The current situation with organ playing

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Joseph M. Smith, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    It seems as though as we move into the use of contemporary music, gospel music, etc., and away from standard hymns, the use of the organ for congregational accompaniment is declining. Some churches in our area no longer use their instruments (and finding people to play them is difficult anyway). What is your observation about organ playing for worship? Full disclosure -- I am a retired pastor who, when he joined another church after retirement, volunteered to play the organ for their services, without pay, and I am having a ball doing so!
     
  2. I'm4Given

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    We have six members in our Praise Band and one of them plays organ. We have approx. 200 on Sunday morn.

    Respectfully,

    Johnny
     
  3. TaterTot

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    I think organ music has its place, but its really just a tradition that many people see as a necessity for worship. I like it in conjunction with piano and other instruments, as long as its played well and isnt one of those funeral sounding ones, lol.
     
  4. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Oh, you mean the Hammond organs where the person playing does not know the tremolo can be turned off! [​IMG]
     
  5. Johnv

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    I think this is sad. The Organ is a wonderful instrument, and I lament its decline of use in worship. I'm a frequenter of AGO events, btw.
     
  6. Pete

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    Sad to see so many of them going. Our Church is blessed with two organists in very small congregation (20-30 average).
     
  7. Gib

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    The church I attend was without an organist for about 6 years. We are a traditional baptist church and may sing 3-4 choruses a month. The first four years I was here, the personnel co. was actively seeking someone to play. They put an ad in several county newspapers. They were even willing to play.

    They finally found an elderly lady to play. She hadn't played in years. I hate to sound like Simon Cowell, but musically, it's horrible. There are times that you can't even tell what hymn she's playing. But, she's there every Sunday and they now have an organist.
     
  8. PastorSBC1303

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    Gib, its ok, go ahead and sound like Simon, I don't mind. Maybe Tater will be Paula?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Gayla

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    This is an O T question, but where can I get some of those Coca-Cola cups like the judges have??
     
  10. TaterTot

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    I personally prefer an instrument that can produce an authentic organ sound but that is more flexible as well, such as a Clavinova, Disklavier, or even a Yamaha P70 [​IMG] . Very versatile. Most organists dont use the foot pedals anyway. :(
     
  11. Joseph M. Smith

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    I don't know about "most organists" not using the pedals, but for me sounding the bass during hymns via the pedals is crucial. As I have been working on resurrecting skills not much used in 40 years, I find sometimes I need to do just the right hand and the pedals and leave out the left-hand/tenor on hymns.

    But here in Washington there have been a number of stories lately about how hard it is for churches to find organists .. that some university music programs are no longer teaching organ. The University of the District of Columbia dropped its entire church music program, in fact. The argument is that young people do not want to get into this kind of music. I wonder if it is that they do not want to engage in this kind of DISCIPLINE!
     
  12. Petrel

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    I'm not even an organist and that makes me want to cry! There is no way a keyboard can mimic a pipe organ! A keyboard can't even properly mimic a good piano. And if an organist doesn't use the pedals, he or she is a pianist, not an organist.

    Johnv, my spouse is an AGO member.
     
  13. TaterTot

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    Thats my point. Why have an organ if theres no one to play it? Good organists sadly are a dying breed.

    Of course a keyboard cannot mimic a pipe organ, but in my experience, most churches dont have pipe organs. I know some do, and I wish all could!! Most I know have a close to the bottom of the line one that sounds like a tin can or a funeral organ. But reality is reality. But we are talking preferences here anyway. Theres nor scriptural mandate about what ought to be played in church, so long as we are worshiping!! (Gotta love the Psalms!!)
     
  14. Petrel

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    Sadly this is true. :( It will be a great loss to music if they become extinct in the next century.
     
  15. TaterTot

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    yes it surely will. Aint nothing like a pipe organ being played by a rela organist!!
     
  16. Joshua Rhodes

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    My last semester in college my college choir had the opportunity to go to Christ the King Lutheran Church to perform the Bach Magnificat and several Bach Cantatas. Our accompanist, who had his doctorate in organ performance, played the Bach Organ, and it was amazing. Much different than the couple of times we had performed at other churches on our tour. It was a grand experience. For more, here's the link on the organ and Bach Society of Houston.

    Bach Society
     
  17. Joseph M. Smith

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    Having started this discussion with an obvious leaning toward organ music, and having heard from many of you your similar yearnings, now let's turn the discussion toward another aspect -- that in those churches which have built pipe organs, the display of that instrument, visually, is nearly idolatrous! Huge cases, ornate displays of pipes (some of them not sounding anyway), and in a central position that draws attention away from symbols like the cross, the pulpit, the baptistry, etc. But then these churches also spent megabucks constructing these instruments, so quasi-idolatry is not surprising.

    Is there a happy medium between abandoning the organ and making it the be-all-and-end-all of the worship experience?
     
  18. rbell

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    I don't know...I guess it depends on how your church is organ-ized!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. Joshua Rhodes

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  20. mnw

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    The organ is such a wonderful instrument to describe the character of God: In the playing of it you have the majesty of God; in the stopping you have the grace of God!

    In all seriousness, it does have a place and I enjoy it sometimes. [​IMG]
     

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