Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blindsided by Widor

I love California and the church I serve. Worship for me is an exciting delight. Each Sunday a new group of musicians lead me into new sounds and new songs. We sing old hymns, sometimes as written and sometimes updated and arranged for the instruments for that day. It is truly fun and worshipful. I am learning and trusting our Director of Worship Arts to take me and the congregation where we need to go.
That being said, I attended a wedding today in downtown Santa Barbara at the 1st Presbyterian Church. It was fun attending as a guest and sitting with Martha. The worship was composed of an organ prelude, a time of worship songs led by another worship leader on the piano, a guitar duet, and more singing led by guitar alone. It was tasteful and good. I did not know the couple real well, but the parents of the groom are good friends and the father of the bride is a local pastor I know and respect.
So, all was going well until the end, as guests were being dismissed by rows and the organist was playing the postlude, a variety of classical numbers. Then he went to Widor's toccata and fugue. Oh my, my eyes filled with tears and my lip began to quiver. The last time I heard that was on the Holtcamp tracker organ played by Cindy Reents at Salem. It is her signature piece, done with precision and power. This organist was good enough to blindside me and reminded me how much I miss the sound of live organ filling a space with colorful sound. Widor does that in a unique way.
I was surprised at how instantaneously the sound of Widor could trigger all the memories of our daughter's successful battle with cancer and the way that music on that Easter balmed my heart. Just when I thought I was beyond surprises...surprise!!


At 12:32 AM , Blogger Beth B said...

Oh thank you, Donn. Isn't Widor fabulous? And to hear the toccata performed live is such a treat. I marvel at the athleticism it takes to play an organ, and mourn their passing in our worship.

Have you heard Saint-Saens "Organ" Symphony #3? The last movement always makes my heart want to burst with joy.

I also confess that someday I wish I could hear the final movement of Mahler's Symphony #2"Resurrection" performed as the benediction for an Easter worship service.Now wouldn't that be something?


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