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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

January 13, 2013

Winging it!

evelyn @ 6:31 pm

My organist organisation today reached a new low.

Ideal routine:

Get to church half-an-hour before Mass starts, pick up a Mass sheet, unlock the gallery door, which also allows the people manning the stall to get their merchandise from the lower level. Climb the stairs, open the console and switch on. Lay out in order my already prepared music: voluntaries, Mass parts, hymns, making sure correct tune is in place if there is a choice. Check Mass sheet for any notices about music, check hymn board numbers are correct. Change into organ shoes. Put clock and organ specs on console. Get psalm ready for final practice with cantor, who will turn up shortly. Gentle run-through with cantor, check clock, arrange stops and music for first hymn, check Gloria is at hand, then start pre-Mass voluntary or improvisation,  continuing until the bell which signals the opening procession.

What happened today:

Set out five minutes late. Snowing, so decide to go long way round. Roadworks and interminable traffic lights on long way round. Arrive 15 minutes before start of Mass. Cantor waiting patiently at locked gallery door with a queue of stall people. Open door, pelt upstairs. Scrabble in bag for psalm and organ shoes. Discover I have given cantor wrong psalm, which she has learned. Both of us now have to learn correct psalm from scratch in five minutes. Thank heaven she is a good sight-reader, and good-natured with it. Hymn board needs adjusting. Cantor volunteers to do it, and disappears.

Altar servers now going down to back of church – must be nearly procession time. Check watch (clock still in bag). A minute to go. Grab hymnal and open at first hymn – drat! it’s an alternative tune, must poke about in cupboard for a different book and stagger back to the console.

Did I just hear the PA system being switched on? Where has the Gloria gone? Where are my glasses?



So much for New Year resolutions.




  1. Indeed.. it was rather breathtaking Evelyn – but there’s nothing like a bit of pressure to bring out the best in both of us!! Ha ha!!

    Comment by Justine — January 18, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

  2. Thanks, Justine. For those who don’t know, Justine was Sunday’s cantor. As cantors go, she’s quite exceptional. Not only is she reaching for the stars as a singer, but she’s also, quite literally, reaching for the stars! Go on, vote for her!

    Comment by evelyn — January 20, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

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