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Forth in Praise

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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

March 27, 2014

The Open Diapason nearly hit the Benylin!

evelyn @ 10:52 pm

There isn’t a lot of room on the console below the Great stops, even less on the Swell side. Certainly not enough to set out my full chemist’s shop. I have this horrible cold and cough which has gone on for days, and last night was the deanery Lenten Station Mass, celebrated by the Archbishop with various deanery clergy. So I had to stagger out to play. Full choir presence meant little room in the gallery. I had cough sweets lined up, paper off, plus bottles of water and cough mixture, uncorked for easy swigging. All these were on the Great side of the console, furthest from public view though very visible to the choir. All the space was taken up and my tissue box was beside me on the bench. Ready to go, I thought.

Then I looked at the size of the congregation – at least 250 and still coming in – and a little voice told me that at some point I was going to need EVERYTHING. I had planned a sort of low-key accompaniment, mainly on the Swell, to point up the choir, and we’re in Lent, after all. And in my state of health, I’d be playing on automatic, anyway. Trouble is, when there’s a big response from the people down below, ‘automatic’ tends to start adding stops – sort of, automatically. The Great Open Diapason is a beautiful, massive sound, and I could see myself going for it without thinking. The little voice pointed out that if I did this as things stood, the Open Diapason stop would hit the Benylin cough mixture, which would then pour itself slowly on to the pedals, which I would have to keep playing. My organ shoes would be wrecked and a major clean-up job required on the pedals before next Sunday.

Well, it didn’t happen. I put the cough mixture on the bench, re-corking it against accidental choir jostling. I actually only needed it during the Archbishop’s homily, when I had a real old coughing fit. The sopranos watched sympathetically. I do hope I haven’t infected them.

This is a bit of an inconsequential blog post, but I don’t feel up to anything serious. However, I must register my thanks to the voice in my ear (a Lenten angel, perhaps? Or just a hidden part of my brain that was actually working?) which said ‘Don’t you realise what will happen if you pull that stop?’


  1. 😀 It’s only inconsequential because of the angel – otherwise a very useful warning. There’s a parallel universe somewhere where the angel had the day off and the shoes and pedals weren’t so lucky…

    Comment by Ant — March 29, 2014 @ 8:40 am

  2. In my present state, the idea of parallel universes makes my head spin! Actually, it makes my head spin whatever state I’m in …

    Comment by evelyn — March 29, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

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