Vidas: Hi, guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra
V: Let’s start episode 479, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ruth. And maybe this is not a question per se, but an observation. I asked Ruth, who is our TotalOrganist student, to write what she has been working on and she wrote:
Our church organist has been in the hospital with a very serious illness. I am an ordained minister, with some experience in music. In this geographical area, it is difficult to find substitutes for organists. So, for several Sundays now, I have played the piano for the hymn singing and have also led the worship service. For special music, I played the flute, on which I have done a lot of solo work. So far, it is working out fine, but I do not know when the organist will be able to return. For now, I practice music and also prepare the worship service. Preaching is a major part of the service. For me, it takes a huge part of the week to prepare the sermon, with an effort to study the Biblical texts in great detail, since those texts form the foundation for the sermon. So, my days consist of practicing music and studying for the sermon and service preparation. I ultimately have to write the service for the bulletin. Fortunately, this church has someone to type and copy the bulletin.
V: What are your thoughts, Ausra, after hearing this?
A: Well, I think she is doing a tremendous job. Ruth is being like a woman orchestra, basically, conducting all this entire service. People need just to appreciate her so much for what she is doing, basically, leading whole service by herself…
A: as a minister and as a musician. I have never heard about anything like that before. I think it’s quite amazing.
V: Yes! Amazing in both respects, that a musician can write sermons and deliver them also. And also that a minister can perform music. This is quite extraordinary. But I suspect that we have some of our listeners who are in similar positions too. Maybe not doing this consistently, but have this skills, I think too. So I thought of including her feedback here on the podcast. And I asked her, actually, I’d like to find in our communication on Basecamp—I asked her how long is her sermon and she wrote that it’s about fifteen or ten minutes. So she has to write it every week, I think.
A: Yes. For each Sunday.
V: Mmm-hmm. Yes. She writes ‘they are usually about fifteen minutes. They have gotten a few minutes shorter since I started there. I noticed that the congregation listens better if the sermons are not too long’.
A: That’s I think a good way to understand that, because I have listened to a sermon that would last for almost forty minutes.
A: And there the priest would start to talk about one thing and then would go and talk basically nonsense—it’s not related with the scripture at all.
A: So I guess it’s probably, it’s ten to fifteen minutes is the optimum time that you can still grab the congregations attention.
V: It’s like a musical piece, also.
V: If it’s a long piece, and it’s difficult to listen to it. If it’s a number of shorter pieces, it’s easier.
A: Yes. But envy sometimes people being protestants because usually in those reformed churches, sermons are much better than in Catholic churches.
A: That’s my opinion from what I have heard.
V: And if she’s doing this week after week, year after year, she must have created a large body of work, of her sermons. So I asked her ‘what is she doing with the text after the service? Are they sitting in the drawer or is she publishing them?’
A: She could publish them, definitely! (?)
V: She could publish them as a book, self-publish, or with publishing house or she could put them online and let her ideas spread. That would be I think the easiest thing to do.
A: And another thing that amazes me, how is she able to manage all the thing because I remember, used to, when I did my lecture recital for my Doctoral program, I played two chorale fantasies by Johann Adam Reincken and also talked about them. I was doing a comparative analysis of them, and I talked before one, then I went upstairs to the organ balcony and played it, and then I came downstairs again and talked about another one and then went and played the second one, which is probably the largest, the longest...
A: German organ fantasy. Well, and you know the hardest thing for me was to focus because of how after reading all the text, it was hard to focus and perform. So I really respect Ruth for doing it, when she has to leave the service and play it.
V: Would it be difficult for you today, to do this, after all those years?
A: Well, you know, it would still need to take an extra concentration.
V: It’s a different skill than…
V: than just talking or just performing. You have to combine story–telling and performing which for some people is a challenge and this challenge of course might be overcome by developing this skill of story–telling. I just wanted to end this conversation with an advice for Ruth. If she hasn’t published her sermons, to check out Steem platform where we are publishing our work. They have [a] wonderful community and various interests in that community. You can find people who are interested in religion for example, and Christianity, and those communities or are as they call it, tribes, can be concentrated and people in that tribe can really support each other. And this is really great work to start your blog today. If I was doing the work from scratch I would start with Steem I think. Alright guys. Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice…
A: Miracles happen!
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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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