Fairy shoes. I thought my mom had fairy shoes. When Mom played the organ, she would slip off her street shoes and put her organ shoes on to play the pedals. Her organ shoes had very pointy toes with tips that curled up slightly. I thought they looked like fairy shoes, although black is not a very fairy-like color.
My sister and I often went with Mom, up to the balcony. We listened to her playing the organ and also her singing. She sang solos often in church, accompanied by my first grade teacher who was the church organist. During one rehearsal, I tripped and fell up the stairs, hitting my head on an old radiator. I cut my head open. As head wounds do, the cut started bleeding profusely. Mom held a wet wash cloth on my head during our 35 mile drive to the nearest emergency room. These were the days of big cars with long bench seats — I sat next to my mom and lay my head down on her lap while my first grade teacher drove. I received a few stitches on my temple that day; the scar is still visible under my hair.
After that trip to the ER, I traipsed up the steps more times than I can count, up to the balcony, to watch Mom play the organ or practice her singing.
Watching an organist play the organ is like watching a carefully choreographed dance. Heels and toes glide gracefully across the pedals; hands and fingers play the keys and change the stops. Many organists also sing along with the hymns they are playing. Organists are the original multi-taskers.
The correlation between church music and organs had been firmly planted in my brain as a little girl. Imagine my amazement when I attended my first major league baseball game and heard an organ playing! Ta-da-da-da-ta-DA! CHARGE! My high school had an organ in the auditorium, and for four years I wondered why. Finally, during baccalaureate, I heard that organ play. And what a surprise to discover my physics teacher was the organist!
After I graduated from high school, I was off to Valparaiso University, where I heard an amazing organist play in the Chapel….
(to be continued)
5 Replies to “Up to the Balcony, Part 1”
The church I went to when I was in my teens was new and of course that meant the organ was new as well. So it didn't really have that grand sound I always associate with organ music.While I was still younger I once heard a piece of organ music that accompanied a popular children's program. It scared me so much and I still can't hear it without shivers running down my back!
Ginny, what nice memories to have. Well, not the hitting your head and stitches part, but those of your mom playing the organ, how she dressed. Very special.
Lovely memories. I especially enjoyed the fact that you thought your mom wore fairy shoes.
Ginny, Hello! Thanks for the comments on my blog. This post caught my eye because I live near Ann Arbor. So funny, I clicked on the link to AA church and I knew before I looked at the bottom that Hile Design had done it. I've freelanced for them over the years when they need an extra hand. They're great. Your blog is very nice. It's nice to meet you!
I had no idea! Do all organists wear organ playing shoes?