Are you really an organist?
  • Yesterday I was practicing and I knocked a pencil off the console and it fell into the pedal board. As I was fishing it out, I thought to myself: "Are you really and organist if you have never tried fishing a pencil out of the pedal board?"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    The service tech tells me that when he has to remove the pedal board in some churches he finds a cache of pencils, staples, paper clips and cough drop wrappers. I have found a Swiffer with the long handle reaches under the pedals quite well and sweeps pencils, etc. out without having to remove the pedal board.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    There are little children who are left to run amok in the loft at my church at masses that I am not playing for… (masses in Spanish) I regularly find candy and the pedals...

    It’s infuriating.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    SS, one of the additional reasons, beside my age, that I retired. The Hispanics have no respect for the church buildings and their kids are out of control. I don't know if that is from certain countries or what. I knew some fine folks from Mexico who had model children and were always respectful of sacred spaces. Maybe it is regional, since we mistakenly assume all of Latin/South America is one culture. It isn't.

    As an aside, I was ready to retreat - or advance - to my Byzantine heritage and leave the NO crowd to its own devices.

    Damn kids - a sure sign of aging LOL

  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    I’ve been told multiple times that “it’s cultural”.

    Why it’s acceptable to stuff dirty tissues in the piano sound board, leave dirty diapers and half-eaten slices of pizza on top of my filing cabinets, mess with the organ’s clock and memory system, throw candy between the pedals, move the bench and mirror, and rearrange the choir seating and not put things back, unplug microphones, steal the cantor stand prepped with music and leave candy wrappers and half-drunk water bottles in the seating area is a mystery to me!

    It doesn’t matter how I complain or to whom. And to make matters worse, there are no doors for me to lock to prevent any of this. I’ve nearly quit over it on more than one occasion.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,179
    Hispanics can be a problem--but I once watched a Hispanic usher nearly brain some teenaged Hispanic kid for talking loudly during the Mass. Refreshing.

    At that (tri-cultural) parish, the Hispanics were not a problem, but they certainly had a different attitude toward "sacred spaces."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    Some Hispanics are assets, others can be liabilities. We had some that wanted to contribute and build up the parish, while others arrived with their hands out and were there for what they could get. So what do we do? Pander to the lowest rung of them by allowing chickens to scratch around under the altar? To those among us who delight in pandering, I'm tired of you, too. We have a culture, too. There is no reason for it to take second place to another's. There are standards of behavior when you are in someone else's home. Some are a bit too entitled when in reality, they are not entitled to much of anything.

    Don't get me started on our money-grubbing priests who would welcome the devil in the door if he proved to be another source of contributions.
    Thanked by 2Jani RedPop4
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    You're an organist if...

    ...you have to tell the sitting organist at one of the churches you play for that the battery went dead in the Allen and no longer holds registrations in memory... and they don't care to fix it, and at every Mass one has to reregister the stops... THAT... drives me insane!!!

    ...you have removed the pedalboard yourself to clean under the pedalboard...

    ...you have tuned your own reeds...

    ...you have fixed a cipher...

    ...you have changed the tension on the trackers because of humidity...

    ...you move open cups of water off the top of the console in case it gets knocked into the swell manual while you are playing and the whole thing blows up...


    ...you are told you are:

    ...playing TOO LOUD ...playing TOO MUCH ...playing TOO LONG

    ======

    ...you are told you NEED TO PLAY THE PIANO MORE OFTEN and NOT THE ORGAN... (as I am playing a piece by Bach with full organ)... ...(I nod yes and smile like a chesire cat and then I especially ignore all requests to play the piano for the next three liturgical seasons)

    ...you pull ALL the 8' stops on the Allen and you are irked that there are not enough foundations to support congregational singing... and in the back of your mind you keep saying to yourself, 'What the hell is that screetching sound', while dismembering all the mixtures one by one until you are left playing 8, 4 and 2's... ... and then you say to yourself, 'i need more organ!' (cowbell)

    (should I keep going??)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    That's why I like stop tabs, Francis. It's easier to swat a hand full of them with one swipe.
    Thanked by 2francis RedPop4
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    I can relate to everything except the battery problem. Substitute Rodgers for Allen (and mine is so old, that there are little circular magnets that comprise the memory, and certain pistons can’t fire all the stops because some magnets have broken…)
    Thanked by 2francis CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744

    ...you pull ALL the 8' stops on the Allen and you are irked that there are not enough foundations to support congregational singing.


    And all those 8 footers sound suspiciously alike.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,248
    I played an Ahlborn-Galanti at a former post and I swear all the stops sounded alike. There was an 8’ clarinet that was actually pretty good, though
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • I say every organist has got to have gotten sawdust all over their suit from a pipe chamber they had to climb in during the homily to fix the cipher that has happened 13 times that week.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    I kept some Tyvek coveralls in my music bag for such occasions.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,852
    I’ve been told multiple times that “it’s cultural”.


    I am reminded of General Napier's comment to the Hindu priests over the abolition of the suttee when he was Commander-in-Chief of India:

    "Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."

    This custom of treating choir lofts (and church property in general, let's be honest) with disdain is your custom; ours is to hold people accountable for damaging another's property, and, if need be, locking them out. Let us all act according to our own customs. Vive le difference.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    Amen and amen.
  • I play a the manual Rodgers, I don't have to deal with the cipher issues.
  • @irishtenor


    I played an Ahlborn-Galanti at a former post and I swear all the stops sounded alike. There was an 8’ clarinet that was actually pretty good, though


    If all the stops sounded alike,
    And one of the stops sounded pretty good.
    Then it follows necessarily that all of the stops sounded pretty good.
    Thanked by 1GregoryWeber
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    I think the reason many of the stops sound alike in electronic organs is that they are using the same circuitry. The swell 8' flute is really the same as the great 8' flute. You can get the same degree of duplication on a 5-rank pipe organ that has 30 stops. It has taken those manufacturers years to even come close to the sounds that genuine pipe reeds make.
    Thanked by 1PhilipPowell
  • francis
    Posts: 10,081
    I play a the manual Rodgers, I don't have to deal with the cipher issues.
    I will contact Rodgers tomorrow and let them know you need a cipher drawknob installed by next Sunday.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    I think the reason many of the stops sound alike in electronic organs is that they are using the same circuitry. The swell 8' flute is really the same as the great 8' flute. You can get the same degree of duplication on a 5-rank pipe organ that has 30 stops.

    I can say that on my Rodgers installed in 1970, the entire choir is derived from the great; it is merely attenuated a few db softer to sound as a minor division. It literally shares all the same oscillators.

    There is only one reed generator for the whole organ. The pedal 16' bombarde 8' trumpet, 4' clairon and swell 8' trumpet, 8' oboe and 8' string are all from the same oscillator. The swell and great flutes are different, but that is more a volume difference than tonal one, and every pitch that is related is derived from the original oscillator. It makes balancing the stops nearly impossible, because it seems like you're adjusting one, but in reality you're adjusting 3-7 stops. This also makes the mutations an absolute bear as they are not tuned pure. In short: the whole thing is a turd.

    I've been assured over and over again that it sounded great in 1970, and that some analogues still sound better than digitals. Sure, boss. Whatever you say. Little good that does me now, anyway.

    I will contact Rodgers tomorrow and let them know you need a cipher drawknob installed by next Sunday.

    This made me chuckle.

    In my case, I don't need a cipher stop. All I need is to accidentally bump the b above middle c on the choir et voilà!
  • We did not usually use the loft in my old parish. The original console for our Wangerin as well as an Everett studio upright were up there, but we did most of our playing from up front where there was a second console and a Yamaha grand piano. Fortunately we did not frequently have issue with unwanted people in the loft, as we had a locked gate across the stairway halfway up. I was one of about three people with keys to it. The door at the top could also be locked with a skeleton key if needed.

    We did however have some local ragamuffins break in to the church and were caught snacking, drinking, and smoking in the sacristy, and I later discovered that they had stolen the power key from the downstairs console. The technician provided us with some new keys a short time later and that was the end of leaving the key inside the console.