St. Theresa . . . St. Christopher . . . St. Clement . . . St. Andrew. No, I’m not reciting a random list of saints — this is the list of churches for which I have been asked to substitute as organist since “retiring” last Christmas. Someone once said, “Organists never die; they just scale down!” And now I have the option of getting up on Sunday morning — to sub or not to sub — that’s my choice!
Well, yes and no. This Sunday, I was “volunteered” to play the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral while John Renke is away on the mainland. Organ Scholar Brian McCarthy is also away, so I guess I was next in line. With Carl now singing in the Cathedral Choir, he’ll be doing a little hand-waving this week in John Renke’s absence. And since I’ll be at the organ, it will be a little bit like old times, except in a different space and with a different organ.
It being Trinity, I will be continuing my long tradition of playing Bach. For many years I played Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, the so-called “St. Anne.” But at St. Andrew’s I decided to do a sneak preview of my upcoming August concerts, and will be playing two chorales from Bach’s Great Eighteen — two settings of Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehre (All glory be to God on high) which I learned during my Lenten discipline as well as Wir glauben all an einem Gott (We believe in one God) from Clavierübung.
Years and years ago, my husband Carl and I once took a vacation by substituting for John McCreary at the Cathedral, when organ substitutes were particularly difficult to find.
As I’ve said before, organ subbing is a little bit like cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Some things are the same, but some things are a lot different. Wish me luck!