Wednesday, January 7, 2015

And a number of partridges in a grove of trees, too

I pose a question of no consequence to anyone as I lie here resting and many pieces of music did I play during the month of December?

It is bound to be a very inexact count since I don't have all the artifacts necessary for the reconstruction. But let's try, shall we?

Now in a regular weekend at church I play four services. The Saturday evening service only has a prelude, postlude, four hymns (all chosen by the congregation at the time) and a doxology.  Seven pieces. Sunday morning at 8am features a prelude, opening hymn, meditation improvisation, solo anthem, prayer response, offertory, closing hymn, and postlude. That's eight more. None of these pieces is likely to be the same as any for Saturday night. Then there is the 9 o'clock service. Usually this consists of about six praise songs (with the band). At 10:30 we have the same line up as 8, except with a full choir and an additional middle hymn (nine more). So, 7+8+6+9=30 pieces, more or less. Not including any rehearsals (which probably means I played at least 8 of those pieces at least twice.)

Ok, 30 a morning times four. 120 pieces of music at church. Don't forget Christmas Eve, now!

I need the bulletins for that one. Well, I can take a wild guess. I'll spare you the calculations.
5pm service:10
7pm service: 11
11pm service:8

I'm not going to break it down into soloists, band, choir, congregational hymns, organ solo pieces, and so on.

However, I just realized that two of those Sundays were special music Sundays. On one of them, at the 10:30 service, the choir sang seven anthems. (Let's add five pieces to our total; take away a couple for no organ offertory and maybe one fewer hymns--I don't think so now, but I'll be conservative anyway.) And the 9am service the following week was a musical with 17 musical cues (I had to know that as I played for all of them), at least 10 of which count as full pieces, and the others represent smaller bits of pieces. Let's say 12, so we'll add six more to that week's count. So, 120+5+6+----Christmas eve=29      total from church services=160

Now we move into the concerts. Children's Chorus Winter Concert: ----15
They sang with the symphony, too, but I was replaced by an orchestra (imagine!). They sang at the country club; I played (a mere five pieces, there.) Also played a short gig for the Rotary Club; the Chorale sang (three pieces) and, to make up the balance of the time, I played a couple of carols for singing and improvised a piece at the instigation of the impresario. Six more.  total, 26.

Mind you, we aren't including rehearsals here. This is just stage time in front of an audience or before a congregation. If we add the rehearsals, we can easily double, if not triple, the total. I'm not adding any parties, either. There weren't so many this year, but it still adds up.

I must be leaving out a gig or two....

Finally, the New Year's Eve concert at the Virginia, which involved The Chorale singing 14 pieces of music. I also played (memory don't fail me now) 6 pieces on the Mighty Wurlitzer before the show and during intermission, also three more for the sing-along, plus Auld Lang Syne at the end. That's 10 on the organ, so a total of 24 pieces for the concert. I think that's a record low, actually. I didn't play for the other act of the evening, an unaccompanied barbershop quartet (they were quite good).

Add in a couple of funerals and a wedding that week also, and you have the month of December.

(let's say about 18 more for those, ball park)

So I'm coming up with....228 different pieces of music (including different arrangements of the same tune) and some repetition in the church services (in which I think I left out all those doxologies...oh well)

It's a low number, and in no way represents the frenzy of activity that was actually experienced at the time (remember those rehearsals? Heck, let's just double the number) and does not include any practice time on my part, or the pieces I recorded for Most of the improvised piano pieces, by the way, were recorded in October. Sorry. It's why they exist, though.

I could also break them down by category, as in number of accompaniments, solo pieces, number of singers, instrumentalists, and instruments I played, but I'm not an accountant and this post has already reached sufficient ridicularity. If we totaled up every time I played any piece of music during the month for any purpose whatever, including repetitions, I'm sure we'd be up over 600. But that's just a wild guess.

Let's just say I played a lot of music last month and my fingers are tired.

By the way, this year's recipient of the Most Annoying Carol Award goes to "Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas" which I heard 6 times before Thanksgiving, mostly at the grocery store.

Also, the record for most verses of Silent Night played during a 24 hour period still stands at 25, from the year before the coming of the Worship and Life Center in 2006, when we had four Christmas Eve Services, and Christmas Day was a Sunday. (This doesn't count any rehearsal verses either.)*

*We actually sang Silent Night on Christmas Day, too. I have no idea what our pastor was thinking.

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