PipeChat Digest #5426 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by "Mark" <mark_52@comcast.net>
ministry vs. job
  by "Randy Terry" <randy@peacham.homeip.net>
Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by "Harry Grove" <musicman@cottagemusic.co.uk>
Taking Life Too Seriously
  by "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com>
Re: Organists under 30, please email me off list
  by "TGrenz" <octaaf@charter.net>

(back) Subject: Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: "Mark" <mark_52@comcast.net> Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 00:06:37 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)   My, my, Chuck... you did expand the question quite a bit, and I do believ= e in a very worth while manner.=0D =0D I think the first question that every organist must first ask of him or herself is the one that I feel most would fear to honestly answer.=0D That is: Do I consider what I do a ministry or a position, or a combinat= ion of both. Whether one is the Organist of the largest Cathedral or the smallest church congregation in the community, whether one holds a doctor= ate in performance with all the little achievement awards as a member of AGO,= or one is beginning the journey of organ studies as a result of a simple lov= e for or intrigue in the instrument, whether one has a repertiore of the masters or plays stylistic of the callioppe and uhm pah rhythms, each mus= t make a determination of whether they are playing to impress the congregat= ion or attempting to lead them to the very throne room of God to Worship Him.= =0D =0D I realise that the question may seem very simplistic on the surface, the consequences of the honest answer can reach further and deeper into our psyche or soul than some may be willing to journey. Moreover, the answer may result in a realization that our playing is to be and/or will become = a focus on the fact that it is about God and His people and not about ourselves. =0D =0D I will never forget the dilemma I encountered in college while studying theory and music history. I was raised in a "not so musical" family. My Father could sing, my Mother couldn't carry and tune in a washtub. Neith= er could play an instrument. My brother was a rock and roll drummer and I w= as the more "serious" musician, as most would call it. I sang with the loca= l Opera Company, studied under the most renowned tutor in my area, was seco= nd assistant organist to him at a local college and his assistant at the Cathedral, and played for my local congregation. But my mother loved Strauss. The "Tales from Vienna Woods" album was worn out. "Blue Danube Waltz" was hummed while she cooked dinner, if the sound you heard was to = be considered humming and not noise. (not to be unkind) As I studied theor= y and history, I found that Strauss was not a very respected composer. But that didn't matter to my Mother, she still loved his music. It made her feel happy and listening to it and humming it (the best she could) made h= er homemaking tasks go with a snap. To this day, if she is feeling down or blue, play a Strauss waltz, and she smiles and snaps out of it and will m= ake her attempt to hum along.=0D =0D If playing Sigfrid Karg-Elert's, "Now Thank We All Our God," moves the congregation to a heart of Gratitude for the God's blessings as they depa= rt from worship, I would much rather play it 10 times a year than Widor's=20 Toccata" from Symphony No. 5, which makes them stand around to listen to=20 organist" and then leave walking by and saying "how great that was." The heart of the original question goes straight to the answer to this questi= on. "Which would you prefer your playing do? Lead the people to a heart of gratitude to God and praise Him, or lead them to a heart of bragging on their organist and organ and praising you.=0D =0D Finally, no matter the praise of the people, I KNOW how well I did or did= n't Their praise only tells me "I got away with those little imperfections = in the execution of the piece." However, when a colleague is present, I KNO= W they KNOW how well I did or didn't. Their critique often confirms for me that really I just slaughtered it and didn't execute it, at all. =0D =0D Regarding your situation over practice time. I learned a valuable lesson from a former Pastor, Dr. W. A Criswell, FBC-Dallas. Set aside your time for study and don't let anyone interfere with it. Have all your calls he= ld, even from family. Politely ignore anyone who comes into the rehearsal ar= ea and tries to talk to you, and if they persist, tell them that this is you= r time with music and please see your secretary for a time to talk over the matter. Make certain your senior Pastor or Minister knows before hand th= at between the hours of, you would prefer not to be disturbed unless the chu= rch is on fire, and your life is in immediate danger, because, just like he o= r she studies for their sermon/lesson each week, you must practice for your part in the service. Time management is so crucial when you are in minis= try to a church. Parishioners do not understand that YOU have work to do. T= hey think you just sit in your office or hang out at the church so they can visit you. Ultimately, you must take control of that...gently but firmly and without apology. Practice is what got you there to begin with.=20 Practice is what makes us better, for ourselves, or for God's glory. The choice of why you practice is yours. But practice is not the end, either= =2E=20 We must balance our time for those whom we serve and who want to or need = to interact with us, if we are indeed in ministry. =0D =0D Of course, this response is far afield of the original question regarding= a reasonable audition, but I do believe that it begins to lay the foundatio= n for a real soul-searching discussion of the "snob-factor."=0D =0D The "tongue and cheek" response from one of the members regarding such questions as "will I get my own parking space," while, I hope to believe = was really meant as a "tongue and cheek" response (for I know some for whom t= hat is a real issue in considering accepting a position), can serve to help u= s begin to make certain that it really isn't about us. It is about Him, if= we view this as a ministry, not a position. If in our heart of hearts, we believe somehow that we are deserving of a reserved parking space, then maybe we should consider playing only on the concert trail, rather than playing for the church. Then we can have the chauffeur driven limosine p= ull into the no parking zone, hold the door for us, enter the room from the b= ack walking through the aggregation, take our place, play our program, walk = out get in the limousine (unticketed in the No Parking Zone, because of who = we are), and be chauffeured off to our next engagement. We'll stay in four = and five star hotels and be pampered like the pompous snobs we think we are.=20 But if in our heart of hearts, we truly view this as a ministry, then eve= n if the church provides us a reserved spot, we will gladly give it up to t= hat little old lady or gentleman who has the cane or walker, and make certain they get in, get seated, and then we will look after ourselves and our mu= sic =0D =0D Regards,=0D =0D Mark Gilbert=0D =0D -------Original Message-------=0D =0D From: Charles Peery=0D Date: 06/27/05 08:08:27=0D To: PipeChat=0D Subject: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor=0D =0D I liked Mark's comments about specifying what we need to know about the=0D church through the interview process. I laughed at the list of=0D interview questions, such as "Will you replace the organ with one of my=0D design?" I have to confess that some of those questions (like that=0D one) I truly thought were tongue in cheek.=0D =0D But if not, it does bring up some issues of relativity. On the one=0D hand, we might tend to interview in a way that "sells" ourselves, as if=0D all we're trying to do is be sure that we're adored. Don't you think=0D that musicians have that tendency, along with an inclination to shy=0D away from the technical details? The other end of the spectrum is a=0D sort of snobby "Here is what I require, are you up to my standards?"=0D approach, which has further implications if you're ever going to get=0D off the bench and try to work with lay people in the church.=0D =0D Mark's post made me realize that what I was asking about the audition=0D literature in the post that started this thread was the surface=0D question. The deeper question is: how does one strike a balance=0D between high standards and friendly utility? After a year in a=0D full-time job, my realization is that my weeks rarely go the way I plan=0D them to go. So, I'm just curious whether organists in similar=0D positions really do whip out the Messiaen "Dieu Parmi Nous" as a=0D routine postlude. If I'm to do that, I have to rethink how I can=0D shield more practice time out of a week when people are demanding that=0D I do this and that. Well, I take that back. I don't frequently=0D encounter the opportunity for the liturgical use of a piece like that,=0D so it is not in my repertoire, and I'm not even sure if I could play it=0D given how my time gets sucked up. Some brave people would say, "Me=0D either." Some people would say "You don't belong on the bench, then."=0D Which is it?=0D =0D It's not as if I don't prefer the composers of standard organ rep; I=0D do. It's not as if I can't tell the difference between Vierne and=0D Callahan, or, heavens, Gordon Young. I've seen organists disdain=0D everything but masterworks composers, but when they're playing them in=0D an offhand way which leads me to think they're just doing it so they=0D can say they did it afterward. Given a balance of literature over the=0D entire liturgical year, what is the relative snob-gasp-factor of using,=0D say Wilbur Held's "A Mighty Fortress" out of the Fall Festivals book on=0D Reformation Sunday when you're going to be singing that hymn? This is=0D how I operate, I have to confess. A balance of "major" and "minor"=0D composers. But I also openly say that I'd prefer to play services=0D rather than recitals. So, probably I'm doomed already in terms of my=0D approval rating in some organists' eyes. Or perhaps, some search=0D committee's eyes.=0D =0D And that is why I asked about audition literature.=0D =0D Chuck Peery=0D St. Louis=0D =0D =0D =0D =0D ******************************************************************=0D "Pipe Up and Be Heard!"=0D PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics=0D HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org=0D List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org=0D Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org=0D List-Subscribe: <mailto:pipechat-on@pipechat.org>=0D List-Digest: <mailto:pipechat-digest@pipechat.org>=0D List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:pipechat-off@pipechat.org>=0D =0D =2E
(back) Subject: ministry vs. job From: "Randy Terry" <randy@peacham.homeip.net> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 22:20:46 -0700   Just remember that taking on a ministry is *personal* and one must do the *job* as expected of him or her by the church or institution.   I speak from experience where I let a perceived ministry interfere with = how I carried out my duties as music director and getting out of the mess I created for myself was a lesson hard learned.   Basically, I created the organ project of my dreams, and when my pursuit = of that made me less effective in my position as choir director, I expected = the church to overlook it - all in the name of ministry - since I raised the = 50 grand to complete the work and they have a 350K organ instead of a piece = of junk.   It all worked out OK, but I will never again put myself in that position. The organ after all is only a thing - the people are what is important!   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Randy Terry Music Minister The Episcopal Church of St. Peter Redwood City, California        
(back) Subject: Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: "Harry Grove" <musicman@cottagemusic.co.uk> Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 07:46:31 +0100   Empathy on two points, there.   I have a Dr. of Music in our congregation as well as a Visiting Professor = of a nearby University Music Department. I know that they know that I know when I've made a mistake (Sorry, Pythonesque sentence).   Still, it means that I'm reminder to perform up to my best standard rather =   than down to an adequate one.   Also; "Where is one's secretary when one needs her ................ ?" /...(stroke) him .... well, the less said about that, the better - and that's a 'Max Headroom' sentence).   A secretary - for a church organist ? Good grief, the Rector doesn't have any secretary or support staff, and she's the only priest for the three different churches in our Benefice.   Harry Grove [a.k.a. a musicman fortunate enough to have a secretary, P.A., financial comptroller, security guard, general factotum, tea-lady, wife]   ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark" <mark_52@comcast.net> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 5:06 AM Subject: Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor     [snip - as a responsible list member]    
(back) Subject: Taking Life Too Seriously From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 23:48:32 -0700   =3D-> I liked Mark's comments about specifying what we need to know about the church through the interview process. I laughed at the list of interview questions, such as "Will you replace the organ with one of my design?" I have to confess that some of those questions (like that one) I truly thought were tongue in cheek. <-=3D       Well OF COURSE they were tongue in cheek. ['twas I who penned them]. As is about 99% of what I stop to take time to write to the organ lists.   There's already quite enough (too much?) serious stuff on these lists already, along with the usual recurring (and often pointless) discussions about pipes vs sand, sticks vs magnets, obsessing over small-organ stop lists, appropriate console footwear, appropriate wedding/funeral fare, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. So I have taken it as my self-appointed duty to supply an occasional dab of comic relief as an anti-stuffy antidote.   Alas, I had forgotten that some folks on these lists are not only overly stuffy (and oh so self important), but some are also acutely deficient in the funny bone department. I should have clearly labeled my posting as "HUMOR ALERT" but failed to do so and, once again, my wit sailed right over a lot of folks' pointed heads.   And, no, no one need reply with the barb, "If it was funny we would have recognized its humor." Because, sad to say, that's simply not the case much of the time.   And, now, back to my mechanical-action orange-juice extractor.   [Yes, I have found that the 1950s non-electric, direct-action, hand-powered "Juice Queen" that I paid $5.92 for at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop actually does a better, simpler, quicker, less messy, easier clean-up job than the gleaming (plastic and simulated chrome) $249 Jack LaLanne Electric Remote Control Juice Extractor that I got from the HSN. The LaLanne's allure of not only juicing everything in sight but that it can also unclog drains, perform liposuction and clean the cat box was just too great to resist. They failed to mention in the overheated infomercial, however, that the doggoned thing has 150 plastic parts that after every use have to be disassembled, cleaned, dried, and reassembled just as they came apart. Good Luck. So there it sits, collecting dust on the kitchen counter while the Juice Queen with three simple parts gets a daily workout.]   And that, my friends is not humor but pure fact.   "Ever Onward & Upward".............   ~ C    
(back) Subject: Re: Organists under 30, please email me off list From: "TGrenz" <octaaf@charter.net> Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 03:31:47 -0500   I will assume that this was intended to be humorous??? It struck me as = very sad, mean spirited, and ignorant. The fact that someone may be transgendered, gay, or the color green does not mean that they don't have feelings. It doesn't mean that they don't have the right to be treated = with respect and dignity. It doesn't mean that they should accept that they = will be publicly berated or the brunt of tasteless jokes.   I've noted that over the past year or so, whenever Desiree posts to this List there are those who go out of their way to attack her, and openly humiliate her. She could send a message just saying hello and have her = a** climbed for it. Haven't your mothers taught you how to behave in public? Apparently not ....   I am aware that people sometimes fear what they don't understand and make jokes in an effort to deal with their issues, but open bigotry makes SOME = of us uncomfortable.   Tim   ----- Original Message ----- From: <DudelK@aol.com> To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 4:58 AM Subject: Re: Organists under 30, please email me off list     >I hope the vice squad is monitoring this. I suspect Desilu has appointed > herself dean of the Michael Jackson School of Organ Playing. I wouldn't > ever want > to see what's up his/her sleeve or any other article of clothing. > > John Lindsay Lohan > > ****************************************************************** > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > List-Subscribe: <mailto:pipechat-on@pipechat.org> > List-Digest: <mailto:pipechat-digest@pipechat.org> > List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:pipechat-off@pipechat.org> >