“Hey! Hey! Hey!” Each shout got louder. The man shouting stood underneath the balcony where I was playing the organ. The service had ended a bit ago. I was attempting a postlude on the tiny, bad pipe organ.
I stopped and looked over the edge.
“Would you turn out the lights when you are done?”
I was reminded of this incident yesterday. Despite suspecting that colleagues were present and not necessarily disposed to approve of my musicianship, I improvised a rather clever little postlude.
While marking time until my complete retirement improvising preludes and postludes is so much easier than learning pieces. I have spent my entire life preparing organ and choral music for church services. Often I took great pains to choose and prepare these pieces.
During the plague, I would spend time at church reading through organ music for the fun of it. Most of my life I have made a note right on the music of the time and place of performance. So that the music itself is a record for me to refer to especially when choosing new music. I want to know if I am repeating a piece. I was continually surprised to see how much music I have actually performed.
The closing hymn tune yesterday was the Welsh melody Bryn Calfaria. It is in G minor. I took it a bit under the suggested tempo in the hymnal. When performing Welsh music I remember that I have read descriptions about the stately tempos they are sung in Wales.
The congregation was singing up a storm yesterday so I felt free to vigorously play this hymn. I quite enjoyed doing so.
I began the postlude improvisation on the swell cornet with a repeated riff in the lower register. I moved to the great organ and increased the intensity. After a short bit I brought in the lovely hymn melody in the pedals. It went on from there. By the time I was done I thought it was pretty cool. It was certainly loud.
As usual I pretty much cleared the room with the postlude. During the service, Rev Jen mentioned my upcoming retirement. There was applause. I joked to Eileen on the ride to lunch that it may have been an expression of approval of my leaving.
I noticed that Eileen was talking to our tech guy. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I don’t know what I was thinking.” Apparently after the closing hymn she had shut down my computer which is the camera and mic for the organ. If you had been watching the service online the postlude went away.
As I said, this reminded me of the loud usher asking me to turn out the lights when I leave.