Church went well yesterday. The crowd was a bit bigger than one might expect for the Sunday after Christmas. The scariest moment was probably the psalm. I think this is the first time we have sung an Anglican chant congregationally without choir support. It seemed to work. It’s kind of hard to tell when one is attempting to guide the group through the changes of a double chant.
As I launched into the postlude, the congregation predictably became much much noisier.
The secretary had neglected to put the correct postlude in the bulletin. Instead she somehow retained the postlude from Christmas Eve 2012 which gives you an idea of what template she was using for this Sunday’s bulletin. So in the bulletin it said “In Dir ist Freude” by Bach. But I played Charles Ore’s playful setting of “Go Tell It on the Mountain” which was yesterday’s sequence hymn.
It’s difficult to register this particular piece of music much above a solid forte on my organ. It calls for very high sounds in the pedal so the feet can play the melody while the hands play a sort of two part ragtime obbligato duet over it.
So my work of preparation of this sort of tricky piece was quickly drowned out. But I didn’t mind that much.
After I finished the piece I was relieved that another service was over and I could trudge home.
But a small delicate elderly lady from our parish ambled over to the console and said, “I want to hear that again.” I thanked her thinking it was a sort of compliment. She said, “No, I’m serious. I’d like to hear you play that again.”
I said, “I’d be glad to play it again for you.”
I was put in mind of the story my now deceased teacher, Ray Ferguson, would tell about one Easter morning at his Detroit congregational church. After his fancy postlude, a visitor came up and told him that he was disappointed that Ray had not played the famous Widor toccata. In fact, that was one of the reasons he had chosen to come to church that day. Ray sat down and played it for him.
I aspire to such graciousness and gladly replayed the little Ore piece. I played it better the second time.
And I felt weirdly satisfied to know that someone had listened to it.
This is kind of tricky. You can’t really perform just for the listeners.
That turns into a different musical game of pleasing people which can quickly destroy the musical moment. But the listener has a part to play in the whole dance of musicking. If they don’t do their part something is missing. When they do listen like the lady who requested a replay, it makes the music better somehow.
I need to amend my comments yesterday about anachronistic American organists. You may recall that I was bemoaning the unrealistic bemoaning in the letters column of an old AGO mag I was reading. Last night as I was describing another article to my brother who is visiting, I realized that Eileen Guenther had provided a more playful take on mixing styles by quoting in full the article linked above in her monthly president’s column. It talks about organists sneaking in music that is not usually considered appropriate to worship services. Hey. I bet she did that on purpose to balance the pompous discussion taking place in the letters column of the same issue. Far out, dude.
The New York Times has weighed in with an investigative piece on the Benghazi tragedy where someone truly dropped the ball and we lost people needlessly. I think the article exhibits a clear even hand as far as it goes. Of course within hours the right wing press had reacted:
This Fox news report doesn’t contain any new information that I can find. I tried to run down one of the sources called Agincourt Solutions and found it a bit mysterious. I have a tendency to double check dubious claims and find the source of them. In this case, the executive officers of this social media traffic analyzers are not mentioned on the web site. In fact, there are no names of people on the web site or where it is based out of or sponsored by as far as I could see. I managed to run down the two top people behind it. One of them is a former intelligence officer with a very low online profile (sooprise) the other has three degrees from BYU which sort of makes you think he’s probably in the reaction camp of politics, but you never know.
Unsurprisingly, The Weekly Standard is a little more coherent in their attack on the NYT article. A quick check of this morning’s http://www.realclearpolitics.com/ reveals what looks like another reactive article. http://www.nytimes.com/ doesn’t have any defense on the top of this morning’s website (what one might think of as the cyber equivalent of “above the fold”) and a quick glance of the online version of today’s published issue shows no immediate reaction to the reaction.
Maybe this will blow over, but the right has played their usual distortional havoc with Benghazi and the NYT which is (wrongly) perceived as an inaccurate voice of journalism and only a leftist propaganda machine will probably only fan the flames with those pesky little things: facts.