Bearing bad songs patiently

It’s one of those things every organist comes up against when they don’t pick their own hymns: something either rubs them the wrong way, isn’t their style or just all-around stinks. And it’s in these cases that you distinguish yourself as a reliable, versatile musician.

The other day, on the list was the dreadful-in-every-way “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” Bad words (“I’m so glad…”?). A treacly melody that doesn’t quite fit with the bad words. The fact that it’s CCM in the first place. Here, listen to it and you’ll see what I mean.

Oy. I need a palate cleanser. Before I continue, here’s “Regina Caeli.”

Whew. That’s better. But understand: If you’re the organist, you are a professional. Also, not everyone has the same tastes as you do, and so there are many people out there who love this stuff, and it’s not a sin to do so. Ergo, it’s your duty to play a song you hate as if you love it. You don’t have to pretend you love it, but you do have to play it better than adequately. So if you need to practice it, do it. Don’t screw around with it or allow yourself to get sloppy. Follow the director’s directions if you have one. Master it here, and you have a skill that can serve you in areas unrelated to church music.

In this case, the choir at this parish sang “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” for and with the parish kids. And I played it darn near flawlessly. Everyone finished, and the director leaned over, smiled, and said, “Thank you.”

I smiled and nodded. Just doing my job, I thought. Just doing my job.

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One response to “Bearing bad songs patiently

  1. Sweet – I love this post!

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