Note: This post has been revised upon the suggestion of a reader. Additions to the original post are made in red.
Church organists, in
some many, many places, seem to have the worst gig in town. In my limited experience, the pay must be is miserable (if they are paid at all) and many, many of them never, ever receive a round of applause.
Every year I attend midnight mass with Elysha and a couple of our friends, and every year the poor organ player plays her heart out, starting with Christmas music thirty minutes before the service starts and continuing throughout the service, switching from organ to piano then back to organ.
But never a single round of applause. Not even a few words of acknowledgement from the preacher man.
I've experienced a similar situation at another local church, and this was the case in every church that I attended as a child (three in all).
This is certainly not the case for all churches (as I have learned the hard way), but for at least some, the organist seems to be unjustly ignored. Perhaps these organists prefer to remain unrecognized, but even so, it feels wrong to me.
I've also been told (and church doctrine as it appears on the Internet bears this out) that Catholic organists are never applauded.
That, my friends, is a lot of organists. I may have assumed a little too much in my original post (since some organists are apparently treated brilliantly), but do you have any idea how many Catholic churches there are?
I did the research. There are 68,293,869 Catholics in the United States (22% of the U.S. population), and 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide. In the United States alone, there are 17,644 Catholic churches.
That is a lot of organists. 22% of the organists, if population roughly equates to number of organists, and that doesn't include the many other churches where organists go unrecognized as well.
It's not all the organists, thank goodness, but it's a lot.
Are there any other musicians in the world that don't receive applause after playing?
I don't think so.
Ignoring these musicians never feels right to me, and I'm not sure why we don't applaud them for their effort and skill.
Perhaps there is an assumption that God doesn’t like to share the limelight.