Happy Halloween

Every Halloween, my heart always breaks a little bit.  Somehow, the organ has been established as a Halloween instrument, evoking images of gaunt hunchbacks with pasty skin and fanged teeth flinging back a cape to break into the Bach d-minor toccata.  <sigh>  Yet, each year, I hop on the bandwagon and play the organ for the trick-or-treat festivities with the nursery school hosted by CathedralLite.

This year, I tried a few other pieces to avoid getting trapped into a one-hit wonder Halloween.  I had a group of about 15 four-year-olds, and after the obligatory spooky stuff, I tried out some other pieces that evoked costumes.  I played a pirate song and asked if there were pirates in the group (there were).  I played a ballerina song and asked if there was a ballerina in the group (a princess sufficed).  I am full of ideas for next year: the bridal march, Star Wars theme, spiderman theme and fairy sounds (hello zymbelstern) would round out a program for that age group.  Four-year-olds have an attention span of 45 seconds, and I can play any theme from any action movie for just that long.

So, hook them with the d-minor toccata and then switch to show everything else that the instrument can do.  The best kind of bait-and-switch, and take every opportunity to have some show and tell time with the instrument.

Wedding Tales: Something New

I wish I had a grand total count of how many brides have walked down an aisle with my accompaniment.  I smugly say that I’ve seen it all – from the dog wheeled down the aisle in a wagon – to the bride who wouldn’t kiss the groom at the end of the ceremony.

But today, I was surprised with something new.  End of the ceremony.  Glowing bride kisses the beaming groom. Bride takes her flowers and the couple are announced as the new Mr & Mrs.  Happiness and clapping ensue.  Cue recessional: Handel’s Queen of Sheba.  Then, as the newlyweds walk down the aisle, the guests start clapping………* in time with the music *.

Just like the fireflies with synchronized flashing, all the guests at CathedralLite went from random clapping to keeping time with the music of Mr. Handel, sending the couple into married life with communal, bouyant allegretto of well-wishes.