Monthly archives "November 2014"

Annual Service Music Planner

Earlier, I mentioned my Service Music Planner is available. It’s really been a big help in keeping me organized, and it helps me remember what I have done in the past. After many years, it is easy to forget what pieces I actually know! So, since I haven’t quite figured out how to attach it here, I will e-mail it to you upon request. Just ask!

TAO December 2014

Practical Organ Music

December 2014

Ready or not, the holidays are nearly upon us. Just asking the question, “Are you ready?” is enough to send some of us over the edge. I always mean to be ready, yet, as often as not; I’m not even close. Over the years, I have learned to trim my expectations for what ‘ready’ means by accepting that I cannot do it all. Just as my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach at all those wonderful potlucks at church, my heart is always bigger than my pocketbook or my calendar when it comes to the gifts I want to give, the cards I want to send, and the parties we are invited to. Maybe you will join me in the “Less is More Club” this year. I promise: less stress will lead us to more calm and enjoyment–even on Christmas Eve!

For us organists, the question, “Are you ready?” goes right to the heart of our music making, too. For years, I have used a monthly service music planner to keep organized. I have posted it for you on my blog xxxx, so you can download it for your own use. I have created this blog just for us. I invite you to contribute to the conversation about practical organ music there. I would love to know what your favorite pieces are, what music you are searching for, and anything else that would help to connect the many, many people who share the same interests that we do. I look forward to sharing an interesting conversation with you!

Ready or not, the season is upon us. There is time for some last minute shopping. The two volumes of John Hebden Schaffner’s Five Christmas Carols in a Baroque Style (Concordia 97-6194 & 97-6507) are indeed gifts to us. Each of the mainstream carols is arranged in a variety of baroque forms, including prelude, fugue, variation, gigue, and pastorale. The writing is authentic to the contrapuntal style of the time, and many are extended enough to serve as a full prelude, offering, communion, or postlude. Most are manuals only, and pedal parts are simple. I think these will serve your congregation well. Charles Callahan’s Christmas Music for Manuals, Sets 1 & 2 (MorningStar Music 10-110 & 10-135), are shorter pieces that may be grouped into suites for longer preludes.

The trouble with last minute shopping is waiting for the delivery of our treasures in time for us to learn the notes. It will be a breeze when our publishers start offering more downloadable music. I look forward to that day! A sleigh full of downloadable music is currently available through the IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) website. There is so much music, in fact, that it can be overwhelming to use. Let me guide you to a few pieces to get you started. First, type in your browser. Alec Rowley’s Fantasy on ‘Veni Emmanuel’ is there: just type the composer’s name in the search blank at the upper right-hand corner of the home page, then click on “Go.” You can also find Pietro Yon’s Christmas in Sicily using the same easy search technique, as well as Josef Latzelsberger’s Funf Weihnachts-Praludien for manuals only. To get beyond these suggestions, it will take some time and experience exploring the entire website. And some patience…


JOIN THE CONVERSATION! I invite you to use this blog to share your own thoughts and ideas; to offer your favorite pieces and new finds to fellow organists; and to ask questions or to make requests. I look forward to hearing from you!