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February 3, 2005
Vol. V, No. 3

"The Agony of De-postlude"
I've received several emails recently indicating that postlude issues still abound. I've addressed such issues from time to time and here are two links for those who may be interested:

"Dear Diary..."

WORKSHOP #9: "News Flash: Two Postludes Better Than One!"

Some of us are fortunate enough to have loyal followings that not only listen to but actually appreciate our postludes. But inevitably, there's at least one person who would rather hear the sound of their own voice than allow everyone else to enjoy some good music in peace.

I can hear the Liturgical Sticklers responding that the postlude (and prelude, for that matter) are not technically part of the service and therefore not subject to the same good manners (hopefully) exhibited during the "legitimate" parts of the service. Maybe it's time for The Church to make the postlude (and prelude) an official part of the service. Organists certainly don't play with any less dedication during the prelude and postlude than they do during the collection. Which reminds me, when did collecting money become an official part of the service? It seems to me, bearing in mind the story of the loaves and fishes, that instead there ought to be a free meal served at that point in the service. I'm talkin' real food here.

In any event, I wonder if collecting money after the sermon is such a good idea. After all, there are alternatives. Why not charge people to leave church? They're standing in line to greet the minister anyway. Plenty of time to swipe a credit card.

Something more in line with the traditional placement would be to have the collection during the sermon. Set a fundraising goal that, once met, signals the end of the sermon. The quicker the congregation gives, the shorter the sermon. Not only would it encourage concise messages from the pulpit but it would probably push members to all new levels of giving.

Now, on to another Stickler issue: clapping. Is clapping in church really so vulgar? Aren't you ultimately applauding God's creation? I think the only reason applause isn't condoned in church is that it would likely be noticeably absent after many sermons.

Whether it's for a recital or for church, I try to give 100% when I play so I don't mind if people in church want to show their appreciation by applauding. However, I always feel it's the music that deserves the applause. If I start thinking it's all about me, eventually I'm liable to start thinking that people just might be applauding because I'm done. Better for the self-esteem to divert attention toward the music or the composer. Besides I generally play Bach and who else is more worthy of a show of appreciation.

So where does that leave us? Well, as far as an individual soloing on their lack of manners, it's not limited to postludes. I've had similar experiences at Carnegie Hall, movie theaters, the park, everywhere. It's an ever-increasing societal problem. But when life hands you one bad apple, it's time to make applesauce.

By that I mean you really have to decide what's important to you and choose your battles. Ask yourself why you're doing this organist thing. The applause? The money? Audiences are nice but aren't you really willing to play for no one but yourself? Money is nice but if you need it that badly, there are other ways to get it without staying in a bad situation.

Finally, you can't look at being an organist as strictly a job. A job is a job is a job and if you focus on the negative of any job, you are doomed. You have to focus on the good that can come out of it. Even if you reach just one person with your music, even if that one person is you, you've made that person's world a better place. Go, play, prosper!

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:

Updated Pages
Featured Links
Added is the Choral Public Domain Library. "The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) is the largest website devoted exclusively to free choral sheet music. Begun in December 1998, the site has over 300 contributors and 7,600 scores."

Articles Library
Added is an article on the upcoming retirement of organ builder John Brombaugh. I've also included a link to a mini-website that I built around his instruments:
Unfortunately, I made the website quite a while ago and many of the links have gone stale. I have removed them and will update them at some point in the future. If you have any links to his instruments, I would appreciate the help:

Community Links
When was the last time you checked out the Community Links page? This web page offers an incredible assortment of links to websites recommended by community members. Click this link to begin a fascinating journey:


Have a great week!

Dan Long

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