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    Visiting Organists and Musicians and bad manners

    Perhaps this belongs in the grease pit or soapbox part of the forum...

    Because I have a regular non-organ playing day job, it is fairly common to have visiting organists come in to do funerals and weddings at our Church which is something I understand and have no objection to.

    What does annoy me is the state that the console and organ loft are left in

    Countless times I've gone up to the loft and the chairs which are normally laid out in two straight rows, are found scattered all over the loft. There are leaflets from the service left behind along with other bits of rubbish like half empty water bottles (even though there is a bin provided) and used tissues. Then we get to the organ...

    More often than not the mains power is left on even though the switch is right next to the console: the visiting organist knows very well where it is since they must have found in the first place to turn it on. On a handful of occasions the organ has even been left burning (on at the console) all night!

    I always close the roll top lid and leave it that way but I often find it left open - again, they clearly know how its operated since they must have slid it open in the first place.

    I leave the hymnbook neatly on top of the console to one side, but quite often I have found it left open on the music on the last hymn that they played - they must have left in a hurry to collect their fee! That along with coffee cups, tissues, leaflets etc.

    There is no effort to move the bench back to approximately where it was. I don't expect it to be centimetre perfect but if they've pushed it all the way forward because they are short or don't play the pedals, then it should be pulled back afterwards to some approximation of where it was in the first place.

    Whilst not necessary on a digital (which is what we have), I leave the swell and choir shoes fully depressed out of habit which I was taught was good practice on a pipe organ. I don't mind so much if they are fully closed or somewhere in between because as mentioned a moment ago, it is not important on a digital. I do have a problem though with the crescendo pedal being left fully depressed so when the organ is turned on it is on tutti.

    I'm not a neatnik by any means but I find the behaviour of some visiting musicians to be appalling. On the rare occasion that I play elsewhere I try to reset everything back to approximately how I found it i.e. not leaving the hymnbook open on the rack, resetting the bench position as best I can, clearing up rubbish, closing the lid, turning off the power...all basic manners/common sense when visiting and playing someone else's instrument.

    Anyone else have any experiences of visiting musicians/organists playing at their church?
    1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
    Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

    #2
    In general, behaviors such as those described are acts of very great rudeness. In these cases, the solution is very simple: I call the parish priest and take him to the organ loft to see himself under what conditions it was left. After this, I would expect the guest organist to be blacklisted and prevented from playing the next time.

    Comment


      #3
      All this is of course inexcusable and quite shocking, given that as musicians we usually think of ourselves as somewhat more "cultured" than the general public! But not every musician thinks that way, and you can't fix people. They just are what they are. Maybe these are the kind of people who live in complete disarray amid piles of this and that, dirty laundry, dishes, whatever all over the house. Again, you can't fix people, so not much we can do!

      Perhaps a tactful note affixed to the music rack with a large bold print title: "NOTES FOR VISITING ORGANISTS" -- and list about three to five items (no more) that are important to you. How about (1) be sure to turn the organ off and close the lid. (2) be sure the area is free of rubbish when you leave. (3) please put the choir chairs back in line before leaving. (4) please take all your music and your leaflets with you, and return the hymnbook to its place on top of the console.

      That should cover the worst offenses. But you'll still find it a mess sometimes, so give yourself extra time before the service to straighten up when you come in after someone has used the church.
      John
      ----------
      *** 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!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by nullogik View Post
        I do have a problem though with the crescendo pedal being left fully depressed so when the organ is turned on it is on tutti.
        Nullogik,

        The quote above should tell you all you need to know about the visiting "organist," and I use that term loosely. Anyone who uses the Crescendo pedal to register the organ for the service most likely isn't an organist.

        Last year for a combined morning mass, another organist and cantor from another parish wormed their way into providing music for the combined service. Needless to say, I had to leave when I heard the "organist" attempting to make the organ louder or softer by using the Crescendo pedal. It was not a pretty sight.

        Again, last year there was a wedding in our church, and I found out Sunday AM, when all the books, Bibles, and boxes were piled between the highest organ pedal and the wall. No attempt to place them back where they were located.

        Certain items in your list are forgivable:
        • Not re-adjusting the bench (I'm sure I've forgotten that before).
        • Leaving the Swell pedals closed vs. open.
        • Leaving the hymnal on the rack, open to the last hymn played (I do that at my own church on a weekly basis).
        I love John's advice of placing an enumerated list on the organ with the 4 most egregious violations addressed from the above list. It addresses most of the issues you mentioned above, and was stated positively. I might even use humor, though. Perhaps something like: We have a 'carry in–carry out' policy. Please carry out what you carried in. For anyone who has been in the wilderness, they'll understand that statement, and it gets the point across.

        Best with your visiting "musicians!"

        Michael
        Last edited by myorgan; 01-14-2020, 05:13 PM.
        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

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          I had to chuckle at your "carry in--carry out" remark, Michael. We should only be so lucky. Of course, some of the visiting musicians will have produced a good bit of (ahem) "output" from the organ that nobody would've been able to carry out!

        #5
        Thank you for a thought (anger) provoking post. what you as regular organists are experiencing with what has been described mirrors what is happening all over in general daily life. Perhaps it is different in some countries but we are experiencing a deadly decline in general respect for one another in this country. Consideration for others have long since gone out the window, to say the least but lack of respect for people, animals and even things is evident everywhere. It is saddening especially when one cares to read or watch movies from the previous century, where even enemies had respect for one another. A dear friend of mine (now departed to the Happy Hunting Grounds), and who was an active soldier in WW2 told how they sometimes called a truce on a Sunday with the enemy, to observe the Sabbath. Of course this would have been the exception but illustrates the general level of respect prevalent at the time. And that was not that long ago either!

        Looking around one easily finds the evidence of this decay. I would not have to list any as I am sure everyone will know what I am on about. Sorry for detracting somewhat from the OP. I can imagine what a frustration it can be for any organist (who is an artist at heart) finding his or her instrument of worship in disarray after a visitor had been there. And probably on a Sunday morning before the service! My sympathies to you - and the advice given seems sound and should yield results - but probably not cure the culprit who will hopefully be banned from that sanctuary for the future. Musical instruments such as the church organ are expensive items and should be handled with care, besides being someone else's property deserves to be treated even better that one's own, to say nothing about the littering and other mess left behind!

        Nico
        "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

        Comment


          #6
          When I play in another church, I always make sure to leave everything as I found it. Wouldn't dream of making a mess... But... as was already stated, we can't change people. I like the idea with the sign. I once played in a church in the Netherlands where someone had taken the time to write a short introduction to the organ for visiting organists. That was really nice and helpful. But of course you need time to read and understand

          Comment


          • Organfella
            Organfella commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank God for considerate people who would go that little bit further to make things more easy for others!
            Nico

          #7
          Thanks to all who responded, all very good points raised.

          I like John's idea of a note and keeping it to the bare basics such as closing the lid and turning the power off. I will have to accept that some people are just naturally messy and that there will be a degree of cleaning up that I will need to do.

          Organfella raises an excellent point about society in general. These days I find people in general to be rude and aggressive, selfish and inconsiderate. Maybe its symptomatic of living in a major and overcrowded city...but it sounds like it is more widespread than that. I'm not particularly old either ("Generation Y") but in the relatively few years that I have been on the earth I have noticed a massive change over the last 10-20 years. There is no better way to observe the general change in attitude than to see how people behave behind the wheel of a car compared to what driving habits were like a decade or so ago. Sadly, it is not going to get any better...

          I love myorgan's observation about the crescendo pedal - its a great giveaway!
          1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
          Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by Organfella View Post
            Musical instruments such as the church organ are expensive items and should be handled with care, besides being someone else's property deserves to be treated even better that one's own, to say nothing about the littering and other mess left behind!
            Nico,

            You bring up an important point. When one leaves the Swells closed on a tracker organ, while it doesn't leave permanent damage, the resulting tuning is usually expensive. Other mistakes can cause more damage (i.e. forcing a stop open or closed when it's noted in the organ log not to use).

            I used to provide tours of the Symphony stage to students before a performance. My usual caution was to realize, "Some things around here do not react very well to touch. Please keep your hands to yourself." Only then would I point out the $40k± concert harp, or the $700k violin which belongs to a country and is on loan to the violinist.

            Unfortunately, I don't think children (or adults) today truly understand the value of musical instruments. Part of that can be blamed on the TV news where taxes resulted in a $ billion surplus or shortfall because of spending. The US National Debt is $ trillions. Does anyone really understand the enormity and consequence of those numbers? Rough math tells me every single individual in the US owes $50,000.00 to pay off the National Debt (rising by the minute).

            For musicians, the consequence of not understanding large numbers, is that many people have no concept of the value of the instruments musicians use, nor the amount of dedication it takes to play them.

            Michael

            P.S. Now I'm depressed. Thanks so much!
            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

            Comment


              #9
              "Very great rudeness"? "Shocking"? Sounds like somebody needs some real problems

              I seriously doubt that even 5 OrganForumists care what position their non-tracker swell shoes are left in And nullogik, have you ever thought to provide visiting organists with your many desiderata on paper? I always email or show guest players my piston scheme and which buttons they're free to set as they wish (including 3 complete memories) -- etc.

              Incidentally Marie-Claire Alain used both crescendo pedal and SFZ -- so I'm not sure they're a very good gauge of musical integrity. No doubt many other top players have, especially before the plague of organistical correctness blew in 60 years ago

              Comment


              • ahlborn
                ahlborn commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, leaving a motor running on the organ (assuming is a pipe organ) is very rude, and even irresponsible. Just like leaving dirty handkerchiefs and used bottles. There can also be more serious problems outside the organ world, of course, but certain behaviors cannot be minimized.

                About the use of the crescendo pedal, I agree with you. Its use does not indicate an organist's artistic integrity.
                Last edited by ahlborn; 01-15-2020, 04:31 AM.

              #10
              I don't see where anybody but you mentions dirty hankies? Leaving a motor running is very bad -- another great reason to have an electronic

              Comment


              • nullogik
                nullogik commented
                Editing a comment
                Check out my original post, I mentioned used tissues. Similar thing.

              • Victor Jules
                Victor Jules commented
                Editing a comment
                So you did, but it sounds like an extreme, very unusual situation. I'm an expert on how rotten America is today but have never heard of such rot from our colleagues. Care to tell us what denom you work in -- or what church?

              #11
              Originally posted by Victor Jules View Post
              organistical correctness
              Good grief. That's lovely.

              -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
              -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
              -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
              -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
              -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

              Comment


              • Victor Jules
                Victor Jules commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, I'm right proud of it ;-]

              #12
              Originally posted by Victor Jules View Post
              And nullogik, have you ever thought to provide visiting organists with your many desiderata on paper
              Err...it hadn't crossed my mind to put on paper things that I would regard as common-sense (turning the power off) and good manners (picking up your litter - including used tissues). Perhaps I should also remind them to put their socks on in the morning.

              Emailing visiting musicians what pistons and memories to use is not comparable. No one would reasonably expect a visiting organist to figure out from sitting at a console what pistons and memories they can touch which they can't unless they are told upfront. Although this issue doesn't bother me in the slightest as I backup my piston settings regularly and I can restore them easily. On some other organs you can lock certain capture memories to prevent them being edited -- another great reason to have an electronic
              1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
              Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

              Comment


                #13
                Originally posted by Victor Jules View Post
                Leaving a motor running is very bad -- another great reason to have an electronic
                If for someone the advantage (for an electronic organ) of haven't the motor is greater than the acoustic, aesthetic and artistic advantage of a true pipe organ, I fear there is nothing else to add.
                Everyone chooses the organ that he deserve.

                Originally posted by nullogik View Post
                On some other organs you can lock certain capture memories to prevent them being edited -- another great reason to have an electronic
                On many pipe organs it is possible to lock capture memories.
                Last edited by ahlborn; 01-15-2020, 08:17 AM.

                Comment


                • Victor Jules
                  Victor Jules commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've never said electronic organs are better overall, but believe a good one is preferable in many situations -- and maintain their good points are tragically underestimated.

                  Good point about the memories. Hope organbuilders are watching and deciding they'd better make that standard :-1

                #14
                Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                When one leaves the Swells closed on a tracker organ, while it doesn't leave permanent damage, the resulting tuning is usually expensive.
                How can leaving the swell box closed affect the tuning?

                Comment


                • ahlborn
                  ahlborn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The closed swell box may accumulate heat (especially if the swell box is irradiated by the sun or other sources of heat) and the rise in temperature can alter the tuning.
                  Leaving the swell box open could prevent heat build-up.

                • myorgan
                  myorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Also, leaving the box closed in the Winter could cause the pipes inside to not heat up at the same rate as the external pipes. For that reason (especially in my neck of the woods), you would never leave the pedal closed (as I discovered before today's mass–another person left it closed), causing the organ to be so out-of-tune I had to use the piano instead.

                  Michael

                • Admin
                  Admin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The issue of leaving the swell shades open is interesting. As mentioned, for a tracker where the shades are mechanically coupled to the shoe, the shoe position controls the opening whether the organ is winded or not. For non-trackers it's not so cut and dry. I've never been inside a theatre organ where the shutters weren't closed when not winded.

                #15
                Keep in mind that the OP stated he is not a full-time church employee, and has a day job, so he (like me) may not always have time to meet personally with someone who is about to play the church organ for a funeral or wedding in which he is not involved. Sometimes I don't even KNOW that a funeral or wedding is being held in our sanctuary, if it's for a non-member or some former member that I never even met.

                So, more than once I have arrived at church on Sunday morning to find that something was held on Saturday. Most of the time visiting musicians clean up the area and leave things as they were, but there has been a time or two when I got to the church and had to bust my buns to get things back in order before the service started -- choir chairs arranged, microphone stands put away, sound system adjusted, leaflets and bulletins put in the trash.

                As to locking the pistons, I don't leave my memories locked because I am always making a subtle change in the stored combinations -- one Sunday I may need the 2' stop added to an existing piston setup, another Sunday I want to remove a mutation or one of the mixtures, etc. So my pistons are vulnerable, though I don't panic if they've been tinkered with. I just quickly reset them to my personal registrations, which I know by heart.

                If our church were larger and more prominent, and if we had more frequent outsider weddings/funerals, I'd probably be as frustrated as nullogik if folks were that rude on a regular basis. There really isn't any excuse for that!
                John
                ----------
                *** 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!

                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                Comment

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