Things organists do that drive you....crazy.
  • It's a little frightening that more have not posted from the priest's point of view...think back to the last complaint (or the most memorable one from the past)...
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    the priest's point of view...

    Jul 2012 after 11:00 am Mass during the final page of
    Alexandre Guilmant "March" (opus 39 n 3 || opus 36 n 3)
    the pastor completed his main entrance farewells,
    walked into the church toward the sanctuary,
    and when he got close to the organ console he said
    "that postlude was a little over the top".

    Was it?
    You decide ...
    (score)
    http://imslp.org/wiki/L'Organiste_pratique_(Guilmant,_Alexandre)
    download "Premier livraison, Op.39" # 251812
    (video)
    start at timestamp == 1:50
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE5OB-_fUCo
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    One of my predecessors would hold a chord, then turn the organ off. The sound was hideous as the wind died away.


    That is the most bizarre thing I have ever heard.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    Was it?
    You decide ...


    It's a march, not a piece of sacred music. I play the 3rd Symphony march by Widor 3 or 4 times a year. Church music, it ain't, but I like it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658

    That is the most bizarre thing I have ever heard.


    This was the gentleman who talked the parish into buying Glory & Praise, which we dumped shortly after our recently retired pastor arrived in 1998. it was bizarre and I have never heard anyone else do it.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    We'd do that with the big Fritts organ at ASU ... like once in awhile if someone hadn't heard it before. Novelty. Laughs. Fascination. Whatever. Doing it regularly, and in a church, is just odd.
  • Guilmant (I attended the Guilmant Organ School in NYC) is usually pretty churchy, but this one borders on frivolity!
    Thanked by 2BruceL eft94530
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Was it?

    He so seldom comments.
    I could not tell whether or not he was smiling.

    The piece might be neck and neck (over the top) with this one ...
    (score)
    http://imslp.org/wiki/March_(Camp,_John_Spencer)
    (soundfile)
    Sorry, none discovered yet.
  • Good example!
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,038
    Noel, when did the Guilmant school close? I was under the impression it closed in the 40's...

    True story, I had a manual from there as well as one of the BIG 1950's GIA chant manuals that were given to me.

    Lost by the USPS media mail when I moved to Birmingham. I've filed this in the "unforgivable sins" category.
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 209
    2) organ is too dissonant, too esoteric. In fairness to organists this can simply mean that the priest doesn't listen to music written in the last 80 or so years, and doesn't think the people do, either.

    At a previous parish I was practicing an Alain piece with the intention of making it the prelude at an upcoming Mass, and a priest who was in residence at that parish came rushing up to me and said excitedly, "You aren't playing that at Mass, are you?!" I stammered, "Uh...um, no....just practicing for fun" or something like that.

    Another time I was practicing Reger, and the associate who passing by through the church stopped and said something like, "That piece is awesome! Is that for a concert? I mean, it's obviously not for Mass, but it's really cool."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    "That piece is awesome! Is that for a concert? I mean, it's obviously not for Mass, but it's really cool."


    Some years ago, I bought a digital organ. I do all my practicing at home. The Rodgers console is similar enough to the church Schantz I have no difficulty changing from one to the other. When anyone hears something I play before, during, or after mass they only get the one chance to comment. Of course, they have to beat it to the loft, climb the steep and plentiful stairs, catch their breath, then tell me their comment. I may have left the loft and gotten to the basement or out the front door to talk to friends by then. I am quite accessible, but you have to catch me. LOL.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    most of the organists in my area that I know are little old ladies with buns.

    Fortunate, else they'd have to play standing up.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,652
    Some are rather...gifted in that, erm, area.
    Thanked by 1expeditus1
  • G, you are
    Heeeeeeeeelarious!
  • kenstb
    Posts: 363
    My organ teacher was a little old lady with hair in a bun. She was the most brilliant musician I ever met. She was so talented as an organist that she frightened me. That says a lot, since I was never lacking in self confidence. Sometimes those old ladies can surprise you. ; )
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Standing on the pedal keyboard
    (instead of sliding off the bench).
    Erasing score pencil marks on the music rack
    (instead of moving score to the bench to erase and sweep crumbs to floor).
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,262
    Breaking the spine of yet another hymnal, instead of looking for one of the dozens already damaged.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • It isn't the organist that drives me crazy sometimes as much as the cantor in the neighbouring parish I also sing at. The poor woman doesn't seem to realise she's supposed to be both leading the singing AND following the pitches being played on the organ, and just ends up singing to her own melody and tempo altogether.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,659

    Breaking the spine of yet another hymnal, instead of looking for one of the dozens already damaged.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43_FwYorPSc
  • Hahahaha! Three cheers for Jeff Ostrowski!
    And now he's part of the revolution in the desert. Well, if you call LA a desert. I do. :)
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    It isn't the organist that drives me crazy sometimes as much as the cantor in the neighbouring parish I also sing at. The poor woman doesn't seem to realise she's supposed to be both leading the singing AND following the pitches being played on the organ, and just ends up singing to her own melody and tempo altogether.


    I didn't know she travelled. I thought she was only at my parish.
    Thanked by 1ghmus7
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,005
    CharlesW

    I think she is on tour.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW canadash
  • The person that wrote that Gregorian Chant has Pride of Place should have also written out in full that the Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Alleluia are to be sung only when qualified singers are able to be present, otherwise the psalm should be spoken and the Gospel Alleluia Verse should not be sung.
    Thanked by 2canadash francis
  • Of course, you had to turn a thread about organists' annoying habits back around to the crummy cantor!
    :)

    As long as the choir is suppressed or underdeveloped or music is deemed necessary at every mass, we will have crummy cantors with us. Bad song leading embarrasses skilled singers the most, I daresay.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen canadash
  • As long as the choir is suppressed or underdeveloped or music is deemed necessary at every mass,


    It's a hideous situation, and the Liturgy deserves better.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 705
    CharlesW said...

    When anyone hears something I play before, during, or after mass they only get the one chance to comment. Of course, they have to beat it to the loft, climb the steep and plentiful stairs, catch their breath, then tell me their comment. I may have left the loft and gotten to the basement or out the front door to talk to friends by then.


    You either move very fast or you are at the lone church in the United States that has members of the congregation that actually stay a couple minutes after Mass. You see, I am almost always the last person out of the church... in fact, by the time flick the stops off (a few seconds), flip the power switch, turn off the organ lamp, the balcony light, and replace all music in its appropriate spot, most people have already vamoosed. In all likelihood a good share of them are already back at home watching the Bears game.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,659
    You either move very fast or you are at the lone church in the United States that has members of the congregation that actually stay a couple minutes after Mass.


    This is hyperbole...

    Every church I've ever worked at, if I've been the one to lock up on occasion, I've always had to wait 10-15 minutes after the postlude, clean up, etc.. for people to finally clear out.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,169
    I've always had to wait after the postlude...
    You must not be not doing it right!
    Thanked by 2Kathy CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    in fact, by the time flick the stops off (a few seconds), flip the power switch, turn off the organ lamp, the balcony light, and replace all music in its appropriate spot, most people have already vamoosed.


    I was referring to the time between multiple masses. I don't turn anything off, just hit the general cancel piston and leave the loft - after a short postlude, of course. I learned long ago that playing long pieces meant I would be playing to an empty building. After the last mass of the day, I shut everything down in the loft and lock up, as well. It takes longer to get away at that time.

    I don't think we are unique, but people have a tendency to gather in clumps near the stairs to the loft. When I want to get through them, they move back and let me through. Anyone trying to go the other way and up the loft stairs runs into a wall of people who don't move for them.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    Of course, you had to turn a thread about organists' annoying habits back around to the crummy cantor!
    :)


    Cantors have more annoying and mass-destructive habits than organists. It is usually the organist trying to hold the whole mess together and keep it from further deterioration.

    Those damnable sopranos are the worst of the lot. They think everything is all about them. I half-way expect one of them to enthrone herself in front of the tabernacle one of these days. It's that diva mentality at its worst.
  • Speaking as a cantor myself, I can honestly there's a quick solution to that problem- have the choir facing sideways across the church, and fairly out of the way, positioned so that the cantor's podium is in an acoustically good position, but still unobtrusive. Granted, I'm kind of in a special situation, since I'm in a parish where cantor=only one singing, because no one else wants to.
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    Granted, I'm kind of in a special situation, since I'm in a parish where cantor=only one singing, because no one else wants to.


    I understand that! After years of budget cuts in Catholic and public schools in the area, many adults never experienced or learned singing. Cantors can be quite hard to get. Then the ones you get may not be the greatest. But they show up, so I should be more appreciative.
  • It's getting a little sad, to be honest. We can't seem to even get any more than a handful for the Christmas and Easter choirs, even though we try to recruit to the point of desperation. Any Feast Day or ordinary Sunday? Just the organist and I 7:00 and the organist and the other cantor at 11:00, with me sometimes filling in for the other guy.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,262
    One thing to try is psychologically making it more difficult to sing in the choir. Make it clear that there will be an audition. People weirdly like this.

    Also, begin with the children.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    O good heavens! If I held auditions I would have to throw out half the people I currently have.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,652
    O good heavens! If I held auditions I would have to throw out half the people I currently have.

    Consider them 'grandfathered in'. LOL.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Yes, begin with the children! I was recruited into the parish choir as a young eleven-year old treble. Now look at me; eight years later, the choir has almost gone, and the youngest and oldest members are pretty much the only ones left.
    ....I hope that's not some kind of cause and effect...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    ....I hope that's not some kind of cause and effect...


    I don't think it is cause and effect, but rather the times in which we live. We have lost the iPad, gaming, and social media wars. Kids are so over-scheduled and over-booked they look at Sunday and choir rehearsal times as down time, or times for other activities besides worship and singing.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • I think I may have just been a really weird kid, then. Other teens were collecting comic books- I was collecting and reading old missals, various Books of Common Prayer, the volumes of Tracts for the Times, The Parson's Handbook, Fortescue's Ceremonies, Ritual Notes, 50 Gothic Altars, Directorium Anglicanum, St. Dunstan's Psalter and the Anglican Chant Psalter, the Graduale Romanum, The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England, Byzantine Daily Prayer, the Jordanville Prayerbook, and the Palmer/Burgess Gradual. Not to mention compiling and printing the entire format of all seven Horologion services off on Anastasis.org, with full rubrics, as well as the English-Latin version of the Breviary off of Divinum Officium, and the BCP Matins, Litany and Evensong texts from Eskimo.com

    ...I really should have known I was fated to be a Liturgy nerd. :p
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,382
    O good heavens! If I held auditions I would have to throw out half the people I currently have.

    The suggestion was to audition singers, not to actually be selective!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,262
    Exactly.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    So what exactly is the point of auditions without being selective? I can quickly determine what section they belong in without an audition.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,137
    Actually, to my mind, the primary purpose of an audition in an all-volunteer parish choir is careful discernment of where to situate the volunteer. Especially given that most women are mezzos and most men are baritones, so being forced into SATB means one should understand the more felicitous (or at least less dangerous) direction for distortion...yeah, I'm looking at all you keyboardists who tend to assign baritones to tenor without sufficient thought....
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    yeah, I'm looking at all you keyboardists who tend to assign baritones to tenor without sufficient thought....


    I am a baritone and I know very well that we are not basses or tenors. LOL.
  • Not always. I distinctly remember my high school choir teacher shunting me off to the bass section of the choir after hearing only a few bars, when I can barely comfortably get down to a low A to save my life. That was the most painful rendition of the national anthem I have ever been part of performing, physically and in sound quality. Finally, he shunted me to the alto section next time. Much better! I'm one of those weird people with the range of an average baritone, but the lighter tone quality of a tenor, and it gets annoying sometimes.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,658
    Love this. Almost too true to be funny.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n453yVHMpbw
    Thanked by 2EMH CHGiffen
  • Speaking of the national anthem...
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,169

    Cantors have more annoying and mass-destructive habits than organists.
    I assume CharlesW plays more than he cantors, and perhaps his own excellence skews his data ;-)

    I had a busdrivers holiday (more 'jam' than 'gig') last Sunday: without too many embarrassing identifying details, after a 17c solo motet with my wife, the two regulars introduced the entry hymn on piano and organ with approximate ensemble, a steep ritardando and fermata and two quite distinct cutoffs and reentries, repeated every verse. I have to doubt I could do near as much damage as cantor, even if I were trying.