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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist



April 4, 2010

The Vigil

evelyn @ 11:05 am

The Easter Vigil is a lovely service, with an atmosphere all its own.  For Catholic organists, there’s a feeling of resolution following the inevitable tension, strain and even arguments involved in preparing with choir and cantors for the three separate and contrasting services in Holy Week known as the Triduum.

The Vigil is the final one of the three, and the most complicated.  It’s also the most important feast of the Church’s year, so that churches without a regular organist will move heaven and earth to get someone for that particular Saturday evening.  Hence the email I received yesterday afternoon, as I was getting ready for my own Vigil service, from a C of S lady who had been persuaded to play at a Catholic Vigil that evening.  She had never played at a Catholic service before.  Could I advise her?

Oh my gosh, I thought, this is the most difficult introduction to playing for Catholic liturgy that you can possibly get.  On the other hand, the parish will be enormously grateful to her and will help all they can.  So my main piece of advice was to get a ‘minder’, someone who knew the ropes and could tell the organist when to play.  This she did, and another email today told me that all had gone well.

My own service, our first Vigil with the new parish priest, went well, too, and the glass of wine in the hall afterwards was a real bonus.  Our PP seems to have all the right ideas …

Happy Easter, everyone!

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