The following article is appearing in the Third Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh's newsletter, "The Spire" this weekend.
It may not seem like news that organists tend to be nerds, but what you may not be aware of is what associative nerds we are. The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Guild of Organists is 300 members strong and very active. Each month we gather to fellowship, eat, support each other, and of course gawk at various organs. This past month we had an “organ crawl” in which three of the guild’s chapters came together to spend the day in Greensburg traveling to six churches and hearing recitals on each of the organs. We rented a school bus to get to the venues, and there was much merriment on that score. Some of the members commented that they hadn’t been on a school bus in a very long time. I assured the bus driver that I didn’t have gum. At the end of the trip the driver complimented us on our good behavior! Organists have been known to get rowdy, you know.
The trip was very well thought out, with a large souvenir program, several fine organists to play for us, and a variety of programs at the varied places of worship which included a college chapel, and Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Two of the programs were short worship services, and it was at the last of the evening, at the Presbyterian church, that I will always remember the sound of all of those organists singing the hymns. It may have been helped by the acoustic, but organists can really sing!
The college chaplain used his short homily to be thankful for the role that music plays in worship and thank the organists. Although there are Guild chapters all over the country, I think ours is unique for size and activity, and I am thankful for this group that is unique to Pittsburgh.