As I followed some suggestions, during a morning stroll through YouTube, after viewing an organist handle a Bach piece with flair I found another one with a story much like one I can share.
Many years ago, I’ll bet it’s pushing forty years now, my mother was asked to play for a family friend’s wedding. Mom was organist for about thirty years, on a beautiful two-manual Casavant Frères instrument, at Valleyfield United Church.
One of the requests was for the Wedding Processional from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” which, as our YouTube friend explains, was not available on sheet music until fairly recently. Because this was not a drive-by wedding of people few – if any – in the congregation knew, as was too often the case even then, Mom was determined to transcribe the music.
Mom was a very good organist but the fact is her formal musical training was in piano so it seems pretty remarkable to me, in hindsight, how well she accomplished this task of bringing Richard Rodger’s grand march to life. (She ended at the part where it bridged into “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria”. 🙂 )
It was painstaking work. I can’t remember precisely how it all came together but I do recall Mom sitting at the piano, playing a few chords, then pencilling them onto a blank sheet of music. She used the vinyl disc of the soundtrack which, I would guess, she recorded onto a cassette so she could have it near the piano – and that’s how this favour began to be carried out.
Although I wasn’t at the wedding I did hear her rehearse the music on the organ a few nights before and it sounded great to me!
Fast-forward twenty-five or so years and I found, in my friend Jim, someone besides me who could sing the entire Sound of Music soundtrack from memory. While we did so with much more camp than devotion it indicated a shared affinity we had with the story and the music.
Later still I learned that a friend of friends, who had been married in his youth before eventually ‘coming out’, had been betrothed when his bride marched down the aisle to someone else’s version of this same music.
To think this all started this morning with someone on Facebook posting a YouTube video of an organist playing a hymn written by Bach!