September 2016


UHTS collected works

Jonathan Pipe and me
Hazel Hall

leaking bellows...
re-training ancient
lungs and voices

In this tiny building in a waning hamlet, I'm running through hymns for the service. I've taken on the role of organist to save the locum priest and congregation from tyranny of the ghetto blaster. Pedals are my most pressing problem. Not that they'll be used much, because most are out of tune. We have three organs here, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, all donated. I play the Ghost. Both the others have passed their use-by dates and there's no money for repairs.

While practising each hymn, sourced from the popular TV show Songs of Praise, I recall last Sunday's service in the city. Every line of liturgy was intoned by the priest, who had a beautiful, tuneful voice. Led by esteemed choirmaster Jonathan Pipe, the choir, all music students on scholarship, sang like angels. Both anthem and psalm were exquisite, as was the majestic organ voluntary that transported us out of the church.

At morning tea I was introduced to the great man "as fellow musical director". Red-faced, I explained that there are only ten regulars in our congregation.

gin on tonic...
celebrating twelve
Christmas singers