Why I Hated the Organ When I Was Growing up

The organ stinks, or so I once thought.

When I was a kid, my church always accompanied congregational singing with piano and organ. That was what we used. That’s what was acceptable for worship.

I gravitated toward singing with the piano and pulled away from the organ. Why did I not like the organ, you ask? My mind associated it with the gospel song era. The gospel song era lasted from around A.D. 1870-1960. It includes some of my favorite songs, such as

Jesus Paid It All-Arr. Robert Sterling (favorite arrangement)

and It Is Well arr. Mark Hayes (favorite arrangement) (I’m sharing the Korean arrangement because it was so well performed)

Unfortunately, it also included cheesy songs, such as In the Garden. What does that song actually say? I never really liked singing that song in corporate music. Although, I don’t mind it as much when the King peforms it. . .

The organ playing these songs has never appealed to me. Typically, the organ style for this music uses heavy vibrato and reminds me of being at a ball game or traveling on a merry-go-round. Neither of those mental connections seemed appropriate for church.

My first transcendent experience with organ music occurred in college. During my second semester there, my choir director handed us copies of Durufle’s Requiem. I initially didn’t care for the work, but it quickly grew on me. The organ part of that Requiem is “awesome” in the grandest sense of the word.

I gradually came to the realization that the organ is very versatile. Yes, you can play calliope music with it. You can also use it as a power instrument. Because it is has such a wide range, the organ can rattle your bones with the low notes while the organist goes crazy on the high notes. The electric guitar has nothing on the sheer power and magnificence of the organ.

The organ can also be used for directing your heart to quiet worship. The same low notes that rattle your bones can soothe your soul.

I leave you with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Just ’cause. Enjoy!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons by Peter1936F

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