….let there be shopping….


Main organ of Saint Thomas Church (Strasbourg)...

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I play the organ. ( church organ. That thing with the 2 or 3 piano – looking keyboards and foot pedals and loads of big pipes. The reason I’m explaining is because I have had some unsavoury reactions to that statement in the past.  Yes. “Wanna play with mine? ” has come up.  So to speak. )

In my twenties I was the organist at a big Catholic church in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Big catholic churches mean Big Catholic Weddings. Big Dresses and Big Money. And Big attitudes. From the brides with the big dresses and the big money. And , of course, their mothers.

It never ceased to amaze me that these people seemed to assume that I lived in the church. “You mean you can’t just quickly play it for me over the phone? My mom is on the other extension and she really wants to hear the entrance march just once more….? ”

Also, there was the question of actually PAYING for my services. “Your charge is extra? It’s not included in the church fee? We have to pay you? ”

My mother made me get up at 5h00 in the morning for years to practise the piano. It was cold. I was sleepy. It was HARD WORK. So, yes. You do have to pay me.

Minds were changed. Music was changed. “I think I’d rather do the ( piece-of-music-I’ve-downloaded-from-the-internet) than the hymn you suggested for the lighting of the candle ceremony/ communion/ signing of the register.  My fiance and I were at restaurant a/b/z over the weekend and they played this song and we just froze and looked at each other and we just KNEW we HAD to HAVE it at our wedding and….and…and….and…..”

The brides were bad. Sometimes the priests were worse.

There was the time I had already started the Tadadada….Tadadadaa….. of the  Mendelsohn Wedding March, pulling out all the stops,  only to glance in my mirror ( you’re sitting on the gallery with your back to the goings on,  so you need a rearview mirror ) and see the priest wildly waving his arms yelling “STOP! STOP! I’M NOT FINISHED YET!! ”

So why did you say “Amen”  you inconsiderate man-in-a-white-dress???

The next  time you’re at a wedding : spare a thought for the musicians. The music doesn’t automatically flow from their fingertips. They have spent years in front of stern adjudicators and examiners in order to perfect their skill.  They have practised for hours and hours. They want to do a good job. Most of all, THEY WANT TO GET PAID.

And a compliment or two won’t hurt either…..


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9 thoughts on “HERE COMES THE BRIDE….OR…NOT….

  1. That picture of the Pope is possibly the scariest one I have EVER seen.

    And you get major cool points for the church organ playing. I can’t think of anything cooler right now. Unless you were playing the organ in a bikini and Ray-Bans…? *hopeful face*

  2. Deids13 on said:

    I always appreciate good wedding music. I’ve been to too many weddings where the wedding march was a big mess. I always wonder why they allow people to perform who can’t. Is everyone else totally tone deaf?
    I would love to hear you play, you should upload a video onto your blog sometime!

  3. Much respect – I dated an organist (yes , you know) for years. Later he played at our wedding – just what I wanted (I came in on Bach’s Jesus Joy – on the John Elliot Gardner fast rhythm and we had some Pachabel for the signing. It was perfect.

  4. Natasha on said:

    That organ looks like the one we saw in a church in Stellenbosch…

    I must say, the lady at our wedding (catholic wedding) played beautifully, we also had a singer and they just made everything so magical!! And no, even though it sounds extravagent, it was a small wedding on a very tight budget of two people who love each other against all odds 😉

    I did thank the organ lady in my thank-you notes at church, and the tears on everyones cheeks were a big compliment to her, she created the magical wedding we wanted with her beautiful music…

  5. Luddite lass on said:

    Wow, respect for playing the organ. It always sounds so amazing and looks so difficult. My great grandfather was a Methodist minister and my great aunt was the church organist into her 90s – albeit a much more modest affair than the one pictured on your post. As a child my mum used to sit at her aunt’s feet and blow the bellows to make the organ work. My aunt used to give her sweeties so she would stay awake during the long services!

    • I can see it….Our small village church still has one of those pumping affairs. It’s hell on the legs!

      • Luddite lass on said:

        It is a small village church in the south of England. Still there – exactly as my great grandfather built it! It was pretty much big enough for his family (13 children) and the locals (all three streets of them).

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