During the years of 1993-2004 I made my living by playing weddings full-time for Japanese tourists (of course, this was in addition to my church job at LCH, my chapel job at Iolani School AND my organ teaching.) Basically I jumped on the organ bench, spent fifteen minutes playing the wedding, posed for pictures, then drove to the next location. The Lutheran Church of Honolulu was only one venue out of twelve different locales in which I was the organist for these short ceremonies. I think that in those eleven years, I played 0ver 6000 weddings — as many as ten a day on “busy” days. My record was 16 weddings in one day when I had to substitute for a sick organist at the last minute (I was called at 5:30 that morning!) in addition to playing the weddings I already had scheduled for myself. In those days I carried a good deal of my sheet music in the trunk of my car, plus a couple of pairs of organ shoes.
One thing I learned back then was how to quickly “register,” that is, pick the stops I wanted to use, on an unfamiliar instrument. And that is what I had to do this afternoon, when I went over to St. Clement’s Episcopal Church to practice for the funeral I’m playing there this weekend, in addition to the Sunday service. For those two services, I’ll be playing two preludes, two postludes, nine hymns, a Gloria, a Sanctus, the Doxology, plus the choir anthem. This amount of music is not unusual for a liturgical church, but of course, since I am unfamiliar with the organ, my task this afternoon was to set up my registrations to play all this music.
In case you’re interested, the organ is by Austin and you can see the specification by clicking here.