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Thread: what to do about pew-talkers during Prelude and Postlude

  1. #1
    Junior Member Mirabilis's Avatar
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    what to do about pew-talkers during Prelude and Postlude

    Often during postludes congregations try to shout over the organ. It's quite irreverent and just unacceptable behavior but it's getting more common all the time.

    Not much anyone can do except just keep on plugging(playing a postlude).

  2. #2
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    I think it's a pretty good sign of a healthy church when people want to fellowship, even loudly, after the quiet intensity of worship, so I think it's best to just go with the flow. In fact, I've pretty much done away with the big bold postludes and instead I play another stanza or two of the closing hymn, perhaps making a little improv on it, or perhaps modulating into another one of the day's hymns, but keep it pretty low-key. No use trying to compete with or out-shout the enthusiastic talkers. When I used to play in a larger church, I could get away with playing louder postludes because the organ sound wasn't so concentrated, but in the current 200-seat sanctuary, organ music at ff pretty much dominates the space.

    I'd rather people leave the service grateful for the music they heard rather than racing for the door to get away from it!
    John
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    Church: Allen MDS-45 ........ at last!
    Home: Allen MADC-420 ...........finally!
    Shop: More organs than I can count.... some working, many not!
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  3. #3
    I think John has it right. Hopefully prelude time is better as they are theoretically preparing for worship. In any case there doesn't seem to be much point in trying to fight it.

    mike
    If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

  4. #4
    Senior Member davidecasteel's Avatar
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    Once in a while, our Senior Pastor actually begins the service and gives his announcements before the Prelude is played. That way, the congregation is seated already and quiet. During the Prelude, the candles on the Communion Table are lit, signifying the formal start of worship. Maybe once a month this happens. The Postlude, though, does not have any means of keeping the crowd quiet.

    We have 3 morning worship services, with only a meager 15 minutes between each (often less), so it's pretty much pandemonium with folks trying to get out at the same time others are trying to get in. The newcomers have gathered in the Narthex and the hallways, and they do visit with each other before the service in those places. On normal Sundays we have probably 500-800 worshippers in the services, so a lot of people are moving around. We have enough seating to handle everyone with just 2 services except for special occasions (Easter and Christmas, e.g.) but we have 3 full sessions of Sunday School that everyone is locked into (have you ever tried to get anyone to change SS classes?) so we have to have 3 services, too--they run parallel with the classes and folks have chosen their service based on what SS class they attend. It is a very inflexible arrangement, unfortunately, that keeps the church from doing a lot of things (one of which is having one of the 3 services be a strictly "traditional" one--the people who would like to attend such a service are distributed among all 3 SS class sessions, so nothing will happen).

    David

  5. #5
    Junior Member Fettler's Avatar
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    Yeah, no use fighting it. Though just playing the hymn over again is hardly going to give the organist the incentive to challenge him or herself by learning new pieces or maintaining a certain standard. However, if all we have to play are hymns (which is, after all, a doddle) it actually offers us organists the chance to be like normal people: instead of spending Saturday evening slaving over the organ rehearsing for Sunday, we can go out on the lash like everyone else and partake heavily in the falling down water. Yeah, I like it! Stuff the congregation, stuff the tricky postludes, and stuff the organ too. Lets get out there people!

    Best wishes,
    Fettler

  6. #6
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Well, I'm speaking as a small-church organist and not a highly-trained one either. And yes, eliminating the fancy postlude takes away a moment of performance that many organists look forward to and work hard to offer a worthy piece. But the postlude is not the primary reason that people come to church, at least not in the typical smallish American church. If we organists insist on getting our moment in the sun even when nobody is listening and they're really wanting to visit with friends, we're hurting ourselves and nobody else. I wouldn't go so far as to partake in the falling down water on Saturday night, though! I might not even be able to get through a simple hymn if I didn't have all my wits about me on Sunday morning.

    OTOH, an organist who can play an awesome prelude every Sunday, who enjoys the preparation that goes into it, who has an instrument that is worthy of the music and a congregation who appreciate it should by all means do it as often as possible!
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 ........ at last!
    Home: Allen MADC-420 ...........finally!
    Shop: More organs than I can count.... some working, many not!
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  7. #7
    I have people chatting at both preludes and postludes. The prelude chatter is usually relatively quiet, and the postlude chatter is generally louder.

    My preludes are quiet to medium; postludes are medium to loud. I don't fight the chatter. As someone said, fellowship is too important to try to challenge or deter it.

    If I have something that I want people to listen to, I use it as a prelude, often having to tone down the volume, but that's ok. Postludes - people are chatting and leaving. I've opted to improvise on the last hymn. Those are gradually becoming better and more interesting - able to modulate a bit, too. People enjoy leaving the sanctuary, humming one of the tunes that we sang that morning.

    So I have two different challenges. The prelude challenges me to prepare and present "literature"; the postlude challenges me to prepare my own improvisation / arrangement of a hymn. That suits me fine, and I have had no complaints from the congregation or any of its committees.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Fettler's Avatar
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    But why bother with a prelude either? I don't want or need my 'moment in the sun' I get more pleasure playing theatre organ music on my organ at home anyway. So I guess I am showing off then? Well, perhaps you have convinced me to stop wasting time and energy on these fancy postludes. I'll just play any old sh*te like most bog-standard amateurs do. And the pew talkers can make as much racket as they wish.

    Lesson for today: be like water and take the path of least resistance and do the bare minimum required.

    Best wishes,
    Fettler

  9. #9
    I wouldn't go that far. Sometimes it takes some discernment to know how best to serve and how to define our goals. It helps to keep in mind that we serve our Savior and His people. We want to give our best, but it isn't about us.

    mike
    If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

  10. #10
    Senior Member james's Avatar
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    I think the postlude should be background music only for a short time since people are going to visit regardless. Some of the church people they only see at church, and the ones who play are to serve the Lord, and help in the worship which is over when the postlude starts.

    I noticed the organist who plays for large church that is on TV in my home town played a fancy postlude this AM with the pipe organ on Full organ and way too loud. People were yaking away before the TV cameras were turned off. Now this same church has no Prelude of any kind.

    Years back when I played in a main line church a prelude was required and was expected to last shy of ten minutes, and the postlude was sometimes playing one stanza of the last hymn of one of our own choosing at a lower volume than when the church was singing.
    Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
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    Wurlitzer 4100A
    Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


    Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

    Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
    Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
    Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

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