Pipe Organ Thoughts

Easter Organ Pipes
I have, in many ways, dedicated my life to the organ. As a small child I pointed towards the organist at our church and said, “I want to do that.”  Although there have been some bumps in the roads, I have done just that.
I’m playing a little these days, but basically I’m retired from active playing due to physical problems, but my attention to the pipe organ hasn’t diminished.  Having a small studio of students, I can watch their progess with great care. Some of my former students are doing great things in the organ world, even as their training stage continues.
As you read this blog, I will refer to the organ often, no doubt.  I have published compositions (and several as yet unpublished) for the organ, and I continue to write about the organ.  Indeed, if it weren’t for the organ, I’d not have met my wife Sara.
For a few years, I served as Archivist and Historian to the Royal Canadian College of Organists.  During that time, Sara was hired as a summer intern for the College’s office in Toronto. We got to know each other as friends, and in due course of time, were married. (This was the Reader’s Digest version of the story)
Our wedding was described by Muriel Gidley Stafford, the Grand Dame of the College  as an RCCO royal wedding. So many friends and colleagues came to sing loudly and wish us well.  My best friend Paul Grimwood played for us and conducted the choir.
In 2005, the College (RCCO) granted me one of its highest honors – the Honorary Life Membership, of which I’m rather proud. Also, as I was under 40 when I got it, I intend to have free membership for many years to come!
RCCO Crest

Hymn for Elmvale Presbyterian Church

The Decades of our Mission 

 1. We hear our praises echo with love felt round the Earth,

We are renewed, forgiven – God validates our worth!

We’re changed because we’ve been here, profoundly made anew!

We see the world with vision that God’s love filters through.

2. The decades of our mission fulfilling God’s command,

Have changed our singing spirits just as our Maker planned.

The faithful generations have taught in this great land:

“Seek first God’s holy wisdom (kingdom) and righteous, healing hand.”

3. We’ve learned of one who helped on the road to Jericho,

‘Samaritan’ – a watchword for how we love and grow.

We seek to help a stranger, and walk the narrow way –

This place has shown God’s love that we live through ev’ry day!

 4. Our babies are baptised here, the young , they hear the call,

And many blesséd unions shine God’s great love for all.

As we remember loved ones whose final prayers were here,

We know that countless people found God’s compassion near.

5. God’s love is still creating, around us every day,

And Jesus calls us closer in words we sing and pray,

We feel the Spirit moving, our hearts and souls ablaze,

Where all our Alleluias sing universal praise!

 for the tune Aurelia 7676D

Elmvale Presbyterian Church

This hymn was commissioned by Anne Stuttaford (my wife Sara’s Granny, whom I love very much) to honour her friend Ellen MacLean, and Elmvale Presbyterian Church’s Sesquicentennial.

Elmvale is a beautiful little town and the Presbyterian church is a wonderful red-brick structure.  Ellen has been a great friend to Granny – always so kind and she often goes over and above the call of duty.

Granny stayed with Ellen for a while in early 2009 and I talked to Granny about being commissioned to write another hymn, and she thought of this as a thank-you gift for her chum.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and, using the well-known tune Aurelia, I think most congregations could sing it easily.

If you wish to use this hymn, please seek permission from me at loonsong@cogeco.ca.  Everyone one in a while on this blog I’ll offer free hymns for churches to use.  Please do let me know, though, so I can keep track of their use.  If you want to see more of my hymns, check the Hope Publishing web site for their online hymnody section.