I’d been sent the hymns yesterday afternoon, and I didn’t know one of them at all. I looked it up, it was a modern one – more of a song than a hymn with a flowing bass line, and I had a feeling that it wouldn’t go well on our church organ. So I arrived early, rather expecting not to be able to sight-read it that easily, and that I’d have to spend a bit of time learning it.
When there are a lot of notes and no one knows the tune, it’s easy for the extra bits to get in the way. I spent some time working out a different arrangement, based more on chords, that would sound all right but suit the instrument and be easier to follow. This sounds cleverer than it was. I just left out a lot of notes, basically.
I took it along and chatted for a few minutes to the people who had arrived. Finally, “what time is it?” “Two minutes to eleven”, I was told. “I’d better fill an awkward silence while we wait for the Rector and the rest of the conversation, then” I said as I hastened back to the organ.
It was noticeable that I’d practised in the past week, as I played better than usual. The Rector arrived and came to speak to me. “Everything all right?” she asked. I nodded. “I couldn’t find the words I’d printed out for that new hymn,” she said. “Can you find something you know well for the second hymn instead?”
So, I spent a few minutes looking up the Bible readings and finding something suitable. I did. I’ve already forgotten what it was, but it was fine. I’ve got another funeral to play for on Friday, so will be well practised by then. I can coast along without much effort for weeks afterwards.