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to be considering postponing DS3's Christening (again) - because I can't find a half decent organist???

(107 Posts)
FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 16:39:27

DS3 was going to be Christened in May - but our vicar was off ill, I wasn't well either, and it was cancelled.

It's now been re-booked for the 30th November. I've got the church hall booked for the afternoon so we'll have a faith lunch (bring and share) afterwards. Nothing else has been done yet, invites haven't been sent out, cake hasn't been made etc etc.

I'm the organist normally - but due to the position of the font - I can't really play for the service. I'm not a great organist - but I consider myself to be half decent. I had a fantastic organist that played for DS2's Christening and want someone of a half decent standard for DS3's.

So far my only 2 options can't do it, a 3rd may be able to (but tbh he's really not that good and lots of the congregation have to come up to me and commented about the slow hymns/wrong notes etc when he's played) - he's a really lovely guy though so I don't want to upset him.

My only other option is someone who is really a guitar player, with a little bit of piano knowledge, when she's covered for me before she plays the piano (and she herself admits piano isn't her thing and she struggles with it - and it shows).

I really want an organist, have some fantastic hymns in mind (the perks of being the organist - I get to pick all the hymns for my DS's christening wink) , but don't want them played on the piano/badly.

I'm sorely tempted to postpone until I can get someone decent (my 2nd option would have been delighted to do it - but will be Norway and Sweden examining for the ABRSM)......

If I cancel now the only thing that has to be done is the extra reading added in (they usually drop one for the Baptism service) and un-book the hall........

HonoriaGlossop Wed 24-Sep-08 16:46:17

totally depends on whether the service is the important thing or whether the 'atmosphere' is the important thing. Your DS will still end up christened whether there is lovely organ music or not.

I'm not saying you shouldn't WANT lovely organ music of course. If you want it more than you want DS christened in November then that's your outcome.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 16:54:29

The thing is I've been to services in other churches were the organist has fluffed loads of notes, played too slowly, and it really irks me.

When my 3rd option has played for me just after I've given birth to my DS's I've found it really hard to enjoy the service when the music isn't "right".

Both the service and the atmosphere are important to me.........had a fantastic organist for DS2's christening - but the service wasn't that great (stand in vicar as ours was off ill - I didn't know her, she didn't really know the service and the whole thing felt "empty").

For me the music IS a part of the service, a hugely important part of it. Part of the reason I love being the organist is because I'm directly contributing to something that makes each service different.

The hymns I'm choosing I've picked because they have great meaning to me (as well as being great hymns) - music for me is an integral part of the worship (no matter what the style of music/service) and if that's not right then I'm not sure I'm going to feel that service was complete (if that makes sense).

I'm so torn, DS3 is already TOTALLY a part of the church, the reason for a faith lunch is so that the congregation - many of who have been like extended family to me and my DS's for nearly 6yrs now - can be a part of the celebration of "officially" welcoming into the family of God.......

mumblechum Wed 24-Sep-08 16:58:42

Couldn't you arrange to have a CD of your music played?

Or is that really dumb?

LilianGish Wed 24-Sep-08 17:09:06

YANBU. You are an organist - it's not surprising you want the music to sound good. I agree with you that the music is a hugely important part of the service. Postpone until your second option can play. It's not as if the Christening is just as social occasion for you (as it is for many people) DS3 is already a part of the church. Have the Christening you want - and don't give it another thought.

kitbit Wed 24-Sep-08 17:14:47

Can you play yourself but on a piano that is positioned in a more favourable location? Or have a recording?
If not and it's all the same to everyone I'd postpone it until it's right.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 17:17:33

I suppose I may be able to do the recording - it's just a few bits during the service where occasionally whoever is playing has to tinkle the ivories for a few extra minutes, say if the communion takes longer than the hymns that are planned, or the collection takes longer than the length of the hymn.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 17:18:20

I'd need two pianos to have them in a favourable location - the baptism party walk to the back of the church during one hymn, and back down during another grin

Jux Wed 24-Sep-08 17:39:07

Postpone. Music is important to you and will be one of the things which make the day meaningful for you. A christening only happens once so it's worth waiting to get it right.

Personally, I'd want a whole choir singing Sicut Cervus!

Califrau Wed 24-Sep-08 17:49:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 17:49:54

oh it's so hard - especially as I've chosen the hymns - the vicar and church warden gave me a list of dates that I could have the Christening - not including the date I've got booked....and I asked if I could have it (30th November - Advent Sunday) and she said yes. Of course being advent Sunday some of those hymns won't really be appropriate in the New Year.

Lo he comes with Clouds Descending
O come, O Come emmanuel
Hills of the North Rejoice....

all may sound a bit odd in the lead up to Easter grin

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 17:54:55

Cali - I moved heaven and earth to get the organist for our wedding - not many decent organist in Zimbabwe, apart from one - who was actually an American........he was paid very well for making himself available on our wedding day grin

I'll speak to the church warden tomorrow to see if she has any ideas.....and if we can't come up with someone in the next week or so then I think I'm going to postpone.

and yes he probably would know.......he's scarily interested in the piano (see my rather blush thread I posted yesterday - which no-one replied to.......not surprised they probably all thought I'd totally lost the plot grin here

TheHedgeWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 17:56:58

Message withdrawn

Califrau Wed 24-Sep-08 18:35:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 18:40:49

indeed Califrau - nothing worse than hearing the wonderful unison start of Hills of the North fluffed by extra/wrong notes........

I believe Lo he Comes has a fantastic organ accompaniment bit for the last verse - not in our hymn book - but I've heard it before - and my 1st and 2nd choice of organist would be able to embellish it regardless (and would do)

Califrau Wed 24-Sep-08 18:58:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 19:01:07

oh no - how awful.

My parents had amazing grace at their wedding with was taped (good old tape cassettes grin) - they wouldn't let me listen to the recording. But when I was about 13 I found the cassette and listened to it............absolutely appalilng - it was hardly recognisable shock

BouncingTurtle Wed 24-Sep-08 20:01:28

Not how hard you tried, I think you would be very distracted by substandard organ playing. I think you should rearrange.
I think the faith lunch sounds lovely, btw

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 20:20:59

I know BT - that's why I'm considering it.....

But then I asked for the first Sunday in Advent because it seems so special, it's the start of the new Christian year and as getting DS3 Christened is the last thing of my "things to do this year" (after I split with exH) it just feels so right to have it then - (if that makes sense).

I'm going to speak to my best friend, and other friend (the church warden - both of who happen to be DS3's godparents too - well they will be) tomorrow and see if they have any more ideas.

tortoiseshell Wed 24-Sep-08 20:30:19

Am I right in thinking you're over East Anglia way? If so, would there be any mileage in contacting some of the Cambridge colleges and seeing if they've got a tame organ scholar you could pay to come and play for you? I'm sure if you were willing to pay then there's a possibility of finding someone. Obviously being Advent Sunday may be more tricky, but there may be some that only do evening services?

Other than that, postpone. I couldn't have hacked having bad organ music at any wedding/baptism etc! But fortunately we didn't! smile

We had dh's favourite hymn (Of the Father's heart begotten) at dd's christening despite it being in February!

PigeonPie Wed 24-Sep-08 20:31:52

FAQ, I feel for you and completely understand your dilemma. The music - and words - mean a lot to me too. Your choice of hymns are superb, all Advent ones which are favourites of mine. I've got a couple of friends who were Organ Scholars at Keble in Oxford, but I think they'll both be busy in London.

Talk to your friends and see what they might be able to come up with - otherwise, how about contacting the RSCM to see if there are any other organists in your area?

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 20:36:20

I'm not sure if Cambridge is too far really - would probably cost me and arm and a leg just to get them over here (it's about 45 miles hmm) then I'd have to pay them for playing too.

I suppose I could contact some of the private schools around and see if they have any organ students that live locally that would like a bit of extra cash (we have Oundle just up the road........) I remember organ courses when I was a teen were full of (very good) public school boys - most of who ended up as organ scholars at various cathedrals/colleges around the country....

FAQ Wed 24-Sep-08 20:38:06

There are times when I wish I wasn't an organist - or even remotely musical, like now, as then I wouldn't care who - or what instrument - was played on the day grin

SqueakyPop Wed 24-Sep-08 20:39:15

Do you have to have organ music? Don't you have a music group/band at your church - ie flute, clarinet, bass guitar, acoustic guitars, drums, keyboard/piano, fiddle?

Marina Wed 24-Sep-08 20:41:17

Advent Sunday is a major festival though. All the colleges and possibly Oundle etc too will be having sung eucharist and possibly also an Advent Carol service in the evening. Competent organists are going to be in short supply.

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