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Thread: Be Ready to Say "Yes" - And Playing in Church

  1. #1

    Be Ready to Say "Yes" - And Playing in Church

    I'm mixing two topics in this one post! I just played in church last Sunday. The original plan was to have me play my arrangement of "Les Berceaux" by Faure for a Lenten service. We had played it last year, so the director just asked me to show up 20 minutes ahead of the service to run it. No problem, especially with a slow piece like this one. But when I showed up, she also gave me a piece for communion that was in concert treble clef. It had a melody and a descant. She asked if I could do it and I said "Yes." Below are the two videos. I was glad to have the 2nd piece because I thought it was a nice effect and added some variety. Therefore, it was good that I often practice reading concert treble (I would have had to at least think twice if it had been in alto clef, although I would have still said "Yes" on a simple piece).

    But the other point is about playing opportunities. The basic rule is: when you get a chance to play, say yes, and be ready to do a good job. That will make you popular with various people who could offer more opportunities for you. In the CG Band I played solos in a lot of unpleasant situations, and I always had a solo or two in my pocket that could be programmed quickly. Band directors LIKE that (Arthur Lehman said much the same thing). Some folks in the band were a little resentful of the number of times I got to play. However, they were folks who did not want to play a solo at noon in downtown Oklahoma City on a concrete patio with no shade, as just one example. They only wanted to play if it was a nice hall, or maybe if it was a nice bandstand outside, and if the temperature was comfortable. That limited their opportunities. So try to stay flexible; keep some solos handy (that are quick for an accompanist/group to work through); keep your chops in reasonable shape; learn to play at least standard bass and Bb treble, and I strongly suggest being able to read concert treble; etc. To me, the rewards were worth it.

    Les Berceaux:

    https://youtu.be/ctA6ncNp85U



    Communion Hymn (sheet music shown below)

    https://youtu.be/WmI7rTCFFwQ




    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
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  2. #2
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    Very nice Dave!

    I’ve always liked playing in church too. When I still played cornet I was used to reading treble clef in concert pitch. Not difficult, just play a note higher than written and add 2 sharps to the key signature (add algebraically if that's the right word).
    Last edited by RickF; 03-24-2022 at 02:35 PM.
    Rick Floyd
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  3. #3
    This made me think about a time I was ask to play in a small brass group for a church service. We had a brief rehearsal before the service and everything was fine. What they neglected to tell us was that the piece had an organ intro and a bunch of organ interludes. So, we had no idea when to play or stop! From the bewildered looks on the faces of the congregation, I think they noticed.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Okay, but there is a problem -- I'm Catholic, and traditionally Catholics don't do instrumental music, other than the pipe organ.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
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    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
    Okay, but there is a problem -- I'm Catholic, and traditionally Catholics don't do instrumental music, other than the pipe organ.
    I didn't know that. The last Catholic service I attended was in 1985 when we visited some friends in VA. It was a contemporary service using guitars, but I don't know if they would have invited a euphonium. They did not have an organ.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    This made me think about a time I was ask to play in a small brass group for a church service. We had a brief rehearsal before the service and everything was fine. What they neglected to tell us was that the piece had an organ intro and a bunch of organ interludes. So, we had no idea when to play or stop! From the bewildered looks on the faces of the congregation, I think they noticed.
    Mike
    Ouch! It's bad enough when I goof up and have to live with it, but I really don't enjoy when someone else makes me look bad!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. #7
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    "traditionally Catholics don't do instrumental music, "

    HMM.... Me thinks Monteverdi and Gabrieli must be looking perplexed from up there upon High

    But you are right, the tradition of instrumental music in the Catholic Church has gradually thinned out somewhat.

    G.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
    Okay, but there is a problem -- I'm Catholic, and traditionally Catholics don't do instrumental music, other than the pipe organ.
    Having been raised catholic, I can say that the Church is cheap. In high school, I played quite a few times with a group in various Protestant churches. They always paid $25-50 per player. The few rimes I was asked by a Cath9olic church, the payment s was apparently eternal salvation, not money.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    Having been raised catholic, I can say that the Church is cheap. In high school, I played quite a few times with a group in various Protestant churches. They always paid $25-50 per player. The few rimes I was asked by a Cath9olic church, the payment s was apparently eternal salvation, not money.

    Mike
    That's not true in our parish; the few times when I have been asked to contribute a euph solo (not in an actual Mass, but in a music program leading up to the midnight Christmas Mass), I was then presented with a $125 check from the music director. Nice, but I would have happily done it for free.

    Of course, I am referring to the post-Vatican II Catholic Church; as only a 17-year convert, I have no experience with the pre-conciliar Church. But the V-II documents that talk about music give "pride of place" to the pipe organ, Gregorian chant, and Renaissance settings. In practice, that "pride of place" is very flexible among dioceses, and perhaps even among parishes within individual dioceses. Having come from a Pentecostal and Southern Baptist background, I have to say that the music in our parish is as dry as the dust that coats the choir loft. I still have my toes in some individual Pentecostal and Baptist congregations where my cousins worship, and because my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired, I play euph solos at special music programs. There are some videos on my YouTube channel.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

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