Happy Thanksgiving from Vidas and Ausra!
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Today is Thanksgiving so all of our subscribers, readers, listeners, students, customers we want you to know how much we appreciate you and we are grateful for the fact that we are all in this together for what, seven or eight years now. Listen to the audio version here.
So Ausra if you could start the list of three things you are grateful with our Secrets of Organ Playing community what would that be? And I’d like you to start this list because while you talk I’ll be thinking of my list.
A: That’s so unfair.
V: I know.
A: You are putting me on the spot. I don’t like making lists but as Vidas often says we love to help you grow and in that I think you are helping us to grow too and this is very important.
V: Yes, if not you we would be watching TV all day long (laughs.)
V: But no, of course it’s not true. We would be playing organ all day long.
A: Well anyway I am teaching all day long.
V: So you are grateful that we are helping people grow.
A: No, I’m grateful that they are helping us grow.
V: Oh, our listeners and students are helping us grow.
A: Yes, because we all share this information and questions actually makes our brain think about certain things that we might never thought about and would never think about it. So we are very grateful for that.
V: So that’s number one, OK what’s number two? Maybe let’s do in order. I’ll tell one of mine and then you think of the second on your list, OK? The first item on my list is that I’m very grateful that it’s a very, very long journey and we’ve been doing this for seven or eight years now, since Christmas 2011 and it’s incredible that all this year we almost never missed a date without a blog or podcast or something to post or share to be helpful or inspiring or entertaining so I’m particularly grateful to be able to continue to post day after day knowing that somebody reads it, knowing that somebody waits for that email. Knowing that there are people who would miss our work if we decided not to show up for example. That’s really reassuring because if we would just post things and nobody would care that would be depressing, right?
A: True. And I’m grateful for inspiration that I receive from reading our listeners letters.
V: Yes, most of time they are so appreciative of the work that we do and well sometimes there are these short questions list “I want to be the best organist in the world” right, which doesn’t say anything. But these kinds of questions come from a very small minority. In general people share more details about themselves, even sometimes long messages that we don’t even have the time to put into podcast but that’s revealing you see, and they are letting us into their life in a way. So that’s yours right? My number two is I’m very grateful for the team that is doing transcriptions and fingering and pedaling in exchange for Total Organist membership, right? Because without the help of David, or Howard, or Jay who are doing transcriptions of our podcast conversations it would take us hours upon hours to do all the things that we’re doing right now, maybe tens of hours each day. To record the conversation is maybe ten minutes long, right? To edit it and put it all together is maybe more. But to transcribe it is at least one hour work if you are good at it, if you are really fast. Because in ten minutes we say about one thousand words so that’s about an hour of really hard and focused transcribing and I’m really grateful for people who are doing this. And also I’m grateful for Jeremy, for Allen, for Jan, for Annabel, and Mark. Those five people on our team producing scores with fingering and pedaling that I am playing in a slow tempo and putting on YouTube. That’s also extremely helpful. I hope they benefit from Total Organist as much as they can but what they are doing for us and our community is also extremely important. So that’s number two. And number three Ausra?
A: And I would like to thank everybody for helping us take care of this great tradition, this long tradition of performing such a great instrument, the instrument king, the organ and I’m really thankful for you doing what you are doing.
V: OK, and number three since we already thanked our team members and all the listeners, leaders, students, customers, I need to thank also you Ausra because without you I would be talking to the wall and my voice is not very nice and my accent is particularly ugly so you enliven this conversation as many people have pointed out before and make it into a sort of Socratic dialog because we have different opinions and sometimes disagree, make fun of each other, and crack jokes. That’s part of what we do and what you enjoy too.
A: That’s very nice of you to say, thank you.
V: Excellent. Are you feeling grateful that I am doing this too Ausra?
A: Yes (laughs.)
V: Is this number three or four?
A: Yes, I think we have to leave people time to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and have turkey.
V: OK, turkey. So keep playing guys but keep enjoying this wonderful splendid celebration. I hope you enjoy our comic strips that we are sharing today about Thanksgiving and let us know what you think. And remember when you practice…
A: Miracles happen.
Many organists know that early 20th century German composer's Sigfrid Karg-Elert's "Nun danket alle Gott" (Now Thank We All Our God), Op. 65, No. 59 from Choral Improvisations is a perfect piece to play for Thanksgiving.
Ausra and I have just finished writing in fingering and pedaling for this solemn piece, so if you want to learn it in time for Thanksgiving, you can check it out here.
What to be thankful for?
As a lot of our readers celebrate Thanksgiving today, all of us have many reasons what to be thankful for - for our families, for our friends, for our countries, that we have the roof above our heads, for our world that we share with all living creatures.
We can also be thankful for the criticism we receive from our pastors and congregation about how we play the hymns too fast or too loud. We can also be thankful for all the mistakes we make in practice because they make us stronger.
But also let's be thankful for having the privilege to do work that matters and to inspire people around us.
PS Here's the video showing how to harmonize the Old 100th tune suitable for this day in all major keys. Enjoy!
A piece for Thanksgiving
Yesterday morning I was thinking what special piece I could recommend to you on this occasion and quite unexpectedly I found myself pondering upon the idea of creating a composition based on the famous Thanksgiving hymn - Now Thank We All Our God.
Some 10 hours later, a Processional for organ on the same tune was born in which I also used two other well-known Thanksgiving hymn tunes (which I will let you discover for yourself). Here's the score and a MIDI file for listening to the sound.
This is my way of saying thanks to you, my loyal readers.
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Marche Religieuse (p. 12) from 12 Pièces, Op.16 by Leon Boellmann (1862-1897), French Romantic composer and organist.
Now Thank We All Our God
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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