As I’m sure all of you know, the opening of the fall would normally bring a litany of concert series promotions, church schedules for choir activities, and AGO programs for the academic year. With the invasion of the coronavirus, obviously, we all can’t chug along like normal. Know that if you are finding struggles with putting the pieces together for programs and services, you are not alone.
I have met with our board and discussed possible ideas for what we can do as a chapter in these unprecedented times. Clearly, we cannot offer in-person concerts for at least the remainder of this calendar year. However, there are two events so far that I’d like to bring to your attention.
1) We have the ability to continue our years-long tradition of the Spooktacular. Naturally, Lutheran Towers is not allowing concerts in-person, but they do have the capability to broadcast to every apartment in the building. We will pre-record a concert (probably aiming for 45 minutes to an hour), upload it to YouTube, and advertise the link to anyone who would be interested (your friends, congregations, etc.).
If you would be interested in playing for Spooktacular, there are a few options for you to participate. I am asking that all participants do a video and audio recording. In this season of coronatide, I’m sure many of us have incorporated organ music into pre-recorded or streamed services. A few of us in the chapter have the infrastructure and technology to do so that I know of, and I’m sure some of you have it that I’m not aware of. If you want to be a part but do not have the technology to record yourself, you are welcomed to come to St. Luke’s or any of a few of our fellow chapter members who have the capabilities to record.
If you are interested in playing, please email our Sub-Dean Charlene Cranmer at email@example.com.
We will have a final product ready for “public consumption” by October 27th at 7pm (when we would normally offer that concert in-person). We will need to have a finalized list of people and pieces by October 2nd, and all recordings will be completed by October 20th. With a number of separate players and recordings, it will take some time to put together a video. Ideally, I would like performers to say a little something before they play, and, since it was customary, dress in costume.
2) I will be offering Christmas Lessons and Carols at St. Luke’s this year in late December. Like the Spooktacular, this will be a pre-recorded event. In lieu of having all the carols sung by choirs, I’m inviting the AGO to offer a couple of Christmas chorale preludes/themed pieces after a couple of the readings (of course, these are liturgically based, so concert variations on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will not fit in ;p).
I wanted to offer this now, so some of you can ponder on what/if you’d like to play. I’m still forming how the service will flow as a virtual offering, so stay tuned in the coming month or so for a definitive layout of what areas I would like the AGO to plug in. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in taking part.
It goes without saying that this is a weird way to start off our academic year, but there are ways to continue to reach out and promote ourselves and organ playing, even in the absence of in-person concerts. If you are pre-recording or streaming your services, I highly encourage you to show yourself at the console. I have received numerous emails and social media comments on how interesting it is to watch the organist and even a few comments from people who had no idea how the organ is played. Maybe your stream will inspire someone watching.
Stay tuned for monthly updates in chapter news!
Michael Petrosh, CFAGO Dean
Free Baldwin C-630
While writing this email to you, I received an offer of an organ removal that I thought I would share with you. I will paste the email in its entirety below:
I [Michael Corzine] have a choir member whose grandmother’s organ is looking for a possible small church or chapel home. It’s a Baldwin C-630, which is a 2-manual church model with 61/32 and a decent specification. If you know of any congregation/chapel looking for a (free) church-style electronic organ, please put them in contact with me. The organ needs to be moved out of the house fairly soon, so as usual with these things, time is of the essence. Thanks for any help you might provide!
Organist & Choirmaster
First Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone 850/222-4504 x114 (office)
Please contact him directly, as he asks.