This day is finally here . . . Christmas Day at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and my final service as Organist. A week ago, I emailed Miguel Felipe to let him know I would be changing the postlude I had previously submitted — because it was too long! You see, as soon as the final note is played, we’ve got a plane to catch! We’re having someone pick us up this morning for church, and we will take our luggage with us. That way, as soon as the service is over, we can head straight for the airport. Our flight is at 1:33 pm, and with the service starting at 10:30, it’s going to be close! I’m trusting we won’t have to endure any long lines at the security checkpoint, however.
The music I’ve picked this morning is all French classical — music by Claude Balbastre. I’m playing A la venue de Noël for the prelude, Joseph est bien marié during communion, and Au jô deu de pubelle for the postlude. Balbastre was the son of an organist, and number 16 of 18 children! According to Wikipedia, he had two other siblings also named Claude. He became the organist of Notre Dame and taught music to Marie-Antoinette. I loved this quote about him from Dr. Charles Burney: he “performed in all styles in accompanying the choir. When the Magnificat was sung, he played likewise between each verse several minuets, fugues, imitations, and every species of music, even to hunting pieces and jigs, without surprising or offending the congregation, as far as I was able to discover.”
Reflecting back on my nearly 35 years of service at LCH, and the millions upon millions of notes I’ve played, I’m hoping that I can be remembered for the same: “without surprising or offending the congregation.”
Or, as the great Lutheran organist, Paul Manz, wrote:
I have just been the organist. Thank you for letting me play.