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What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

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  • #16
    Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

    Sorry, I don't agree. Find a church that appreciates your talent, continue to present new and exciting ideas to them, accept criticism from the old lady in the back who hates Bach and pronounces the word fugue as two syllables, and just keep doing your thing. From my experience church music turns bad because church musicians turn bad.


    For whatever reason the organist leaves. Because it is often difficult to find a person who can actually play the organ an interim is hired. He may not use the pedals or doesn't know what a unison off is... and who needs pistons when I have a goovy pedal on the right that magically brings on a mess of stops.....

    He soon begins to use the organ for the hymns only. Piano/ synth for everything else.

    Something goes wrong with the organ. Maybe we shouldn't fix it... He only uses the piano anyway!

    Ooops... console is in the way of the praise band. Better cut the cord so we can expand the trap set. And those neat holes in the wall, where all those squishy metal stick things were... what a great place for the projector screens and speakers that we now need to amplify the the choir, guitars, and.... the keyboard.

    {church music didn't die here... just the church musician}

    BTW, If you need a good church job, come to Western PA! I can give you a list of churches thirsty for the sound of their pipe organ and someone who can control it!


    • #17
      Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

      I really cannot make a remark quite like that Fettler, I know how much i enjoy my position
      at a lutheran church, really great people, and a good minister to work with. I know of coarse
      that in our part of the country that really the salary is really not that much, but for a retired
      person it supplements the income pretty good.
      I do know of an organist that i become in contact with once in awhile that holds a "Cathedral"
      position, NOW that is a little different situation, being that he holds degrees in organ perfom-
      ance and litugical music, now i am sure that he makes a liveable wage, and also being a
      A.G.O. member he probibly works in accordance with their scale, which i reviewd on their
      site. Must say it is pretty fair in rates according to the various degrees implemented.
      He wanted me to become a member of the A.G.O., but really for me it would probibly serve
      no purpose. All i hold is two certificates from a college, one for "Director of Music" and the
      other for studies in "Liturgical Music", and they are not degrees.
      Oh if only i had to do over again, then i would have attended a school for music and organ
      performance, and earned degrees. Who knows what possibilites i could have acheived.
      THAT would have been my DREAM! Yesereee indead!



      • #18
        Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

        I accept that the situation may be different in America, but here in pagan Britain churches are closing at an alarming rate, and the shortage of organists is worse than that of ministers. I realise that I am exacerbating the situation by quitting :) but I lost interest months ago, and am now taking a 'can't-beat-'em-join-'em' attitude. I have given 10 years of my life to church music so maybe its time for someone else to have a go?

        I agree. Perhaps as a church musician I AM dead, but life still goes on and so does music.


        • #19
          Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

          Join AGO!!! There's no reason not. Come on--$80/year and you get TAO once a month.
          Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
          Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic


          • #20
            Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

            Tutti, you know i have always thought of the A.G.O as an organization for the professional
            organist that hold degrees, but i suppose they consider all organist weather degreed or non-
            degreed. I would probibly appreciate receiving their monthly magazine along with possibly
            newsletters of various events taking place, such as concerts and meetings and the like.
            I beleive to attend one of their conventions would be most interesting and enjoyable.
            Being that i am retired it would really be the organization for me to belong to, after all i do
            hold a church position as an organist, probibly not considered a professional organist, but
            like i have always said, that there are those who probibly perform better then i, and there
            are those who perform as well as i, and there are those who perform worse then i.
            My organ studies were under some good degreed organist, and i am reluctant to say that
            when they became sticklers i became to cheat a little, and i am somewhat sorry for that.
            Oh, hey! i make mistakes at times when playing a Sunday morning service, but they get
            over it, they just appreciate in having me as their organist, and i enjoy doing it.
            I have been playing various churches for 31 years or so, and hope to continue, unless of
            coarse something unforseeable happens.
            And yes, i think that i will seriously consider your advice and join the A.G.O



            • #21
              Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

              Fettler, may i say this to you also, that in my part of the U.S., we have had 5 or more
              churches close their doors within a short time period, and yes we have a shortage of
              organist also. It seems to be the trend that we have no control over. We are living in an
              era of uncertainites, so it is not only your country that have these problems, as we too
              experience the same.



              • #22
                Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

                The AGO has its pluses and minuses like any organization.

                I've never attended a national convention, I am going to be attending the Chicago AGO convention this year, so I'll have a better idea on what these are all about then.

                I do very much get alot of information and value out of the TAO. There are facinating in depth articles about specific organs, specific stops, specific music etc...

                Really the only thing I don't like about the AGO is how often they keep reminding people to be sure to leave them in their wills. Do we really need that reminder in EVERY issue? (laughing)

                AGO is doing great things to encourage the development of interest in young people thru the Pipe Organ Encounters, and specifically to youngsters: Pipes, Pedals & Pizza events.

                Local AGO chapters are personality driven, I'm in 3 very active chapters: NYC, Louisville & Southern Indiana. All 3 are very active in working with young people to organize events geared towards youngsters to be introduced to the organ, to have a chance to play at the console, and to have the organ explained and demonstrated.

                Participation in the chapters is what you want it to be for yourself. If you want to just sit in on some meetings and attend some events you can do so without having to join. Check out the local AGO chapter in your area and whether they have a website that you can check for a calendar of events.

                The Southern Indiana AGO chapter is having a event in New Albany Indiana on February 11 (Pedals Pipes & Pizza), we already have over 40 young people signed up for the event. It will start at a church with a 2 manual Moller (I think) of typical specification, and will finish off with a 3 manual Aeolian Skinner of 1941 vintage that is just a few blocks away, giving the young people a chance to hear two different organs and to sit at the console and try them out.

                ....That is one of my goals as this thread starts out with, to build awareness of pipe organs amongst future generations. Having witnessed the participation in these events I have no doubt the future of the pipe organ is very much bright. There will of course be challenges, but it is up to us who care about organ music and the instruments themselves to make sure future generations have access to these incredible instruments.


                • #23
                  Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist


                  Interesting indeed...

                  The pipe organ pretty much owes its existence to the Church. In the states, the Church certainly keeps the pipe organ afloat, and is the only truly practical venue for the instrument.

                  The future of the pipe organ and its popularity will be in the hands of people, and as far as I'm concerned the pipe organ is pretty much a worthless, expensive eccentricity unless we are willing to share it with others. By far, most pipe organs are corporately owned, whether in Churches or Concert halls; withdrawing the organ into seclusion is a sure-fire way to kill it off for good.




                  • #24
                    Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

                    During the 70's and early 80's I was a member of the AGO. The attitude of the time was very narrow, if you did not like what was popular, you were ostracized. I note that today organists are generally much more open to a wider variety of music and organ sound than previously, witness the revival of interest in Skinner organs. The church organ builder that installed my organ even features it on his web site even though a few years ago, he could not afford to do so.

                    To see why, look at the URL

                    I subscribe to the "Diapason" magazine and note that attitudes have changed a lot from the 70's. I like to paly organ classics, transcriptions, and popular music. This has now become acceptable in the organ community. I may rejoin the AGO.

                    My home organ
                    Style D Wurlitzer pipe organ
                    Five Newfoundland dogs
                    Sixteen Tennessee walking horseshoes


                    • #25
                      Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist


                      That is a beauty!

                      As far as attitudes changing, it just might be a case of "adapt or perish".


                      • #26
                        Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist


                        There still seems to be a certain degree of dislike for 8' tone, although the Skinner organ is certainly making a comeback. I think that if nothing else, their value is known, and for that they will be protected, even if they still aren't everyone's favorite.

                        I've always been curious about Skinner being lumped in with the organs of Austin, Kimball, and Moller of the same time. While the other three are undoubtedly of high quality, Skinner achieved a certain ensemble and elegance of tone that puts him on top as far as I'm concerned.

                        I would consider the Casavants of the time to be equally good, and in the case of certian aspects of the mechanism, much better. Kimball also had a dynamite pipe shop and voicers, but again, if you listen to an original Kimball, such as the one at Grove City College in PA, they are pretty intense with less of a sense of ensemble.

                        Whitlegg Mollers on the other hand, now those are the tops for me! (C:

                        - Nate


                        • #27
                          Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

                          Hmm, it seems that I am going to be in 'the church game' a while longer. The church has refused my resignation. 5 organists have disappeared from the local area over the past few months (retired or moved away) and there has been no-one to fill in for me so the church has resorted to using CDs in my absence: seems they want to hang on to me!

                          Ah well, I guess no matter how hard you try, you can't thwart God's plans..

                          Best wishes,

                          (Sorry if I have wandered off topic again.)


                          • #28
                            Re: What do you dream of accomplishing as an organist

                            Dreaming of an accomplishment.

                            A goal
                            Something you have dreamed about doing
                            Your ultimate goal as a organist

                            the list can go on.

                            I think so far everyone has hit it on the head. It's just chit chat, nothing big.


                            • #29
                              Just to keep working at improving. Play the occasional special number at my church. The organ is presently gathering dust. We have three pianists but they all avoid the organ like the plague. The couple of times I have played it folks seemed really glad to hear it again.
                              Allen ADC 1000
                              Large Beagle


                              • #30
                                I'll just be happy when I can read the base line fast enough and coordinate the pedals with the manuals. It may seem a bit morbid but there are a couple of funerals I would enjoy playing at.
                                "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X