The Rector writes ‘The story continues… Our first Holy Communion Service was last Wednesday and it went very well. Wearing a visor, I used silver tongs to lift the consecrated host from the Paten into the hands of those receiving. I’m hoping that I will learn from our small Wednesday congregations in order to have a Sunday Holy Communion Service in a couple of weeks. It had been 19 weeks since we had last had Holy Communion together … 19 weeks! It seems unbelievable but that’s the truth. Wednesday March 11th was the last Eucharist attended by parishioners. So it is wonderful that we are back together, even if we are socially distanced. We still need to be so careful though. At the 11am Service in St Mary’s , the Church Wardens are going to stand at each row of pews to tell you when you can leave the church via the Vestry. This is to stop any bottlenecks building up on exiting (my leaving ahead of you last week helped but didn’t eliminate the clustering!) It all feels regimented but do keep remembering why we are being so particular! It is of the upmost importance that we keep the distance between one another so as not to pass on any infection. Some people who are attending church would have been cocooning until very recently so please do remember to keep that space between you—for their sake. As I’m sure you’re sick of hearing, we don’t know if we are carrying the virus or not so always err on the side of caution. Thank you for all your patience and your faithfulness!’
A letter by the renowned American organist and composer Frederick Hohman in the March edition of the journal ‘The American Organist’ provoked a spate of letters in response. His letter was entitled ‘The death of the organ prelude’ and recounted his dismay at his perception that congregations in the United States no longer valued the playing of organ music at the beginning and end of services. In the many visits I have made to church services in Britain and Ireland I find that in general the opposite is true.
The organ prelude just before the celebrant enters provides a moment of calm reflection before worship begins. The postlude at the end of the service can also be reflective, especially if the service is quiet and solemn, or it can be an enthusiastic ‘Amen’ to the liturgy. These pieces are often a kind of personal worship for the organist who is an accompanist for the rest of the service.
We are finding our way as a congregation in these strange times and the question of how we incorporate music in our worship when we cannot sing hymns is occupying the minds of musicians. Organists of the Carrigaline Union met last week to exchange ideas on how best to include the congregations in music-making in this new environment.
Your thoughts and ideas are most welcome and relevant to our discussions. I will be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to contribute as an instrumentalist or solo singer.
For those who miss hymn singing in church may I draw your attention to the website of the Royal School of Church Music www.rscm.org which features a ‘Hymn of the Day’ daily.
087 228 5965
Random Notes CCCL
My first record deck was a Ferguson self-contained unit with a Garrard turntable and a simple two-valve amplifier. It was acquired from a rubbish skip in Bandon sometime in the late 1980’s. The original owner had disposed it at it was broking but an hour’s work with a soldering iron had it up and running again and it gave me several years’ good use.
After 4 months in lockdown, it has just occurred to me that we have 3 record decks in the house. One is a Sharp RP1122 from the mid 1970’s. It originally was part of my uncle’s HiFi system and ended up in our home (via multiple home clear-outs) along with two Celestion Ditton 33 speakers. Unfortunately, the amplifier went missing years ago, so a second-hand Marantz PM4400 was acquired on eBay.
In June of last year, I finally got round to connecting everything up. The speakers were in poor shape. A quick trip to an online speaker parts store and I was able to repair a tweeter (the bit that does the high-pitched sounds) with parts from France. The electronics in both speakers both needed upgrading as a lot of the 1970’s-era components had badly degraded. This took a day’s work.
The result was …. magnificent. Celestion is a reputable speaker manufacturer and it was a joy to bring two 40+ years old speakers back to life. If no-one else is around they can be turned up VERY loud, which is exactly how my Uncle Bob liked to have them!
Unfortunately, the Sharp turntable disagreed with the Marantz amplifier. Another house clear-out left me in possession with a Pioneer PL340 turntable from a friend.
This worked way better than the Sharp and is now our main setup. The Sharp turntable, however, works fine with a small amplifier and two Sony speakers recued from an office clearance at work.
The third record deck is a Pye Super Black Box, the best that money could buy in Dublin in 1957. It has a beautiful French lacquer finish and is awaiting restoration. The amplifier works and I have used it to play tunes from Spotify. Unfortunately, the Garrard turntable is currently kaput and will need work to get it going again. If it proves too difficult, I will take it to the excellent people in AV on Father Matthew Quay. Other items awaiting restoration are 1960’s Philips valve radio (gorgeous sound on FM) from my grandmother’s house, as well as a portable Philips transistor radio from the early 1970’s and a Trio valve short-wave receiver from the same period.
What do we listen to on the turntables?
Both children have developed a taste for vinyl and a lot of good quality second-hand LP’s are available from Bunker Vinyl in Cork city.
Recent acquisitions include a couple of LPs from Ian Dury and the Blockheads , but the collection includes everything from the Clancy brothers, to ELO, The Clash, The Who, Paul Simon and the Wu-Tang Clan!
For the record, I don’t do dumpster diving any more, though I did grab a pair of PC speakers from the electrical waste bin in Raffeen recycling centre three years ago. Those have served my office PC well ever since. The recycling century now explicitly forbids the removal of other people’s rubbish from the site. Spoilsports.