The last couple weeks have seemed like one disaster after another, wouldn’t you agree?
While I was still in Italy, Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, was overcome by Hurricane Harvey and massive amounts of rain, resulting in devastating flooding. One of the participants from the Historic Organ Study Tour was from Houston, and of course, his flight home was cancelled, coming on the heels of the hurricane. All of us on the tour were worried for the safety of his wife and their home, as well as for friends we knew who live in the Houston area.
I’m wondering whether there were any church organs that were damaged by flooding? There was a little humor expressed on the Facebook Organists’ Association page: One organist said she was going to play several movements of Handel’s Water Music! Another suggested Handel’s chorus, The heavens are telling!
Then last weekend, we all held our breath and prayed for deliverance during the La Tuna Canyon fire in Southern California — a very short distance from my family’s former home in Burbank, California and just across the street from my sister’s home in Sun Valley.
Here’s a slideshow of my sister’s photos of the fire. Fortunately, the helicopters dropping water saved their hillside, just in the nick of time. My sister was also impressed with the fixed wing aircraft which dropped fire retardant.
Then a few days ago, there was an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico, one of the most powerful in that country, but thankfully, not very near to where my son’s in-laws live. Still, the pictures looked devastating.
And this weekend, I have been mesmerized by the media coverage of Hurricane Irma, which is still not over. The damage is still to be assessed, but I know already that people were concerned about the fate of several fine pipe organs in the South Florida area.
All these natural disasters reminded me of Sunday morning, October 15, 2006, when an earthquake of 6.6 magnitude struck Hawaii. The power went off, and there was no light in the nave. For the 8 am service, the piano was rolled out into the courtyard where the service was held. Then for the 10:30 am service, the choir tried to rehearse in the nave, getting close to the fire exit doorway in order to use the light from outdoors to see the music, but it was hopeless! We ended up moving to Isenberg Hall, where I used the harpsichord to accompany the hymns and choral anthem for the service.
So, after all these disasters it was a blessed relief when former student, Joey Fala, sent me a link to today’s live-streamed video of Duke University evensong where he is the Organ Scholar. The videography is really interesting, using multiple camera views, and of course, you can hear and see Joey playing the organ. He played music by William Mathias, who was his favorite composer while studying organ in high school. Accompanying the excellent Evensong choir must be absolutely thrilling, especially in those reverberant acoustics. I bet Joey is having a blast playing the 1932 Aeolian organ!
Apparently all the services are videotaped and posted to the internet, so I decided to subscribe.
Isn’t the Internet great!