Saturday, 26 December 2009

A Christmas treat

The Abbey's musicians gave us a real treat yesterday. The choristers sang the service superbly, putting in their hearts and souls and the organists certainly put in a magnificent performance, both Ben and Carleton. No, there wasn't a duet, but there was a change of organ. It is always amusing to see the faces of our visitors when Ben and Carleton pull the switch like this. Normally Carleton conducts the choir and Ben accompanies on a Sunday or Holy Day when the Parish Choir is singing and yesterday was no exception.

So why the surprised looks from the congregation?

It works like this. Immediately after the Blessing and Dismissal, the final hymn begins. Normally the Milton Organ is used to accompany the hymns, but when the organists are ringing the changes so to speak, Carleton launches the hymn from the Grove organ out of sight from the congregation. Ben then switches off the Milton and stands up and leaves the loft in full view of the congregation ....

Those who know the different sound of the two organs quickly guess what is happening, visitors don't.

So we processed from the church accompanied by the growls and snarls of the Glorious Grove trying to keep a straight face as visiting members of the congregation peered at the empty organ loft and tried to figure out how the organ was being played. And it was certainly being played. Carleton's Recessional Voluntary was a stunner. Vierne's Finale to the 1st Symphony.

It has to be heard on the Grove I think to truly appreciate it.

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