Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 480 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Ruth. And she writes:
Today I will be going over hymns not familiar to my congregation. The reason is that I would like to select several for them to learn, but only one at a time.
V: I thought of including this question in the podcast because I think it relates to the challenge of selecting repertoire and hymns that are not familiar to the congregation, and lots of people are in this situation. Not only Ruth, I think.
A: Yes, especially if you don’t have a choir that leads congregational singing. Then it might be hard to introduce new hymns into a service.
V: It’s maybe a different situation for Ruth, because she is an ordained minister, and she selects hymns. And for example, a lot of organists just follow their ministers’ lead, and they work with what they have. But sometimes, organists select hymns, too.
V: If you are a music director.
A: Yes, appropriate for an occasion.
V: Or you work maybe with a minister together, right? And sometimes, a minister might choose readings from the scripture that talk about certain things, and a sermon appropriate too, and the music director would choose some hymns appropriate to these texts. But then the question is either to sing a familiar hymn about these topics or unfamiliar one?
A: Well, I guess it’s probably a wise idea that during one service you will have only one unfamiliar hymn. Because if you would put all the unfamiliar hymns, I don’t think it would work. And another idea that popped into my mind when I was reading Ruth’s question was that it might be a good idea to do rehearsals with the congregation. Like really short, brief rehearsals. Probably before the service.
V: Yeah, music director or organist could come forth in front of the congregation and sing one or two hymns.
A: Yes, and maybe do one line solo, one verse, and then to sing with everybody. That’s a good practice. We did it actually, many years back, you remember?
V: In Vilnius?
V: Have we done this in Lincoln?
A: I don’t think so. Everybody just sang so well, so we didn’t have to do it in Lincoln.
V: Yeah. If you start to teach something before the service starts, people are really attentive in that moment, and they appreciate the care that you're providing, right, they know that organist is doing more than it’s required. It’s not required from you, it’s not in your job description to lead those rehearsals. But obviously, it’s a nice gesture, I think, and people would appreciate it.
V. Maybe not for everybody, and not maybe right away, but if you do this week by week, you will get this tradition of better singing.
A: That’s right.
V: Which means a lot. All right, guys. We hope this was useful to you. Do you think Ausra, this was useful for people who work in churches.
A: Yes, I think so. Rehearsals with the congregation, I think it’s a good idea.
V: And choosing hymns that are not familiar for congregation, but not all of them right away, but just one or two at a time.
V: And 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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