The organ at my regular parish has been down for six weeks now.
I pushed the button to turn it on one day before English Mass, and heard … nothing where there should have been the whoosh of air traveling through the organ.
Meanwhile, a choir member coming up the stairs to the choir loft heard … a clunk.
Clunks are bad.
As it turned out, the motor in the 80-year-old thing had conked out. That’s really bad. The motor couldn’t be saved, and a new one would have to be custom-made. That’s bad, and expensive, too. Until it was ready and successfully moved up a flight of stairs and two ladders into wherever the motor was (somewhere near the bell tower), I’d have to play only … the piano that I use for Spanish Mass.
That was six weeks ago. Since then, Palm Sunday and Easter have come and gone (both days where the organ is a lot better at conveying the events of the day), and the guy who was in charge of ensuring a new motor was made, the husband of the choir member who heard the clunk, had a heart attack and needed an extra week to recuperate. (He’s mostly fine now, thank God, and given the choice between him not dying or having the organ, obviously, there’s no real choice there.)
It’s just not the same. Nothing truly conveys the majesty of the best church music than the organ, and though a piano is a good instrument, it doesn’t resonate the same way, nor does it fill a space nearly as well, especially because it’s not miked. It also forces me to change my playing style in an attempt to get the music to fill the space better and not leave too much dead air. It’s an OK instrument for worship, but it’s not the best.
The waiting game stinks. But there’s this light at the end of the tunnel: When the motor is installed and I can get back to my post, I will be able to play as loudly and joyfully as I want. And I’ll definitely send an extra prayer of thanks even further upstairs for the chance to again lead others in praising God through the king of instruments.