Magazine article Anglican Journal

Solemnity Meets Humour

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Solemnity Meets Humour

Article excerpt

They play the most solemn of instruments, but they're not above having a little fun. Listen carefully and you may discern a bar or two of a nursery song or sea shanty in the music played by your church organist.

According to David Drinkell, master of the music at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's, Nfld., organists often sneak secular fare into the hymnal line-up.

"'The Sailor's Hornpipe' fits almost exactly as a descant over 'Eternal Father, Strong to Save.' And the second half of the tune of 'Nativity' is identical to that of 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary,'" says Drinkell.

Organists can turn their musical latitude to their own advantage. One man auditioning for a job was asked to improvise something during the collection, recalls Drinkell. "The minister had just made a plea for funds to repair the church roof and asked that all those who would pledge $50 stand. The organist played 'O Canada.' He got the job!"

Once, at the funeral of a Belfast dignitary, Drinkell obliged the widow but surprised the guests by playing two songs from the couple's courting days: "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "I Could Have Danced All Night."

According to a recent online survey by Christian Research, a U. …

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