Organists throughout the world, unite! Well, maybe starting next month. One of the most committed sins for a professional musician is falling for, "I'll do it, and no - I expect no contribution towards the $33,000 loan I took out to study the instrument." And now, after finally getting my head around the fact that the qualification which cost me so much to gain should start paying its own way, I fall for an old trick from Television New Zealand.
TVNZ are bringing the cameras down to Timaru to do some recordings for Praise Be. As part of that recording, they're recording a combined congregation in the Sacred Heart Basilica. They've been informed that the organists are Josh Anderson, and me. The assumption is made is that, unlike the camera operators, production team, musical director, post-production, actors, fill-in Uncle Tom Cobley who are NOT volunteering their services, obviously the local musicians are! Really? What made them think that? Filming an apple in a TVNZ studio for an hour costs thousands of dollars! Having ME perform on their Sunday morning performances gives me nothing!? I wonder if the local accommodation providers are providing free lodging for TVNZ during their stay?
It is unreasonable for TVNZ to ignore the costs incurred in using professional musicians in their recordings, and I know that I shall not be contributing to their programming in the future.
...starting next month!
Following a less-than-useful application for a series of concerts, at least we're able to proceed with one. The local St Vincent de Paul are fundraising for a new building in Timaru and I think an organ concert could provide a chance to share the message with the folks out there and get some hands into pockets. An hour of organ music - a few serious things and a few fun things - as well as a couple of up-and-coming student performers from Timaru. Also today, Carole Kenealy, a Soprano from Auckland has indicated her desire to come down and sing for the concert - in fact she's already gone and booked her tickets! Says she's been keen to sing inside the basilica for a few years now.
As it happens, the local Community Arts Council is seeking to give out some funding for events "after 18 September" - so this falls into that category. St Vincent de Paul are doing the advertising and other promotion, so I've forwarded the details to them.
Any other keen performers who would like to join in an afternoon of great music making? Now would be a great time to make contact.
There's a pretty amazing Pipe Organ in the Sacred Heart Basilica and, following requests from some guitarists, I have inquired about the appropriateness of guitar music in the basilica. It is interested how it is approached by people who have been involved in the two different churches in the parish. Those at St Thomas' Church cannot see anything wrong with having guitars in the basilica; but those from the basilica are vehemently opposed! - in one case, citing writings from Various popes stating that the music must be appropriate for the building.
From Saint Pope John Paul II: Today, the meaning of the category ‘sacred music’ has been broadened to include repertoires that cannot be part of the celebration without violating the spirit and norms of the Liturgy itself. Not all the expressions of music are able to express adequately the mystery grasped in the fullness of the Church's faith. Consequently, not all forms of music can be considered suitable for liturgical celebrations. (Chirograph on Sacred Music, 2003)
Recently, I visited the Catholic Cathedral Parish in Palmerston North, which has a similar building. They have a guitar group, along with other instruments and play some quite "happy-clappy" music - and the congregation seem to enjoy it. (I was hoping for a glorious pipe organ and a choir, as the Musical Director has had plenty of experience in both). Maybe it was only because of school holidays - but the large organ in the gallery remained silent. Pity.
As it happens, there are two weeks at the beginning of July and at August where the 5pm Mass has lost its "organist" and I wonder whether some guitar music might be good for them?