If there was one thing I wanted to do while in Paris, it was to go to the Sunday mass and organ concert at St Sulpice, the church made famous by the book, The Da Vinci Code, and the church where I had heard my former teacher, Marcel Dupré, improvise all the Sunday services while I was a student here in 1968. I was all set to go there for the 10:45 am prelude, the 11:00 am mass, and the 12:00 concert on Sunday, which is a free day on our tour.
Then Saturday night about 11:00 pm I exchanged a series of emails from Clayton Logue, organist from St. John’s in Kula, Maui, saying that he had a dear friend, Mary Haddad, who was canon at the American Cathedral in Paris, and she might let me try out the organ. Yes, Monday might be the perfect day, but what if that was her day off? The long and short of it (and it was 12:21 am when I got the confirmation from Mary) was that I was to meet her at 10:30 am, before the 11:00 am service at the American Cathedral, and I would leave the service early so I could still make the 12:00 pm organ concert at St Sulpice.
A short while later, at 1:01 am I got a text message from organist Nathan Laube, whom I had just heard play a fabulous concert at Girard College in Philadelphia: Hi Kathy! You’re in Paris! How wonderful – I’m not too far away in Bourges, playing a concert tomorrow evening in the magnificent Cathedral (surely one of the most beautiful 5 in France). If by any chance you were interested in coming down this way, it’s just an 1h30 min train from Gare Austerlitz I think! Let me know and it would be a pleasure to see you! xx Nathan
I quickly checked the train schedules and on impulse, bought a round trip ticket to Bourges! (St Sulpice will have to wait for another time.)
I went to the American Cathedral and introduced myself to Andrew Dewar, the organist, before the service. I did have a nice chat with Mary Haddad and found out she spent several months on Maui last year. We instantly connected! We have a number of friends in common throughout the Hawaii Diocese in addition to Clay, including Dean Walter Brownridge and his wife Tina. She suggested we take a selfie to prove to Clay that we found each other!
I will return Monday afternoon to spend some time at the organ. I stayed through about half of the sermon then left for the train.