Don’t mess with the organist!
I’m sure this only happens in Britain, right?
The worst such behavior I’ve ever displayed was when my friend Regina got married. We had the rehearsal in this big historic church and I was playing this big historic organ, and they were practicing the processional. The atmosphere was entirely too tense and nervy, big dark ominous church, looked like something from a 30’s horror movie…(sorry, lovely historical old church!)
So after a few bars of the Clarke or Purcell I was supposed to play, I segued into “Alley Cat” on the big historical organ. Reg proceeded to dance her way down the aisle, while her fiance and friends and Fr. Ray laughed. (I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t know all present would have a sense of humor about it.) The rest of the rehearsal went very well. People were more relaxed. My work there was done.
The next day I did play what I was supposed to. They are my friends, after all.
Even when I had the old priest who liked to start Mass when he was ready (regardless of whether the clock, by which I timed my preludes, said there were still at least 75 seconds left before the hour), and who would step out into the aisle and yell up to the organ loft, “Hey! We’re ready to go down here, so shut up!” never received any vengeful musical retaliation. (Mostly because I knew there was nothing I could do that he would even notice. He didn’t hear too well.)
(And people wonder why I wanted out of full time church music?)
I have a friend who, for his improvised postlude to “Joy to the World” every Christmas, works old Jeremiah the Bullfrog into the pedals somewhere. Wish I had the organ chops to pull that one off…
(p.s. any organists here, I trust, are familiar with Mark Schweitzer’s “Liturgical Mysteries” novel series, about a small town police chief/church organist who solves crimes and writes really bad mystery novels? Highly recommended…the first one is only $.99 on Kindle…)