One of the requests I was given the other day is that for the concert (and ONLY the concert, thank God) the choir and I be up front. Since the console is in back (but with the mirror I can still well be seen), I had to make a slight personal adjustment.
I was able to acquire a guest organist yesterday who will play from the back, while I conduct up front. The organist is Mr. Reuel Gifford. Reuel and I go back - WAYYYYYYYYYY back - like about 30 years! You see, in the fall of 1975, I joined the choir of boys and men at Holy Trinity Church in Central Falls, RI, which was directed by Reuel. I was only 11 years old then - singing tenor - YES, tenor, while 12- and 13 year-olds were still singing with the treble boys and 15- and 16-year-old guys were still singing alto. It was through Reuel that I got to learn the really good stuff - Mozart's Ave Verum, Stainer's God So Loved the World, Holst's gorgeous arrangement of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, etc. It was the first time that I had gotten to know a better tune for Away in a Manger (CRADLE SONG, by Kirkpatrick), and the beloved O Little Town of Bethlehem to FOREST GREEN. There was a Gloria by Mozart that still sticks to me to this day. However, I cannot recall which Mass it was from.
Reuel left for Worcester, MA, in the beginning of 1976. His predecessor was Mr. Kevin Valentine, who eventually became my organ instructor for a brief period in 1987. I ceased my lessons upon the birth of my daughter Jessica. In 1988, Reuel came back to RI, where I got to meet him again, not as a chorister this time, but as a colleague and friend. He and I have been friends since. He is currently organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's Church in Providence. The organ there is a three-manual 27-rank Kilgen - probably the best sounding Kilgen in Rhode Island. He also directs a choir there called Pro Cantare.
It is my great pleasure to welcome my good friend and colleague, Reuel Gifford, to the console at Holy Ghost, as part of our concert!