Even though the use of the organ in some churches is passé, there still seems to be a need for organists in others. And it seems that organists are on their way of going the way of the dodo bird, or the dinosaur.
So when an organist goes on vacation, or needs to have surgery, or has a baby, or is otherwise indisposed or out of town, who ya gonna call? In Honolulu, there is such a shortage of capable organists that it’s desperation time, otherwise known as “get creative.”
Just a few weeks ago, the St. Andrew’s Cathedral organist, John Renke, needed to find an organ substitute and called all over town to no avail (I was in Massachusetts at the time.) What finally happened, is that one of my organ students back from college went to play at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, and their organist, Karl Bachman, came to sub at the Cathedral!
I remember years ago, my husband Carl and I spent our “vacation” from the Lutheran Church of Honolulu subbing at St. Andrew’s Cathedral for organist John McCreary. That’s what you call a busman’s holiday!
Something similar is happening this weekend, since I am engaged at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (my last of 5 Sundays subbing for Samuel Lam). John Renke again was desperate for an organist, even a pianist (!) as he needs to go to the mainland for a funeral. Again he made the round of calls to organists without church jobs, and none was available.
So what finally is happening this weekend, is that the Cathedral is flying my organ student from Maui, Clayton Logue, to Honolulu while he gets a substitute for his church, St. John’s Episcopal in Kula, Maui! Clay will be staying with me over the weekend, since I live only two blocks away from St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
It wasn’t that long ago that Clay told me they were willing to fly me over to Maui because there wasn’t a single organist on Maui available to substitute! Unfortunately, that was the weekend of Peter Hallock’s funeral, so I had to be in Seattle.
(By the way, the name “Clay” is so uncommon in Hawaii, that people here have turned his name into “Kalei,” a Hawaiian name which means “the flower wreath” or “beloved.” People with this name tend to be quiet, cooperative, considerate, sympathetic to others, adaptable, balanced and sometimes shy.)
And guess where I’ll be the following week?! You guessed it, playing two Sunday services and Evensong at St. Andrew’s Cathedral! Meanwhile I will be playing for two funerals at the Cathedral this week, plus another Evensong service this Sunday.
So it may be just be your lucky day, or serendipity, but the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists is again offering scholarships for organ lessons. That’s right, organ lessons at HALF-OFF! because the Chapter will pay for the balance of the lessons. If ever you have dreamed about playing “The King of Instruments,” now’s your time!