Saturday I provided the music for a naming ceremony for two young children at Hull Unitarian Church. The music was chosen, and some weeks back I used my computer to record an ad hoc choir at the church to lead one of the hymns and the other was from a Unitarian choir. In the ceremony I sat with equipment perched on the organ behind a curtain and pressed the buttons as required. I could see the service leader, who adopted material inspired by that of the British Humanist Association. He and I held back for a while afterwards and joined the large party having a party at a commercial premises.
Then today with the same equipment in place I sat in the same place and delivered a CD as music support for a minister led service on the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Francis David, the first Unitarian bishop of Transylvania. In the later 1500s there was an exercise in religious pluralism from Transylvania in the south to Latvia in the north that predated Western religious pluralism. The Unitarian King John Sigismund, the only ever Unitarian monarch, granted religious freedom to the four main religious groups in his land. After him the four became frozen as such and tenuous in freedom; in Poland the Jesuits once back in power from 1660 destroyed the Socinians in particular (forced to flee, and did: treated worse than Jews) and the Protestants in general. The music included playing a recording from the former organist, and it was as if I was sat behind there playing as the (slightly processed) sound through the speakers had some accuracy to the instrument sat there.
Normally the CD player of the church is at the back of the room and not perched, hidden behind a curtain, on the organ. This is not an equivalence for an organist, then, but actually if a CD is prepared, and the delivery is timely, then it substitutes. The difference is that the 'organist' in a machine does not respond to the congregational singing, so the singers must listen to the music. One hymn most relevant to the occasion, 'Unitarian Saints' was delivered by a Unitarian choir taken from a cassette tape originally and processed before arriving on that CD, but there was no introduction, so I merged a piano introduction in the same key to the choir. Odd, but it worked. I'll be doing more in future services as part of my religious and volunteering efforts, along with others who can play the machines and who pick either ready made or processed CDs (and sometimes tapes). I want to show direct use of MP3s too.
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