Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's HERE! Our new piano; on praying musically

This is it...the online catalog image of the exact model of piano that was given to our congregation this week (for those in the piano know, it's a Kawai RX-3, 6'1" professional grand piano). I played it last night, and I was entranced. (Not that I'm a pianist...far from it! But I can play enough to test-drive it.) It sounds the way a piano ought to sound in a church sanctuary. There's a wide dynamic range. It sounds full and rich in the bass and delicately glorious in the high treble. Just...well, wonderful, and about as perfect as a human-made instrument can sound.

There's just something holy about being alone in a dark sanctuary with a good musical instrument, praying musically, that brings a musician closer to God. And that includes singing, at least for me, since that's the instrument I'm most trained on and for which I have the most natural talent. But the combining of sound and the heritage of our faith's expression (in Scripture and hymnody) is unlike anything else for me. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to pray in this way.

In the words with which we will close the first hymn on the Sunday we dedicate this wonderful new gift,
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always

(from When in Our Music God Is Glorified, text by Fred Pratt Green)


SingingOwl said...

Oooh, how lovely. I wish I could sit silently in the back and just lissten.

LoieJ said...

Sounds like a heavenly experience. And don't put down your God Given Talent!

BTW, this comment is coming up under a different blogger identity name, but I'm the same ol' PS. I messed up when I switched to new blogger.

Psalmist said...

Thanks, both of you, for the kind comments.

P.S., I mean what I say about piano playing. It's like a musical learning disability. I can still play the pieces I slaved over to pass my piano and organ juries in college, years ago. Not well, but get through them. The problem is that nothing ever carried over. It's like having had to relearn every bit of technique I ever developed, for every new piece I was assigned. It was the darnedest thing my profs had ever seen. And talk about frustrating to me! Even today, I very rarely play in public. Today, however, I did "private hearings" for the church's pianist and for my own voice student (who had to miss worship this morning and thus hadn't heard the instrument before she came for her lesson this afternoon). That's the closest I've come to playing in public since a "minors" recital in college. I got through my two short pieces for folks today, and I'm glad, because especially in the case of the pianist, she needed to be able to hear at least a little bit of how the instrument sounds to the rest of us (behind the keyboard is the toughest place to really hear an instrument). But please believe me: I have virtually zilch natural talent for keyboard instruments. Every bit of ability I have, was very dearly bought in my younger years. It's a tool for me as a singer, conductor, and composer. It is not a gift which others are usually blessed to hear. I'm OK with that. As our pastor reminded us (through St. Paul) this morning, we need both eyes and ears (as well as feet and hands and noses and all the other parts) to function well as the body of Christ. This church needs me to be their "psalmist," not another pianist. We have a great one of those already!