Turning pages

We’ve been in the middle of a bathroom remodeling the last few weeks and consequently I haven’t been able to get to this blog lately, with all the upheaval caused by our moving into the guest room and bathroom during this time.

I’m a subscriber to a LISTSERV dedicated to folks interested in the pipe organ. Lately there has been a discussion about turning pages, especially as one gets older. It becomes more difficult to do if you have any type of skin problems as you can’t grab the page quickly enough. And I can remember all sorts of disasters when a page turn resulted in two pages turned at once or worse yet, the music on the floor!

For years I’ve been interested in electronic solutions, but they have been too expensive for me to consider. The premise is that one works with a scanned copy of the music on a laptop computer or other digital device and uses a touchscreen to get to the next page. I just saw one advertised which uses a USB wireless pedal which soon will work with my iPad, so when that comes out I may buy it!

In the meantime, someone sent a link to a humorous description of a professional page-turner which I include here:

The following program notes are from a recent Carnegie Hall piano recital.
Or so we’re told.

Tonight’s page turner, Ruth Spelke, studied under Ivan Schmertnacoff at the Boris Nitsky School of Page Turning in Philadelphia. She has been turning pages for many years for several of the world’s leading pianists, both here and in Europe.

In 1983, Ms. Spelke won the Wilson Page Turning Scholarship which sent her to Israel to study page turning from left to right. She was the winner of the 1984 Rimsky-Korsakov “Flight of the Bumblebee” Prestissimo Medal, having turned 47 pages in an unprecedented 32 seconds. She was also a 1988 Silver Medalist at the Klutz Musical Page Pickup Competition where contestants are required to retrieve and rearrange a musical score dropped from a Yamaha piano. Ms. Spelke excelled in “grace, swiftness, and, especially, poise.”

Constantly experimenting with special techniques, Ms. Spelke performs both the Finger-Licking and the Bent-Page Corner methods. She works from the standard left-bench position and is the originator of the Dipped-Elbow Page Snatch, a style now much used to avoid obscuring the performer’s view of the music. Currently, she is Page Turner in Residence at the Fairfield Page Turning Institute in Stamford, Connecticut where she occupies the coveted Fritz Reiner Chair.

Ms. Spelke is married and the mother of two children both planning careers in page turning. She and her family live in a nice house on a small lake in Keokuk, Iowa.

This Thursday night is the first choir rehearsal of this last season with Carl Crosier as cantor. It’s another page turned in this chapter of the Book of Life.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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