Sunday, February 22, 2009

Organ-ic development

I was at a Church today that I had never been to before. I was a bit late coming in, and the procession was lining up in the back. I snuck in along the side and slipped in to one of the pews near the back. I genuflected, then looked up and noticed there was no tabernacle in the front of church. In fact, where the high altar should have been, there were organ pipes.

This is one of those moments where all the worries flood in at once. I had that sinking feeling that I might not be in a Catholic church. Had I taken a wrong turn on the way? Was there also some protestant church in the neighborhood, and I went to the wrong one? After I sat down, I found the tabernacle, behind another set of pews, off to the side. I would not have been able to see it had I been sitting on the other side of the church. There was a table-altar in the sanctuary, but the organ console, organ, piano, drums and choir were all behind it. I imagined the priest offering the Mass on the organ console, facing the organ and the large crucifix above it, but, luckily, this was not the case.

Once I was more relaxed in knowing I was in a Catholic church, I thought to myself "at least I'll get to enjoy some organ music; the renovation this building went through left me that pleasure, at least." Wrong!

It really makes me sad when I am in a place where there is an organ, and they instead play a piano. The organ is clearly a superior instrument and deserves pride of place (c.f Vatican II). Why have a many-thousand dollar instrument and not play it? If you can play a piano well, you can function at the organ. Assuming the organ was functioning, the parish could have used it. I guess there weren't any settings that didn't call for piano and guitar in the Gather hymnals they used.

My two cents.

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