thinking about church music and listening to a tape of my grandparents


The choir sounded excellent yesterday! That was gratifying. I performed the prelude from my tablet, turning on the scrolling function which moved through the music as I played.

After church, I looked at turntables and pastry cutters on Amazon. My turntable is not reproducing both left and right channel which makes it pretty useless. I think it’s interesting that so much equipment is being sold to reproduce tape recordings and vinyl records these days. I can remember when most of the equipment available online was used and often crappy. I bought several reel to reel tape players online. “Vintage” ones. Heh.

But now there is a wide range of equipment available. I am looking at a turntable in the $200 range. The $100 ones look unreliable in quality. I probably need a tone arm that can be adjusted to play more worn older records.


I broke my pastry cutter and could only find one with blades not wires at Meijer. I bought one with blades but was wondering if there was a reason to use one with wires. Still thinking about that.

I returned later to the empty church to practice organ. I am planning a Böhm Sunday on the organ next time.

After about an hour and a half, I went home, made a martini and listened to several interpretations of the partita I am learning.

It’s based on the tune, Christe der du bist tag und licht.


It was interesting to me to listen to the various interpretations on YouTube. Different tempos (changing tempos!), registrations, manual changes, use of pedal.

I am evolving an interpretation on my own. But it is helpful to hear what others are doing. I think today I will make a Spotify playlist. The YouTube videos seemed to be recordings of live performances for the most part. All of them had resonant rooms. I was surprised that the players rushed through the reverberation at the end of little sections.

I told the choir to listen to how the organ was “breathing” in a hymn we were rehearsing. I think being a choral conductor improves my phrasing on the organ both in hymn playing and repertoire.

I can remember my piano teacher years ago asking me not to rush from a major section in a Beethoven sonata to one in minor. A slight pause gives the listener a chance to make the transitions with you better.  I think this is even more important when dealing with reverberation.

Yesterday, more than once, my lively singing congregation had a different concept of the tempo of a piece than I did. I mentioned to the choir during the pregame that I might do the psalm tone differently with the congregation. The trick, I told them, was not to leave the group in the dust, to maybe meet them half way if i can tell they were struggling a bit with singing the anglican chant.

Conversely, I didn’t want them to drag in one of the hymns.

I dropped out on the last stanza of the second communion hymn. The congregation finished it without me. This is an accomplishment. When I first arrived, I remember the participation in the communion hymns was mostly limited to the choir.

As I am writing this, I am taping another service which seems to be my Grandfather Jenkins again. I think he sings a bit of a solo and my Grandmother probably played the organ solo at the offertory.

I am tempted to re-record this reel and break it up into its constitute parts, especially my Grandfather’s solo and my Grandmother’s playing.

Here’s an attempt at embedding an mp3 link people can copy from. (Post Script: I couldn’t get this to work on my tablet. It did have an option to download it, however. If you, dear reader, try this, I would be interested to know if you were successful.)

I am amused that at the age of 64 I am still sitting and thinking about church as I listen to a recording made of other Jenkinses doing church some fifty years ago.

I have often thought that my Grandfather and Grandmother Jenkins would be horrified by my agnosticism and approach to Christianity.

If I can figure out how to share it a bit better, maybe I will upload some snippets if I make those discrete smaller sectional recordings.


2 thoughts on “thinking about church music and listening to a tape of my grandparents

  1. I was able to download the file that you posted. Thanks…

    Strange how much Dad and his dad’s voices are similar. Clearly different but similar. I sort of think that the difference is more one of training (or lack thereof) than of sound. Or perhaps it’s just stylistic.

    This stuff is great! Keep it coming. And thanks!

    1. Excellent! I think I will both embed and link in the future. That way if a reader wants to hear a recording they can click on it. If it doesn’t work or they want to download it, they can go to the link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.