Picture yourself in church listening to the prelude being played by the church organist. That prelude welcomes us and prepares us for the message the congregational leader will provide in the sermon that follows. Organ music invites us to become quiet and settle in together.
Just like the churches they are played in, these organs comes in all sizes. Some are large and are enhanced by being full pipe organs. Some are small and less capable of having dramatic impact.
There is no single description that fits all organs or church organists. One thing is certain; without the organist the organ will remain silent. For many in the congregation that silence would greatly diminish the worship experience.
Large churches with generous congregations have magnificent pipe organs. Their accomplished organists are compensated for the hours they spend each week in mastering the complex arrangements.
Small churches cannot afford large instruments or paid organists. The organist is a volunteer who is often self-trained. Their dedication is beyond question; the music they play starts in their hearts. They have the courage to play for a congregation that may not fully appreciate the gift they are getting. Regardless of the organ being played in your church, thank the organist.
Here is a recent note from my high school 1960 classmate Ruth Reynard Pilgun. Ruth is a quiet and modest person but she shared one of the great things she has done with her life as choir director and organist for a couple of small churches. Here is what she said.
“I am not a concert pianist/organist and had only about a year or so of lessons because back then (1950ties) we didn’t have a car and I had a teacher who came to the house.
Mostly what I’ve learned is through practice and for choirs what I learned from singing under the direction of others. I still have the love of music, don’t think that ever fades. But I have never considered myself to be talented so I thank you for the compliment.”