Yesterday was my first Sunday back at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church as the organist/choir director, after my four-month sabbatical. It was “Homecoming Sunday” and the start of the new church season, and a chance for members to make an appearance in church, and we had quite a number of visitors. I was surprised at how easily I fell into the rhythm of playing for the service. It is so ingrained, that I could almost do it in my sleep.
We had a combined appearance by the Chancel Choir (which I conduct regularly) and the Gospel Choir. Helen Turner-Thompson, their regular director, has other obligations on the first Sunday of the month, so I played and conducted Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” for the group. It’s a number we have done many times before, but it always gets a good reaction from the congregation. I played small pieces for the prelude and organ offertory, but played the DuprÈ B Major Prelude for the closing voluntary. There is no way around itóit’s hard, but an amazing piece.
After church I was talking to a number of members, and one of the older ladies said to me, “I think that I could hear that organ saying, ‘I’m glad Tim’s back.'” That was my general feeling, too. I realize how much playing the organ means to me, and the fantastic amount of pleasure it brings, not just to me, but to many other people. That I can do it even as well as I do, and to have that be meaningful to others is indeed a gift from God.