Friday, April 25, 2014

Odd Anecdote(4)

A couple of you have commented that my post on playing the harmonium organ raised a chuckle! I fear so. It made me think back to those primitive days when sometimes chapel organs were on larger scale with bellows operated by someone (hidden) standing behind.  I can recall my huge pride as a small boy when I was occasionally given this job.  Discretely, behind a wall, I took the large wooden arm in both hands and started pumping up and down as soon as a hymn was announced, so that the organist could hit the notes with pipes full of wind.   Much wheezing and creaking accompanied the first pulls of the arm and when the organ was at full pelt it meant a considerable work-out to ensure no unnatural fading occurred. 

This provokes a memory of a story current back then (which I guess is apocryphal).  A similarly enthusiastic young boy was so eagerly pumping air into the bellows that one organist found the whole contraption was almost whistling with bulging extra energy.  Playing with subtlety was sabotaged by rushing mighty wind.  After the first hectic hymn the organist wrote a note to be passed round to the boy.

Unfortunately, it was assumed that the note was intended for the preacher.   After praying he looked down to see in block capitals:  THEY CAME TO HEAR ME PLAY, NOT TO HEAR YOU BLOW!

1 comment:

Brian Astell said...

Thanks for reminder.In early chapters of my book I describe my organ pumping days -and the occasion when minister came down,seeing I was panting away to deliver wind to a VERY enthusiastic organist. He told me to stop, when organ subsided with a gentle moan, he went out to congregation and pointed out that without the unseen power doing its job, the public Personality was useless.