Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pianos, organs and a pink pencil.

I went to a wedding yesterday. I didn't know the couple, as I was only there in my capacity as church choir alto section (yes, I am a natural soprano, and yes, I'm the only one who can sightread the hymns each week...). It was a small low-key wedding, but it was a lovely service.

However, it was also the first I'd heard about a problem with the piano at church. Last Sunday, it had been discovered that a whole section of notes around middle C were somehow sticking together and not playing properly. The piano tuner had been called, but had been unable to come in a fix it yet. All of which left me in rather a quandry as to what I was playing on Sunday morning...

We have a church organ. It's not a big organ, but it has two keyboards and a full set of pedals, and I've never played it before. I played the organ for one church service at home, before I came to uni, it was fun but I had to put in quite a lot of practice beforehand. This was going to have to be done on a quick run-through after the wedding on Saturday afternoon and another practice with the choir on Sunday morning.

It sort of worked. Ish. Let's just say the hymns were fine, but I really should work on my introductions, as somehow I manged to play every single introduction badly, and then be fine on the hymns. I didn't use any pedals, but I did have lots of fun pulling out lots of different stops for a multitude of sound effects! There is a weird treacly feeling when playing the organ, and a sensation of not being in time with the choir, due to a time delay from the action of my fingers and the sound coming out of the organ. I think you'd get used to it (maybe!) but it was really disconcerting.

After the service, one of my friends came up and congratulated me on a job pretty well done. He's a guitar teacher who works part-time in a music shop, and he volunteered to take a quick peek at the piano, and see if he could at least work out what the problem was. He took off the front of the piano, and lo and behold, there was the problem.

A bright pink pencil was wedged under the hammers.

He removed it and the piano was instantly returned to its usual melodic self. I was highly annoyed I'd not seen him before the service started! I have a worry that I'll now be asked to play the organ more often...

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