Organists behaving badly

Dave Payn

Active Member
Also reminds me of the story of a wedding couple who wanted to come out to the theme from Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves (Everything I do, I do it for you), only to have the organist get it spectacularly wrong and play the old Robin Hood theme ('Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the glen' etc. etc.)

> Church organists behaving badly
> By Suzanne Leigh
> BBC News Online
> A touch of irreverence is creeping into the Sunday service with snatches
> of secular tunes tucked into the gospels.
> According to messages on Christian website organists
> are livening up proceedings with tunes such as the theme from Blackadder.
> Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson
> Do thine ears deceive you or is that the tune from Blackadder?
> There are also hints of congregations colluding - one net contributor
> tells how the organist would be handed a sealed envelope with a tune to
> include.
> The site's co-editor Stephen Goddard stressed: "It's just a bit of fun."
> "It's partly boredom, but church organists are also very, very bright
> highly trained people."
> The tunes - reported to range from the EastEnders theme to Dambusters at
> a Remembrance Day service - are usually disguised and intended to amuse
> only those in the know.
> Matthew Redman, 35, a regular organist at Wells Cathedral in Somerset,
> was inspired by Monty Python to pay homage with the song Every Sp*rm is
> Sacred before Evensong.
> In-joke
> The director of music at Bristol's Colston's Girls' School said: "I'd
> spent the previous evening watching The Meaning of Life with the choir.
> Nobody noticed except those who had watched the video."
> "The whole point about it is that it's an in-joke for the organist and
> choristers."
> Weddings are the prime occasions for a little irreverence.
> It would have been too much to ask of Mr Redman as the congregation
> waited for a (very late) bride to arrive not to break into "Get me to
> the Church on time".
> Organists are also keen to bow to requests.
> Playing for a friend's wedding, Mr Redman treated the congregation to
> Variations Sur La Viper Noir - or the theme from Blackadder.
> Postman Pat
> Postman Pat - would you notice him in church?
> Much to Thomas Breeze's dismay (or relief) his efforts at St Arvan's
> church in Chepstow often go unnoticed.
> This may be just as well since he confesses to including everything from
> Frosty the Snowman at Christmas to Postman Pat's theme and Mary had a
> Little Lamb.
> "Nobody ever notices," the 24-year-old opines. "And sometimes I do think
> that nobody appreciates my art. But it's partly because they're not
> listening and also there is quite a lot of opportunity to disguise
> something."
> But what about the clergy?
> Ship of Fools' co-editor Stephen Goddard says he has yet to notice a
> backlash.
> "I have a very understanding vicar," Mr Breeze understandably adds.
> Stories from the UK suggest an innocent sense of humour within the church.
> "Swing low"
> However, a contributor from the US recounts a worrying example of the
> funeral of a heavy drinker where the organist broke into a rendition of
> "Roll Out the Barrell".
> More recent examples from Down Under tell of St Peter's church in
> Melbourne the day after the Rugby World Cup final.
> "There's an enemy in the house," boomed the vicar in the pulpit, after
> the English organist merrily played his way through Swing Low Sweet
> Chariot.


Staff member
A friend of mine was regularly called upon to play the piano at meetings or Salvation Army officers. Part of his role was to play suitable quiet music at the conclusion of the meetings whilst delegates trooped out of the hall - hence the appearance of "Blackadder", which was actually quite effective. We also had a very moving "Waltzing Mattilda" when we had Australian General Eva Burroughs leading the meeting, complete with the ripple of laughter as people gradually picked up on what he was playing, as it was well-disguised :wink:

Brian Bowen

Active Member
Ray Steadman-Allen told me years ago that in a serious (devotional?) service he performed on the piano a piece he called "Dark Calvary". It was in fact a mushy, slowed-down version of "Light Cavalry".


Well-Known Member
For my graduation ceremony (for which I was playing the Tuba in the quintet), I composed a Prelude and Fugue on the theme from 'Inspector Gadget', in parody of Leon Boellman's 'Suite Gothique'. Was worth it just to see a thousand graduands crease up in unison at the first statement of the theme, while their parents just looked confused... :lol: :lol:



Active Member
At the wedding of Carl Saunders (which we thought would never happen), our brass quintet played an arrangement made by our present BM whilst the register was being signed. It included 'You'll never walk alone' and I'll not turn back'!

Keppler: Duplicate Post Deleted


Active Member
A church I used to attend had an organist with a highly developed sense of the camp and ridiculous, as well as looking like a womble! Consequently during a baptism the party were played to the font with the theme from Titanic, highly embellished.

Another week the clergy party were sent on their way at the end of the service to the theme from the Archers - and us choir folks were struggling to process out in a normal sedate manner!

Rach x

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