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Shocking how little the organ can be valued in church...

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  • #61

    Thank you for your observations about churches and worship styles in your country. Unfortunately, I suspect it will only be a matter of time before your country goes the way of the U.S., as is common of many trends.

    Your comments do make me wonder, though. How many of the changes we see relate to an over-saturation of the "market?" Too much of any one thing will eventually result in change. It's only a matter of time before changes take place. The question is whether those changes are more or less conservative vs. different. Also, how stable are quick changes vs. those that take place over time?

    In Germany, for example, it used to be the state-sponsored denominations would have the attendees, but in recent years, the "free" churches (some consider them "cults") are gaining in attendance while the state-sponsored denominations are losing attendees. I'm not sure if its related to theology, music, or freedom. Any way you look at it, change is occurring. Only time (and results) will tell.

    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos


    • #62
      Something just occurred to me. We can talk about the demise of traditional organ playing all we want. I agree it is somewhat of an issue. I also know that generally, growing up, the organists I met were some of the least friendly people in the church. If you ignore and look down on the kids who ask questions about the instrument/music, how are they supposed to grow up having an interest and wanting to play it? If your first impressions of people, say, driving modified cheap Japanese cars, was that they were reckless drivers and liked drag racing down neighborhood roads with little kids walking around (true story), you would dislike seeing those types of cars driving around because you would wonder if the drivers were bad and were going to get you in an accident. Not a perfect parallel, but I think it explains what I'm trying to get at. Being someone who plays both organ when I can and keyboards/accordion/piano in contemporary music, I think there is a place for both. Think about it...attitude of the musicians goes a long way towards generating interest from others. More often than not it seems that people, teens, kids can ask the guitar player or bass player or drummer or keyboard person, and those people are generally willing to talk to them, vs ask the organist something, or even say you liked the music, and generally they ignore them. Which means that lots of kids get turned off to the organ. Just what I've observed. If we want to get the next generation interested, quit treating them like idiots. Now more recently I have met a few really helpful people. So this does not apply to everyone at all. Just what I have noticed in my life.

      The other thing is that gospel organ is it's own thing entirely. So a church may have a B3 or something like that but no classical organ. But I don't think that it means that their music is inferior; I think it is simply different. I don't think most of us would go to other countries and question their musical customs in that way. "Why do you play those Zurnas? Only piccolo and flute is acceptable". This I fear is the impression that we, even inadvertently, give off sometimes.

      I will say this: traditional hymns often have a deeper theology to them than much of the modern stuff. My view on contemporary vs traditional: what matters are the words and the message. As much as I like music it only takes a few words to make it secular vs religious. A hymn with very little message vs a contemporary song that reaches people and brings them closer to God? I'd go with the contemporary option. Balance is necessary though.

      Sorry for the long post.
      Allen ADC-220 - 1986; Conn 465 Deluxe Caprice w/pair of 144 pipe speakers; Kimball: R-80 Broadway, S-20 Valencia III; Western Cottage Organ Co. Reed Organ
      P22 piano/10 keyboards/synths; 10 accordions; Ntv Am. Flute/PAC112V guitar/etc


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Good points, all!


    • #63
      Thanks for those observations, Max. Yes, it must be admitted that some of the damage done to the reputation of the classical organ in church has been done by those of us who play them. I'd "like" to think that I'm a nice person, eager to talk to anyone who shows an interest in the organ, gracious when complimented, etc. But I'm probably not that way all the time, and have probably come across as aloof and rude at times, even if it was unintentional.

      And I have certainly known a fair number of organists who were indeed quite aloof. Perhaps even anti-social (or in the worst cases, snobby). At least some of that may have to do with the grueling life that a person may have to live in order to become a great organist. Many such folks have lived very isolated lives, practicing alone in big empty church buildings for hours a day, years on end. Even with an organ at home, a person may feel compelled to shut out social contact for a big part of every day, and then be too tired after practicing to engage in much socializing. So it may be true to some extent that learning organ can encourage a person to become less social, less friendly and outgoing. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it just happens that the personality traits that contribute to being a professional organist (drive, discipline, single-mindedness, concentration) just happen to be more common in people who aren't terribly outgoing.

      So I'll have to add "rude organists" (to put it bluntly) to my usual list of reasons for the organ's decline -- bad organs, badly installed, badly played, plus the relentless trend toward secular-style entertainment in church.

      We should all take these points to heart. If we have been rude or cold to people, we need to practice some warmth. If we play badly, we should work on our skills. If we play a bad organ in a bad installation, perhaps we can lobby for getting something done about it! Only when we attack these core obstacles can we expect to see respect for the organ in worship returning.
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!