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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

October 15, 2010

Organists in training

evelyn @ 1:21 pm

This is the name of the project which Forth in Praise is now planning to run in conjunction with SCOTS Administrator Robin Bell. My own parish organist-hunt, which started quite independently, has now become the pilot for this bigger operation.

I’ve asked Katherine, Forth in Praise web-keeper, to give me a new webpage called ‘Playing the Organ’, because things are getting far too serious for a simple blog. The blog will carry on, though.

The idea of Organists in Training is that parishes should have trainee organists waiting in the wings, so to speak. Helped by the church’s existing organists, supported by clergy and congregation, and with a bit of outside expert assistance, they will build up their confidence and technique at their own pace, some quickly, some gradually. Bit by bit, they will take an ever-increasing part in the liturgy of the church until they are able to play for an entire Mass or service. More about all this on the new Organ page when it starts. Also, note from a comment on the previous post that this type of work is going on in other areas as well.

So how is our own pilot going? The number of volunteers went from three to seven to five. This is normal; there are always one or two people who realise that they can’t manage the commitment, and very sensibly drop out early on. The remaining five are full of get-up-and-go. One has already played for an entire Mass (OK, she is the experienced organist mentioned in the previous post, but it’s still encouraging). Another, a young man still at school with no organ experience, confidently played all the hymns at a Mass which is usually organ-less, and was feted at the end. Two more ladies will be starting to play soon, and the final one of the five is a gentleman who though very much a beginner, is as keen as mustard.

The whole thing is rather like those races in athletics with a staggered start, and it’s much the best way if you have people at different levels. You get one moving, then turn to the next, all the while encouraging those who are waiting to begin.

But one must always remember that it is the volunteers themselves who are making all this possible. If they hadn’t come forward, none of this would be happening. Bless them! They are wonderful!


  1. So, you’re incubating five organists? 🙂

    I’m so glad you have gotten five organists-in-the-making – keep us posted on how they proceed! If somebody would tape you, you’d be famous – ‘Organ Idol – this town’s got talent’!

    Comment by Dominika — October 15, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  2. A talent competition – now there’s a thought! 🙂

    Comment by evelyn — October 15, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

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