This past weekend was another musical weekend for us, in addition to all the other stuff that's going on. Greg has been talking about the marvelous Allen digital organ that was installed at the church where he works. This weekend, I had a chance to hear what he's been talking about.
Greg wanted to play the Toccata from Widor's Organ Symphony on the Allen as the postlude to Sunday's service, and asked me to come to church and turn pages for him. The Toccata is a well-known part of the organist's standard repertoire, but it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and can really set the floorboards to rumbling once the pedal part kicks in.
Church is Greg's thing, not mine, but to prove my absolute devotion to this wonderful man, I put on a dress and some eyeliner and went down to the church just as the second service was starting. It was hard to be invisible up on the podium in front of the congregation, but I tried my best. The service included a prayer of thanks for the organ, and the organist (this was Greg's second week at his new gig), and the bulletin contained a flyer with photos and a story of how the Allen came to the church.
When the service concluded, Greg fired up the Toccata and showed the congregation just what their spiffy new instrument could do, including the floor-rumbling. I've heard him practice this piece a bazillion times, but he's never played it as well as he did yesterday. He says he missed the F pedal once, but no one noticed; once he (literally) pulled out all the stops, that organ could howl, scream, dance, sing, and do just about anything except mix a dry martini. Yowza!
Naturally, the congregation loved it. They gave him a standing ovation when he had finished, and everyone came by to compliment him profusely as they left the sanctuary. They even congratulated me, and all I did was turn pages! I think they're happy with the direction that music is takng in their church now, between the fine new instrument and the fine new organist.
Later on in the afternoon, the church held a dedicatory concert for the organ. Ray Cornils, the municipal organist for the City of Portland, came down to the church and played a varied program that demonstrated the terrific versatility of the Allen. He played Bach, Pachelbel (not the Canon), and some other novelty pieces that demonstrated the chimes and other stops.
The two performances made for quite a long day, and Greg and I didn't get home until dinnertime after leaving fairly early in the morning. It was definitely a worthwhile trip, though. There's nothing like music appreciation when it's your music.