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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

July 26, 2015

Bridal chit-chat (18) – ‘Please stand’.

evelyn @ 12:24 pm

When a couple bring along their own priest, it’s always a bit worrying. I have to agree signals with him, especially for the beginning and end processions, and sometimes it’s difficult even to get a word with him. One such occasion was particularly stressful.

I went to the rehearsal but might as well not have bothered, as I didn’t get a chance to speak to the priest at all. The groom, who was concerned for me, said he would ask him to say ‘Please stand’ when the bride was ready to enter, and also at the end when the couple were ready to process out. ‘Please stand’, ‘please stand’ – easy to remember, surely.

On the day itself, the groom made a point of telling me that he’d spoken to Father, who had happily agreed to this.

So what happens? The soloist kindly offers to go down and check what the bride is doing. Comes back up after an interval to say bride is ready to go down the aisle. I look towards the front of the church. No priest. My eyesight isn’t too brilliant, but I can see that he isn’t there. Remembering a previous débacle with a missing cleric, I hesitate. We anxiously scan the sanctuary.

Then soloist says ‘I can see him. He’s in the vestry’. I look towards the open vestry door, and sure enough, I can make out a silhouette in front of the vestry window. What’s he playing at?

‘Why on earth doesn’t he come out?’ I say to the soloist.

‘Oh, he’s now making piano-playing signs’ she says.

That, of course, I can’t see at all from the far end of the church – thank goodness she can. And whatever happened to ‘please stand’?

I launch into the procession music, aware that while I have been unable to see his silly piano-playing gestures, all the guests at the front will have done so, and will have wondered why I hadn’t responded immediately.  Why is it that I always play better when I’m furious?

At the end of Mass I was ready for it, and sure enough:

‘He’s doing the piano-playing bit again’. Honestly.

That soloist was wonderful. I couldn’t have managed without her help. She was a wedding guest and she agreed to explain, if other guests asked her, about the ‘please stand’ that never was.

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