The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Category Miscellaneous

Handy excuses for organists

  We all have those days when our performance wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, so here’s a convenient list of suitable organist excuses. Personally I would go for blinding them with science every time – our instrument is such a gift for this: some earnest exposition around pistons, couplers, diapasons and swell boxes, and only a fellow-organist would know you’re bluffing.     You might also

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You’re not a proper organist until…

Becoming an organist is not just about getting some swanky letters to put after your name, you know.  Certain important life skills are also required, if you’re going to hack it like a pro.  See how you measure up with this check list. YOU’RE NOT A PROPER ORGANIST UNTIL: Your organ shoes look like they’ve been in a tussle with an enthusiastic puppy and lost You have a few improv

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How to chat up your organist

Taken a shine to the new lady organist who has just started at your church?  Fancy seeing more of that young organ scholar you met at a recital?   Organists are not gregarious souls, and it can take an effort to make friends.  Allow THE LADY ORGANIST to give you some tips on good chat-up lines, and guidance on what to avoid in those tricky early conversations. Talking about the

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The church organist – multi-tasking supremo

I created this for the congregation at one of the churches where I play.  I thought they might be amused, and I also thought it was worth showing them that “just playing a hymn” on a Sunday requires multi-tasking skills approaching those of a fighter pilot.     You are welcome to copy and reproduce this picture, as long as my website name remains on it. Download a hi-res version

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The Lady Organist in Winter – Stable Girl Style

Stable Girls are expected to turn out morning and evening, in all weathers, to perform repetitive tasks for dismal amounts of money – sounds familiar? This winter I’ve discovered a whole untapped aspect of my wardrobe, perfect for winter organ playing – my horse-riding gear. I’m not talking boots, bits and bridles here*  but the sort of clothing that riders throw on every morning before they stump down to the

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RCO Summer Course – organ mirrors of the world

I try to control the trainspotter* tendencies in my personality, but I do like taking pictures of organ mirrors (wait for my fully-illustrated coffee table book Organ Mirrors of the World, Part 1 – it’s going to be a wow)  because they are often a makeshift and inappropriate afterthought to the case design.   However this one is pure genius.  The Chancel Organ at St Giles Cripplegate is awkwardly placed (so what’s

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Get on-trend this Spring with the now colours from the Methodist Church

Given that my day job is teaching at an interior design school in London, I couldn’t resist this, which appeared on Twitter this morning.   Thanks Central Methodists @preston_church and Dave Walker @davewalker for tweeting.

International Organ Festival wants new members

Whenever I bump into the people who help run the St Albans International Organ Festival I’m impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm.  They are one of the secrets of the success of the Festival, which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary.  John Morrish, who manages the membership,  recently contacted me to say they are very keen to encourage more people to join the organisation, and help safeguard the Festival for

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St Cecilia – the ultimate lady organist

St Cecilia at the organ, Daniele Crespi (1590-1630) /Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest Last year I gave you four St Cecilias to celebrate the day of our patron saint.  This year it’s just one – this extraordinary early 17th century drawing by Daniele Crespi.  Cecilia’s clothes are practically dropping off with the energy and ecstasy of her playing –  the bellowsman struggles to keep up.  And who are those leering

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Organists – artists or crowd-pleasers?

Here’s a nice exchange on Twitter.  Are organists (particularly church organists) artists, servants of the music, or simply servants of the people?   Discuss, as they say in exams.      

Nowadays, no-one calls you Marm

Those were the days! – when a Lady Organist had a Village Organ Blower at her command, who addressed her as Marm.  From Punch and dating from around 1910 (judging by the costume, and obsequiousness).     Like a mighty tortoise, moves the Church of God RCO choral conducting workshop with Patrick Russill My favourite Dave Walker cartoon …and in high heels – Ethel Smith

Calgary Organ Festival 2013 – spooky goings-on

Calgary organists promise howling pipes and decomposing musicians from 10pm on 31st October at Knox United Church, as part of Calgary Organ Festival, coming up at the end of this month.  Entry to this event is by donation to the Calgary Food Bank, and there’s an opportunity to walk the floor Labyrinth at Knox United Church beforehand.  They suggest you bring your own zombie (always good to take the opportunity

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Liturgical Hair

After the usual stalwarts of coffee mornings, bazaars, quiz nights and raffles, what other options are there for parish fund raising, when the organ, inevitably, needs expensive attention?    The historic 1914 Lewis & Co organ at St Andrew’s, Leytonstone, in north London, needs the bellows releathered – so far they’ve had a hymnathon (an account here from someone who took part), concerts and so on, and raised £11,500 of the

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RCO Summer Course 2013 – lightbulb jokes

  Q.  How many altos does it take to change a lightbulb? A.  One, and nine others to say ‘But it’s too high for me’   Q.  How many sopranos does it take to change a light bulb? A.  One, and nine others to say ‘But why didn’t he choose ME?’   Q.  How many tenors does it take to change a lightbulb? A.  None, you just say thank you

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