless skirt is quite short and not too tight - I need to see what I am doing!


**GC loves to see women Organists** wink.gif wink.gif rolleyes.gif
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#7 Guest: sbhoa_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 17:43

QUOTE(hannah @ May 28 2006, 05:47 PM) View Post

I always write the number of verses in each hymn in a big circle on the leaflet - haven't made any mistakes yet so far! Though it does get tricky to keep count when you have 6+ verses.



I have a look at how the last verse starts and listen out for that.
This gets tricky when the singing is not good and you can hardly hear it. blink.gif
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#8 Guest: mwl1_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 18:34

At the church where I play, there hasn't been an organist for some time (I only started last week), and so they have become accustomed to singing without an organist. As such, their own rhythms etc have gradually evolved. I was not happy to be looking silly this morning for playing how it was written!

I also found out on my first experience of playing an organ that it is not a good idea to accidentally knock the pedals when the priest is talking huh.gif
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#9 Guest: sbhoa_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 18:38

QUOTE(mwl1 @ May 28 2006, 07:34 PM) View Post

At the church where I play, there hasn't been an organist for some time (I only started last week), and so they have become accustomed to singing without an organist. As such, their own rhythms etc have gradually evolved. I was not happy to be looking silly this morning for playing how it was written!


Stick to what's written, they'll get used to it.

QUOTE(mwl1 @ May 28 2006, 07:34 PM) View Post

I also found out on my first experience of playing an organ that it is not a good idea to accidentally knock the pedals when the priest is talking huh.gif


Accidental noises are always in the quiet bits..... it's worse when they draw attention to you for doing that.
I got thanked for my contribution once... blink.gif
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#10 Guest: organist_katy_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 19:05

QUOTE(hannah @ May 28 2006, 05:47 PM) View Post

Any female organists tried playing pedals in a skirt? Have found it to be pretty impossible unless skirt is quite short and not too tight - I need to see what I am doing!


I have on Easter Day - fancied getting dressed up for the occasion, then realised I was supposed to be playing a hymn and the responsorial psalm. Luckily it was quite a 'flare-y' skirt and I could reach the octave or so I needed quite comfortably.

Have seen someone play in a tight, nearly knee-length skirt before though - not sure how she did it!! (But then, she wasn't play very challenging repertoire, let's just say.... ph34r.gif)
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#11 Guest: Digby_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 19:20

QUOTE
Accidental noises are always in the quiet bits..... it's worse when they draw attention to you for doing that.
I got thanked for my contribution once...



The first time I ever played for a service was a baptism, my husband came along with my eldest daughter who was 2 at the time. When the actual baptism was going on I poked my head around the curtain to watch, after a few minutes a delighted cry came up of 'Thats my Mummy!' she got up, ran up to me (which involved going right through the middle of the baptism party) and crawled up onto the organ seat, via the pedals making a great QE2 type sound.

Fortunately the vicar was very 'child friendly' laugh.gif
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#12 Guest: dcmbarton_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 20:08

I think my stories would be too numerous to list here! There is one lady in our congregation who always thinks the hymns should be faster than you are playing them. She sings very loud (even louder than the organ at its loudest!). Sometimes I go with it, but if I'm feeling particularly annoyed, I carry on at the same speed which means she gets to the end before eveyone else!

One of our other organists likes to leave some verses unaccompanied which never seems to work - neither the choir nor congregation can sustain these and the pitch drops nearly a whole tone, so when he strikes up again, it's changed key!

I think my biggest problem is getting the hymns late and having insufficient time to play them - for example I don't consider Saturday evening acceptable. There's a marked difference between being able to play them and being able to lead the congregation.

Another problem is deciding which tune to play. You get some preachers who don't indicate which tune they wan't and if you won't know the hymn, then you have to take pot luck - I always seem to pick the wrong one!

One of our other organists never seems to be able to count the right number of verses for the hymns so we quite often get one extra or one less. If we get one less, people seem to carry on singing but he doesn't bother picking it up again. If we get and extra verse, people tend to sing verse 1 again!

David
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#13 Guest: hannah_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 21:32

QUOTE(mwl1 @ May 28 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

At the church where I play, there hasn't been an organist for some time (I only started last week), and so they have become accustomed to singing without an organist. As such, their own rhythms etc have gradually evolved. I was not happy to be looking silly this morning for playing how it was written!

I also found out on my first experience of playing an organ that it is not a good idea to accidentally knock the pedals when the priest is talking huh.gif



Ha I've done that a few times! try to leave the pedal stops in if possible.

Anyone play for funerals/weddings? I've only done 2 weddings since being appointed organist nearly 2 years ago, but have done dozens of funerals. It's a rather strange thing to be doing for someone of my age....
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#14 Guest: dcmbarton_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 21:35

QUOTE(hannah @ May 28 2006, 10:32 PM) View Post

QUOTE(mwl1 @ May 28 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

At the church where I play, there hasn't been an organist for some time (I only started last week), and so they have become accustomed to singing without an organist. As such, their own rhythms etc have gradually evolved. I was not happy to be looking silly this morning for playing how it was written!

I also found out on my first experience of playing an organ that it is not a good idea to accidentally knock the pedals when the priest is talking huh.gif



Ha I've done that a few times! try to leave the pedal stops in if possible.

Anyone play for funerals/weddings? I've only done 2 weddings since being appointed organist nearly 2 years ago, but have done dozens of funerals. It's a rather strange thing to be doing for someone of my age....


I played for my first wedding when I was 15 and I've done about 20 since then - they're awful, I hate them. I much prefer funerals and have done plenty more of them. Church wedding are such a farce these days and absolute chaos (but both these pay well!)

David
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#15 Guest: Patricia_*

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 21:58

You don't usually get videoed at a funeral... ph34r.gif
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