Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Church Accompanist

For several years, a wonderful man in our community served as a member of the Church High Council. I think the world of him, and have seen his tireless efforts on behalf of others over the years. Last Sunday he was released from the High Council. This isn't unusual in our church because very few positions in the church could be considered permanent. And then, if there is a problem with their worthiness, anyone could be released from their position. This man had served for many years.

One of the things that most people in this area don't know is that for many years now he has volunteered to play the organ for the Spanish congregation. He wasn't asked to do this, it wasn't a calling. He saw the need, so stepped up and did it. This meant great sacrifice on his part. Not only did he play for their Sacrament meeting, but he also stayed for their other meetings to help play the piano as needed. This meant that in addition to his own congregation's meetings, which last three hours, he was also attending the extra hours at the Spanish branch. Sometimes I think he skipped his own congregation's meetings and only attended the Spanish branch. But this meant he wasn't able to attend church with his own family. I can only remember one occasion when he called and asked me to substitute for him because some family were in town. But unless he was sick, he was there every Sunday, year after year. Now he has other duties and will no longer be able to play for them. Luckily, there is a sister missionary assigned to their branch right now that can play the piano. But when she is transferred, they will have no one.

I started up the piano lessons for the Spanish branch 1 1/2 years ago because they saw the need to get trained pianists. But this has been very slow going. The students don't practice as much as they should. As time went on, most of the students stopped coming. It was a huge time commitment for them, and for us as teachers. Now we are to the point that our teachers are mostly burned out. We are down to two students only now, so I have decided to teach them on my own. My goal is to help them finish the lesson book, but we are only half way through.

This week one of my students finally passed off her first hymn. It is the simplified version, but she played it well. She said that the church leaders have been asking her if she is ready to play for church yet. She and I laughed as we talked about it last night. I told her, "The person conducting will say, 'And now we will have our opening hymn, "I Know My Father Lives". ....then later, "And now we will have the Sacrament hymn, 'I know My Father lives". ....then later. "And now the closing hymn will be, 'I Know My Father Lives". :)

I am doing the best I can to help them progress, but it is very slow going. I volunteered to help play for their meetings if the sister missionary is transferred. I think I could find others also willing to help out. Ideally we would all like them to be self sufficient, but it's just going to take more time.

1 comment:

Nene said...

I used to play for the Spanish branch in our stake that met in our building. It meant that I missed Relief Society, but I didn't mind. One time the bishop announced that he wanted to sing a song with a friend of his that was visiting. I didn't know the song and it was written in Spanish, but I just started playing and by the end of the second line I was pretty much okay for the rest of the song.