The Invisible Man is The Ward Organist
I’m very pleased if anybody recognizes the organist. It’s a hard job, particularly hard to do well. Like some of you, I wasn’t trained as an organist (and I taught myself to play the piano, too). I was just asked to be the organist, and I sat down in front of it the very next Sunday. That was in October, 1985, and I think I’ve played the organ somewhere every Sunday since.
The hymns are just my speed, and I try to give them a little energy. I breathe with the phrases (lifting my hands off the keys at a comma, for instance), and I try to choose a tempo which is just right, not too slow and not too fast (organ makes you slow down, piano makes you speed up).
I am inventive, but I try to be careful to stay within the hymns written harmony, because it’s too difficult to sing along, otherwise.
I do pull it out the stops, and play loudly, but I don’t like to do this more than one hymn a week, usually the opening or rest hymn. The sacrament hymn, and the closing hymn, I reserve for quieter, contemplative, and spiritual moods.
My favorite anthem to play is All Creatures of Our God and King, #62 (naturally), and I modulate upward on the final verse.
My favorite hymn, though is Abide With Me!, #166, which is just exquisite harmony, and perfect words.
(I’ll be doing both of these, this Sunday, in addition to speaking.)