Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A wedding

This Saturday, I shall be playing for my first wedding. Judging by the fact that they are having a CD to enter and leave, and for the signing of the register, they have heard my playing already, and are not taking any chances. The vicar will be leaving on Sunday, too, so I shall have to pull spectacular music from somewhere by then.

I started playing the organ about ten years ago, having started the piano a decade earlier. Alas, my progress has not been consistent. Between the ages of 17 and 18 I practised reasonably regularly, but stopped when I went to University.

When I was 21 I got an organist job at a local church, which lasted two weeks; I wasn't very good. Also, they didn't pay me, so I was acceptable value for money.* As they didn't let me know they didn't want me back, I had no specific opportunity to return the hymn book of theirs which I was using, which is now a really useful staple in my collection (it saves me about once a month, by having some inane kiddy song no other book has). Never trust an organist with your hymn book.**

My current organ job is good in oh so many ways.

It started on the evening of the lunar eclipse, a Saturday in March 2007. HWSNBN, The Guy Who's Not Russian and I had gone to Serena's house to drink moderate amounts of alcohol and to eat her rather tasty food. And to see her, of course.

Halfway through the meal, I got a phone call. Apparently the organist at St Isidore's had left, and they had nobody to play for the service the next morning. Would I play? I said that I would, vowed not to drink too much that evening, and hoped that I had the necessary hymns within my small hymn book collection (one of which was actually bought for me: I say that three of them belong to me).

On returning home, having failed at the not drinking too much task, I had a play through of the hymns on my fake piano,*** and found that I was less bad than I expected. I played the next day, and nobody died.**** They asked me back the next week, and I have been playing there ever since.

St Isidore's is a friendly church, and they do not mind when I mess up an introduction, or the organ stops working again (until they are required to help move the piano, which is heavy). Their service starts a whole hour later than that of their mother church, which I attended previously. This means I both get extra time in bed and make it to the service before it starts.

The organ is rather dodgy, it has to be said. It isn't actually an organ at all; rather it is several organs put together in a way which is acceptable given the circumstances... I'm sure that the, erm, ingenuity with which different elements are combined would fascinate any reputable organ builder. It fascinates me.

The organ benefits from being played regularly, insofar as if it is not played regularly it loses notes. This is inconvenient when it happens in the middle of a hymn, and will probably be rather embarrassing when it happens during this wedding on Saturday. I played it for a few hours today, and the temperamental pipes were enthusiastic, while the pipes with a reputation for working went quiet in alarming places. This does not bode well.

Wish me luck, dear reader.

*Until I didn't return their hymn book.

**I do actually feel rather remorseful about this. Unfortunately, by the time I realised that they were not going to ask me back, I had rather missed the window for returning the hymn book (I can be rather slow sometimes). The more I procrastinated, the harder it got. I will discuss the situation next time I play there.

***Possibly the best investment I ever made.

****Once when I played, somebody nearly died. I don't think it was my fault...

1 comment:

Abi said...

Hey - I've read something like this several times before. It reads like a popular novel which has been badly written. The transition to the history is not quite smooth enough, and it reads as though the first paragraph is simply an excuse to trot out the rest of the heroine's life story. I have it on good authority that this is not the case - the life story came about when the author ran out of material. Does it show?