Last weekend I walked into church and the normal organist hadn't shown up so I was asked to sub at the last minute. Maybe I should say "regular" rather than "normal" because I’m not sure I like the implication of not being a “normal” organist though by the end here you may agree that I am not normal.
I’d never played those particular hymns before but luckily they’re all kind of the same and I managed to thunk my way through them without too much trouble. Someone said the closing prayer, everyone said "amen" and I started into the postlude music just as is customary. So far so good? Everyone with me so far?
However, as I started to play my book was having trouble and the dumb thing kept closing on me (those cold drafts in the room probably) so I had my little black purse and I quick in between phrases stuck it up on the music ledge to hold the book open.
I was playing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” and just as I got to the third line my purse slipped off of the ledge and fell onto the keyboard. But not just any keyboard, the one in the chapel happens to be an electronic version, not a real piano or organ, with all the fancy buttons and demos and features and as my purse fell on the way down it hit some mystery button that threw the whole piece into a Samba-tastic tune--chunky drums, cymbals and everything. You ain’t heard “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” until you’ve heard it go Solid Gold.
Of course the odd thing was that the noise of people getting up to leave was loud enough and it was all so strange that it took me a little longer to react than normal—I was playing along until it kind of filtered into my brain, "What on earth is that noise?" but about the time every head in the place whipped around to look at the keyboard to see who was responsible for such blasphemy I realized that “Hey! That crazy sound is coming from me!”
So there I am, with the funky "Chaka chaka ching bumpa chaka chaka ching" thing going along with the hymn as I played. I finally realized what had happened but I had no idea what I’d done to make all that irreverent noise so all I could think was “Shut it down! Oh shut it down quick!”
In the panic of the moment it took me a second to find the emergency shut off valve—if it had taken much longer Plan B would have dictated me whipping off my shoe and whacking away at the instrument with the heel of my patent leather. There was silence for a quick second then the place busted up. I had teenagers giving me the thumbs up sign and people were laughing--and not really in a holy way.
I didn't bother to finish the song, what little spirituality there had been left with the first clank of the cymbals, so I abandoned my post and I slinked out of the chapel very red and embarrassed as best I could.
At least I'm probably free from getting another invitation to sub at the keyboard anytime soon.
Susan from Gresham, Oregon has won this week's Saturday giveaway and walks away with a customized photo cosmetic case from Bagettes--lucky her!