This afternoon I had the great pleasure of attending an informal organ program put on by the American Guild of Organists, Toledo Chapter; but it wasn't really informal at all. The organists were performing on the Toledo Museum of Art’s Historic Skinner Organ, in the fabulous Peristyle. My Aunt Margaret (who, by the way is 99 years old!) is a member of the Guild, and has performed on the Skinner Organ many times through the years. I’m visiting her for a few days and this concert was just one of the items on the “Things To Do” lists she had ready. Of course I jumped at the chance to attend a concert in the Peristyle to hear this organ.
My Aunt said that there may only be one or two organists, or more, she just didn’t know. The organists from the Guild could sign up to participate and play an instrument that is normally unavailable to them. We were please to find there were six organists on the program! And it was a varied program, from Gershwin to Bach to Sousa to Grieg, and other composers I wasn’t familiar with.
It was a wonderful concert!! All the organists played beautifully and the sound was sooo lovely. And then, partway through the performance I felt the warmth that I’ve come to know means that the Holy Spirit is moving around (all those flames, you know!) and yet again I knew that we were all in the presence of God. I don’t know if anyone else felt it, but I did. The entire program was but one moment in time, shared by the organists who offered their gifts and the 80 or so of us in the audience offering our ears and our hearts. Presented in the universal language of music we all heard & understood. We were together in those moments, and they will never be again. It was a special time, shared by strangers. But that is what God does… we are brought together, share an experience, and go our different ways; yet we are all touched by those moments and are not the same as when we walked in the door. What a wonderful outcome on a Saturday afternoon.