In a move away from the typical heavy duty management topics usually discussed in this web log, I offer the following:
While reading the article linked in Arts Journal’s main page yesterday about organists in the UK spicing up church services by working funny little tunes into the regular liturgical selections, I was reminded of a wedding I attended here in the U.S. a few years ago.
The groom was British, the bride American. Since the groom was also a musician, he brought along one of his musician friends to play the organ during the ceremony. So there I am sitting on the pew before the ceremony, listening to a really good rendition of some Bach fugues when I hear a tiny voice in the upper register playing what I could swear was the theme to “The Magnificent Seven”. I lean over to get a look at the organist and he looks just like any other organists. No self satisfied smirk, just a studious look on his face, so everything appears to be on the level.
Then I think to myself “great, now the voices in my head have learned to play the organ and are screwing with my sense of reality.” At that point the western theme based ostinato disappears only to be replaced by Monty Python tunes, including the melody from the rousing song “Every Sperm is Sacred”. Well we’re at a wedding aren’t we, an even though it’s an Episcopal church I suppose it’s still appropriate.
At the reception I had the chance to talk to the organist and discovered that he is a former organist for none other than the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Now here’s the really impressive part: not only was this guy a really talented musician capable of working themes from Monty Python and American Westerns into Bach fugues (as well as developing them along with the fugue subject), but he told me that upon arriving at the church he finds a post-it note stuck to the organ keyboard that says “the Middle C key is broken, sorry for the inconvenience”!
Personally, I think he deserved a medal for being both entertaining and technically proficient.