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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

July 27, 2020

Back again! At last!

evelyn @ 12:42 pm

I was back at the organ at long last yesterday morning. But how different it all is. No singing allowed, so no hymns or Mass parts. Just background organ music at beginning and end.

The music to be played at the beginning had caused a bit of discussion. Our priest wanted something loud. He seemed to be thinking in terms of a processional, but of course there would be no procession. He would simply come out of the sacristy and walk over to the altar. A bell would signal this, and the people would stand up. I was concerned that any loud music on my part might drown out the bell.

I suggested we should, at least on this occasion, try to follow the custom of the Protestant churches thus: organ plays quietly, bell goes, people rise, organ keeps playing until priest has moved to the altar and is ready to start Mass, organ then winds up. Priest agreed to this when I added that I would explore ways of making things louder for future occasions. In fact, I’ve thought of a few already.

The end of Mass was very strange, and rather sad. After receiving Communion, people didn’t return to their seats but instead turned into the side chapel, then out through the opened emergency door and into the car park. It was over very quickly, and my background music just died away.

Then, as I watched from the gallery, the ushers moved in with mops and disinfectant. They looked quite alarming and police-like in their high visibility jackets and their masks. I could hardly recognise the friendly churchgoers I knew so well.

Will things ever get back to normal?

But it was good to be back.



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