Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wanted: My Replacement

Since our beloved piano player has recently departed our midst, and because the CD system isn't quite up to speed yet, I have been filling in on Sunday mornings by playing my guitar for the hymns at church. This is interesting. While I'm not a complete stranger to leading music, it's not something that I do enough to feel totally comfortable with...You see, sometimes I get lost in singing the chorus and forget what verse we're on and so when the next verse starts, people get all higgledy-piggledy because they're following me and I have no idea what I'm doing. Very disconcerting to have to stop and say, "Um- what verse are we on?" Sooooo unprofessional.
( Okay- that only happened once. So far.) But then, I'm NOT a professional - not by any stretch. But I guess, without me, we'd be chanting a cappella. ( No matter HOW I spell it, this spell check is NEVER satisfied with the spelling of that last word...Argh.) And so far, no one's complained - to my face.

But there are a couple of advantages to leading the music. Firstly, I get to pick the songs we sing! Hah! Because I don't read music, I am limited in what I can play and so whoever is leading the worship time gives me a pretty good amount of freedom to choose what I want to play. Hurray! It's great to be able to choose stuff you like and shun that other stuff...Not that there are really BAD hymns, but to be honest, there are some that do bug me - whether it's a repetitive tune or the fact that they are terribly over-used and need to be given a rest for approximately twenty years.

But then there's the REAL bonus: I get to PITCH the songs! It seems that most hymns have been pitched for sopranos and old ladies who like to warble. I am neither. It's hard to worship when you're screeching up in the attic. The lower the better, I say. So I have taken great delight in pitching the songs LOOOOOWER. But then there's the challenge- I know not everyone likes my comfortable/tenor/basement philosophy of singing. What sounds normal to me suddenly seems a little growly when the rest of the congregation joins in with me...Ooops. Sorry, folks. So, I try to strike a good balance.

Anyway- all this said - this experience is giving me a greatly increased appreciation for musicians who contribute every Sunday. It's easy to take them for granted...until you become one of them! So...are there any piano players out there who would like to join us and take over for me? My belly is expanding and soon there may not be a lot of room left for a guitar on my lap...and from what I hear, ones' lung capacity is somewhat compromised in the later stages of pregnancy, which could make for some gaspy singing.

8 comments:

asaphat said...

Sure, Claire. I'm on my way to take over. Give me the expanding belly and compromised lung capacity and you should be go to go. That IS what you meant, right?

I've gotten lost in the verses of songs plenty. It's a very panicked feeling for the pianist, too, as you come to the end of the chorus and have no idea whether you should start playing for another verse...frantically beating your brain as you scan the verses trying to remember which ones have been done. The worst is when the leader picks and chooses certain verses...say three from a six-versed song. It gets so complicated, especially if verse four is supposed to be the last one and you can't remember which ones he picked but are SURE they didn't sing verse six yet. I relate. I suppose it helps if you don't daydream while you accompany.

Don't even get me started on the chorus book we have at Fairwood...where the congregational book doesn't always match the accompanist's book and suddenly at the end of a song everyone keeps singing something for which you have no music. Um, awkward. I think there's only one song like that, but plenty of other issues...like the chorus and verse being reversed in order. Was quite an adventure adjusting to that book! An adventure I grumbled about, and still do from time to time, whenever I stumble on a nasty surprise mid-song in front of everyone.

And I'd love to take the entire WS and pitch it down a couple of steps. Just make a copy for the pianist to play from and everyone could use their own books and never know.

Okay, longest comment ever, but this post hits pretty close to home for me. :-)

(How's little Bun Ham getting along?)

ljmax said...

Ha, ha...this post makes me laugh.."old ladies who like to warble"! Although I do miss having a piano around more than I'd ever thought I would, I do NOT miss the congregational playing, not a bit.

Aaron said...

Craig's right - it's not just a guitarist problem. Once Uncle Tad asked for "Yes, I Will Rejoice" - a song in which the chorus and verses end the same way - and I ended after the last verse without playing the chorus. EVERYONE in the church looked at me expectantly. It was awkward.

drewey fern said...

I believe I may have made people laugh out loud in RI. Unintentionally. Oy vay.

lis said...

Oh, I wish you were playing for me! Singing in a lower key certainly transforms the hymn-singing experience. (for the listener too, I imagine).

On another note (heehee, no pun intended), I thought Craig wanted to pitch the WS book down the stairs. And I was thinking, "I didn't know he hated it that much."
:O)

Amen to being thankful for accompanists! I've done it a handful of times myself...

Marie said...

hey thanks for the comment...actually I haven't gotten alot of wisdom teeth comments:) And you know what I enjoy telling my physical woe tales...actually...when I get old I'll have fun at the nursing home telling them about the WWIV that went on in my mouth today and laying on the floor in the hall after trying to move around...but feeling soo low blood sugared I had to lay in fetal position until my body got a hold of itself...and how I can feel my stiches... etc...:) and was almost in tears after I got them pulled out...

oh vay!;) now there are some bloody details...

Wow! Congrats on the baby...when is he due? That's awesome.

You know Melody (formaly Craig...) she's almost ready to pop if she hasn't already. This is her 2nd:)

God bless!

And I enjoy reading your posts...who's Phillip by the way. I'd probably find out more about him if I read more posts:)

Marie said...

to clarify my post...Melody is about to pop because she is pregnant with her 2nd...

I laid in the hallway at home, not at the DR's appointment...I'd gotten up from a nap and tried to walk around some and was totally depleted of energy...and nutrients...

enought of that...
:)

Lori said...

People get "higgledy piggledy," do they? Ha ha!!! So have you attempted The Doxology on guitar yet...in a basement/growly pitch?