Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just do it!

I know, I know. I haven't posted for a few days. This is bad, because my brand new audience will stop checking my blog every day if I let them down too often.

I keep waiting for something 'blog worthy' to happen, but if I continue to do that, you may be waiting for a while...

And besides, it's not as if I only have conversations when I think of something that's conversation worthy (anyone who's had a conversation with me knows that!). So I figure I should just approach this like I approach conversations.

Hi.

(This is where you're supposed to say something....)

....

*hmph*

I guess I'll just talk then *sniff*

Hey, I know! I got a new calling last week at church. I'm the ward organist. I also actually play the piano in relief society, and teach the 16-17 year old Sunday School class, but that's okay because I like having things to do.

Now, this isn't my first foray into the world of church organing. I actually had this calling for a few years when I was 14, so I didn't think it was too big a deal. Actually, I had a pretty traumatic experience when I played the organ back at age 14 (this is good - a tangent! We must be having a real conversation). I was late to church, and I ran in and sat at the organ just as the conducting member of the bishopric announced the opening hymn. I turned on the organ (an electric one in our old chapel), and it started playing a really loud, really awful drum beat! I guess some kid had been playing with the buttons and and left something pressed 'on'. I spent a few frantic seconds trying to make it stop, but I couldn't find the right button. So I just turned the whole organ off. I sat like that for a few moments, but everyone was still sitting there waiting for my to play the hymn introduction, so that OBVIOUSLY wasn't going to work. I switched the organ (and the drum beat) back on and pressed more buttons, before turning off the organ again, getting up off the organ seat, and walking over to the piano - the blessedly unelectrical instrument that helped me get through the rest of the meeting!

But I digress (that was for you Justin). The problem with an organ, is that you're supposed to play with one hand up on one level of keyboard, and the other hand down on another level of keyboard. That feels a little funny, and us 'piano players' really aren't used to it. You're also supposed to use your feet to play the base notes on a keyboard of peddles. Now when I was 14, I just used to sit with my feet tucked up, or hovering over the peddles (heaven forbid your foot should slip and hit a peddle halfway through a talk... you don't tend to make that kind of a mistake twice, in case you were wondering). This time round, I've decided that I really should learn to play the peddles too. I mean, the pedals are just another keyboard, right? So I don't need to learn any new notes. And besides, it's sounds SO much better if you can play the peddles.

I practised a little before church, but the whole peddle/hand thing is actually very confusing, and I played terribly during my practise, so I had to give it up during sacrament meeting. Until the closing hymn that is! I noticed that the base notes mainly hung around a G and a D. 'Brilliant!' I thought, 'I have 2 feet!'. I poised one foot over each note, and off I went! In the third verse, I even made the daring decision to move my right foot from the D to the C for a few notes - that's 3 notes with 2 feet!

At the end of the hymn, I looked up to see if everyone in the congregation was as impressed as I was - but they were busy bowing their heads for the closing prayer... *sigh*

After the meeting, I rushed over to my little brothers (who just turned 16, so they're actually not THAT little anymore) and burst out with 'I was playing the peddles with my feet!'. I just thought SOMEONE should know. Ben shrugged his shoulders and said 'I know, I heard it'. I didn't believe him (because it's not all that obvious at all really), but Ben assured me that he'd heard the normal notes played with my hands and then the 'really low Dhhhhhhh notes'. So there you go. My audience appreciates the efforts of my struggling feet.

:)

On a slightly more serious note, I really am a little excited to tackle a bit of a new challenge. The hymns are really close to my heart, and I love the chance to serve through music. I'm really grateful for my new calling.

xo Tammy

PS. Next Sunday, head over to your ward organist and say 'nice peddle playing'. I'm pretty sure it will make their day....

7 comments:

bethany said...

I'm very sorry Tammy, but i didn't notice your peddle playing.
but i don't think that had anything to do with my lack of appreciation for ur skills but rather the fact that i had no hymnbook and was busy trying to sing 'watermelon' over and over in time to the mouth movements of everybody around me :P
i'll make sure to listen out for it next week though!!!
beth xox

Erika Hill said...

Tammy, I'm always TERRIFIED that I'll be called as ward organist. The hymns alone are hard enough for me (if I practice I'm fine, but for some reason in all my years of piano lessons I never took the time to learn to play hymns!), but adding in two extra keyboards and different action on the keys is...hard. There's a girl in another ward who is about 14 and she's the organist, so your story made me think of her.

breckster said...

My branch in minnesota has an organ and no one to play it. it is one of my secret goals to learn how to play the organ and then keep it a secret until i live in a place where no one else plays anything so they will just be happy to have anyone play.

Speaking of having things that you can't use...My ward in new york has people to fill the chapel but no pews... only folding chairs... its really strange. (If you don't think there is a connection there you haven't ever had a conversation with me.)

Your brothers are 16! I guess since I've never met them they will forgive me for thinking they have been 10 for the last 6 years. (I hope)

Jennsie said...

Tammy, you are a crack up. Come to England and make me laugh again. I haven't done it in such a long time :(

I see you are trying to make up for not writing for a few days. Three entries in one day. I'm impressed. I did check your blog every day hoping to hear what you had to say, a lass nothing. But now I'm content as I have three entries to read.

Well good for you for attempting. The hard thing about new challenges is the courage to actually try it. I'll be sure to tell my friend next week in church, good organd and foot playing :)

Jessica said...

Keeping two hands working together is complicated enough for me, and I'm not even very good at playing the piano. I'm sure if I had been there, I would have been immensely impressed with your peddle playing. That's cool that you have a fun calling (or three of them, I guess). I like my calling, but since I've been on the Compassionate Service Committee about ten times now, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be doing anything else!

Justin said...

I love digressions--and the talent of playing the organ has always been a mystery to me...I always notice the peddle (or is it pedal playing?) because I especially like those rumbling bass (base) notes that are optional in the hymnals...do you like my multiple choice spelling options?

Sara said...

Oh Tammy, I feel your pain! I had to play a little keyboard once on my mission - for a district wide conference. The mission president was there, and the temple presidency. We were in the little town of Cobija, in the Amazon jungle. I was in the middle of a hymn, when the ceiling fan blew the page of the hymnbook. I threw my left hand up to catch it while I kept playing with my right. Well, my left hand hit the drums, so I was playing a hymn with drum accompaniment. Needless to say I quickly turned the whole thing off, but my mission president looked over at me as if to say "SARA (and yes, he's from my home stake, so I'm sure he thought my first name) ORGILL, what are you doing??"