sunday report & recurrent mom depression

Yesterday was the Christian Feast of Pentecost.

My prelude was a ten minute Bach setting of a Pentecost melody (Komm, Heiliger Geist BWV 652). I have been working pretty hard on this piece. It is long and I found it a bit tricky. In ten minutes I figure I had 3 small concentration lags. This is not bad by my lights.

The introduction and final verse organ harmonization of the opening hymn, “Come Down O Light Divine” were written by my hero John Ferguson.

John Ferguson

I often improvise this sort of thing, but I thought it would be fun to use one of Ferguson’s many creative settings. The introduction is a lyrical soft treatment of the melody. It is unusual in that it doesn’t pump up the congregation to come  roaring in on the first words of the hymn.

I warned the choir and showed them how it went a couple of times during rehearsal. One chorister asked me if I could play a chord in between the introduction and the first words of the hymn. I told him no. I pointed out that even though it was a bit different Ferguson had done it hundreds of times and had led hundreds of hymn festivals in the US and that it would be fine if the choir began singing as I asked it to.

This worked. The Bach prelude did seem to create a a quiet space with the congregation. Into this quiet, I introduced the opening lines of Ferguson’s introduction which are a soft flute stop playing Vaughan Williams’ lovely melody.

The rest of the service went fine. The Chamber Choir did a pretty credible job of the Thomas Tallis anthem. The closing hymn was a  bit of a gospel rendition of “There’s  a Sweet Sweet Spirit.” This is a favorite of many parishioners.

There were some odd moments but they involve personalities at the church and probably aren’t all that appropriate for this blog. Suffice it to say that in the midst of trying to do all the stuff I did, I was a bit off balance due some of the oddness. I try not to think about it but will talk to the boss about it on Thursday and get her take.

One of the friendly college profs at Hope(less) College inquired about my interview this week. I tried to tell him about it without being unnecessarily negative. He tried very hard to be “coffee hour” supportive and encouraging. This was a bit of a painful moment.

After church Eileen enjoyed the walk home, grabbed something to eat, then drove over to check on Mom. We found her sitting in the dark in her apartment resting on her chair.

She was definitely regressed deeper into her clinical depression but agreed (almost automatically) to come out with us to enjoy the beautiful weather in our back yard for a bit.

This was a tough two hours. If you have ever been around someone with this disease you know that they lack emotion and find it difficult to respond to the simplest conversation.

Mom has a follow up psychiatrist appointment this morning in Zeeland and I fully expect him to hospitalize her if she is still in this space.  Today is usually a day I try to take off and do some relaxing and composing, so I have the free time to walk her through this process.

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