When I teach my young students about playing the organ, I ask them, “And what is the last thing you do after you finish playing your piece?” Push the Cancel button! That is to cancel any stops that are on to eliminate any “oops!” moments if your fingers happen to touch any keys by mistake after the piece is over. That is precisely what I didn’t do last Sunday when I finished playing the Hymn of the Day, and my right hand touched the keyboard with stops drawn after the hymn was finished. Oops!
This past week at Iolani School, we had a guest speaker in chapel who told us God had a sense of humor. So it was serendipitous that my friend from the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM), Robin Knutson, posted this Guide to Understanding Your Organist on her FaceBook page:
Bach Prelude and Fugue: Organist is happy
French Toccata: Organist is very happy
French Toccata at double speed: Organist went to pub during sermon
Improvisation on hymn: Organist has lost glasses
Improvisation on popular song: Organist has lost temper
Long chord cluster: Organist has gone to sleep
Silence: Organist has gone to pub
Robin said she borrowed this from the organist of the First Methodist Church in Lodi, CA but I also found it on a humor page of a website for church organists called “Ye Olde Organist’s Humor Page” which you can find here. Here’s one of the jokes I liked there:
“When I grow up, I want to be a musician.”
“No, honey, you can’t do both.”
That reminds me of a memorable Christmas Eve service which I played at Holy Nativity Church in Aina Haina where I was both the choir director and the organist. The organ console was located across the chancel and I looked at the choir at the other side through a plexiglass music rack. We were doing an extended choral work at the offertory, and I turned the page too fast. To my horror, the music fell onto the pedals (!) so I tried to pick it up with one hand, and keep playing with the other. One of the choristers looked over to see I was no longer in sight, and in a loud whisper said to one of the acolytes, “SHE DROPPED HER MUSIC!” The poor acolyte tried to help, and succeeded in getting the music back on the rack, but it was upside-down!
A horrible memory that will NEVER be erased!