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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…..