Music for Holy Week

Today it happened, at church. One of the youth played a Bach prelude on guitar (from BWV699) at the onset of communion, and when she finished, people applauded. During communion?!

This concerns me.

I am going to play my ultratonic-autoharp arrangement of the spiritual “Were You There?” at a Good Friday service later this week, and now I’m concerned: it’s essentisl that this piece be perceived as the musical offering it is intended to be, rather than a performance. The nature of the story behind the music doesn’t require applause. oh, no, not at all.

I said to my husband after church that I thought I would evaporate if anyone applauded once I’ve finished playing.

I talked with the choir director about it. He didn’t think anyone would applaud, mainly because a small number of people show up on Good Friday. (His concern was more about the small number someone of my calibre would play for, but I’m okay with that. In fact, it feels good.) I was encouraged when he said he has been trying to quell applause during services, anyway (my kind of guy). So before I play, I will position myself to face the cross more than the congregation and hope this helps everyone to focus on the cross instead. Sometimes that, plus a long draw of the playing arm after the last chord, works.

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