the 59 year old boring obscure church musician still inexplicably takes pleasure in the details of his work

Spent a good deal of yesterday at church. I keep my music in files alphabetically by composer. Yesterday I took a stack of organ music upstairs to the choir room to refile in my main organ file which I keep there. This music has been laying around the organ for a awhile carelessly stacked after use. I also have stacks of choral music from the last two years I have to sort and file.

I keep a cross index for all my hymn based organ music. I started this index at my first Episcopal church job in Oscoda Michigan. That must have been in the mid-seventies. I have kept it up over the years and now have two file boxes of 4 x 6 cards, each card for a different hymn tune.

I think I came up with this idea on my own. I am proud of the idea that I began this card index before returning to school. I spent a good part of my grad school writing on index cards and doing research. My little hymn index was a foreshadowing of basic scholarship techniques I later applied. As I have said before in this space, I just missed the computerization of scholarship in my schooling (finishing my masters in 1987).

But despite the huge advancement computerization provides, the concept of my hymn index and later scholarship are related. I still have the 3 x 5 cards from my Music Bibliography class. Boxes of them.

Anyway, as I was filing music yesterday, I realized that I have several (many?) books of arrangements of hymns for organ not as solos but as accompaniment for congregational singing (varied hymn accompaniments they’re called). Some of these books are indexed, but some are not. I decided I should complete their indexing.

I brought a bunch home and now they are stacked around the computer as I am slowly going through each volume and carefully indexing them in my hymn tune index.  Even with care, I still find mistakes.

It’s funny that I am doing this, because at this point I have a tendency to improvise these kinds of varied hymn accompaniments on the spot. Nevertheless occasionally I like to pull out a classic or fresh newly composed accompaniment.

Are you asleep yet?

Being a careful and conscientious church musician can seem tedious and boring to others. I don’t blame them. My favorite story about the obscurity of my work is the one about my hispanic Detroit landlord. I think he liked Eileen and me because we faithfully paid our rent. Judging from the conversations in his office that was unusual in his experience. When he asked me where I worked, I told him I was the musician at St. Damian’s church in Westland.

He wrinkled up his nose and honestly asked, “They pay you for that?”

It still makes me happy to remember that.


Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Books : NPR

Since I am a bibliophile,  I like lists of books. This one was modestly pointed out by John Scalzi on his blog . His novel, Old Man’s War, is number 74.

I have read many of these books. Maybe a third to half of them. I do like sci fi.


Deciding on a Book, and How to Read It –

Nice overview of a little experiment of going from one ebook reader to another while reading the same book. Finishes with a paperback and the only good thing the reviewer has to say is that it was cheap. Nice.


Interactive Cubes Recall Games of the Past – _ State of the Art

The idea of having a computer game in little screen modules is pretty cool. I hope this is a trend.

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