By Stacey Schloo
Being the parish musician at Grace Lutheran Church has been a great experience, even in this short time so far. When I was asked to fill in during the interim last May, I had no idea it would lead to working here in this more permanent capacity. I have felt so welcomed and appreciate and I feel quite blessed to be managing the music for this friendly church.
On any given week, I am likely planning the music for upcoming services and digging through assorted piles of music, either my own at home or from the choir loft. It is always a bit like a treasure hunt to sort through the filing cabinets and drawers looking for that next song to add to a future service. I also have been in contact with several of my piano teachers from my youth as well as the professors at my college to thank them for the wide range of music they encouraged me to learn and for their input into my musical career. I also spend time communicating with the pastor and the other people involved with planning in order to coordinate the upcoming seasons of the church, including suggesting liturgy, choosing the hymns to coordinate with each week, and accommodating for special days and services.
And let’s not forget about practicing! As I tell my students, even teachers have to practice! It is a real delight to play such a beautiful piano and organ, polishing up piano solos and working out choir parts for the weeks ahead. Speaking of the choir, I also run the choir once a month, and would like to remind everyone that anyone is welcome to join practice on the third Sunday of any month, to sing in the fourth service of the month. We usually learn one or two hymns for the regular service, and also put some time in on special pieces for upcoming Holy Days. Currently we are working on a choral piece for Easter, of course, and will be doing special music here and there going forward when we have a piece ready to present. I am always looking for soloists too, if there is anyone who would like to sing a favourite hymn or maybe play it on another instrument. The acoustics of the church are such that a violin or flute would be a real treat.
You’ll want to mark your calendar’s for Mother’s Day, as we will be having a special guest musician joining the service that day. It will be a lovely treat for the mothers and grandmothers and anyone who appreciates music! I must keep it a surprise, but can promise you will enjoy it!
In February I learned a few new things about our pipe organ too, which I thought you might be interested to learn about as well. Out of all of the organs that the Bruce Cross Company services, ours is the only one that has an irregular temperament. No, that does not mean it gets grumpy, but rather, that not all the keys that one could play in sound the same. It is a tribute to a time gone by, built to very exact specifications to meet the requirements of what is called the “Young temperament”, which builds the intervals off of a more pure mathematical ratio in order to achieve much more resonance in certain keys. This means that it cannot be played with other more modern instruments though, except for choirs, who are versatile with pitch than an instrument locked into certain tuned notes. I will try not to bore you with the science of it here, but if you are interested in the topic, do let me know and I can suggest some reading material that will explain it a little more.
Overall, being the music director keeps me both busy and happy, and surrounded by what I love most- music! It is my joy to share that music with others and bring some small inspiration to others’ lives with it. Thank you for your kindness and support, and I look forward to a great year ahead at Grace Lutheran.