Yesterday I went early to St. Christopher’s to practice after our usual Saturday morning walk of 5 miles. Little did I realize I was going to have another workout — but this time on the J. W. Walker tracker organ! You see, the Walker is a completely mechanical organ, with not only mechanical key action but mechanical stop action as well. Yup, that means “no pistons for you, ma’am” and all the stops have to be pulled by hand and “with all my might!” Also I know I’m not exaggerating when I say that it takes much more weight on the keyboards to play rather than the Beckerath I’m used to — in fact, if you don’t press the key all the way to the bottom, it won’t sound! When the coupler is drawn (combining both manuals) the action is really heavy. In comparison, my late friend, John McCreary, used to say that the touch on the Beckerath is so sensitive that you need only breathe on it, and the key will play!
Surprisingly, when I played this morning, I guess I had psyched myself up over the action, and it didn’t seem quite as stiff as my practice session yesterday. I played two Easter services this morning — an Easter Vigil at 6:45 am, and Holy Eucharist at 9:30 am. The choir sang the “Hallelujah Chorus” by Handel as the offertory anthem, which we practiced prior to the service, and basically the service was “a piece of cake.”
After Easter brunch this afternoon we attended Evensong at St. Andrew’s Cathedral which was dedicated to the memory of Canon Organist and Choirmaster Emeritus, John McCreary.