Still for such splendid occasions, an organist is required, and I was approached. I was surprised, because I am far down the pecking order of organists here (quite rightly, as all the others are much better than I am), but pleased to be asked. I played for many such ceremonies in the past, before rust began to gather in my joints (and I've passed the half-century mark since I wrote the last post). And though I'm a moderately competent service accompanist, these days I get very nervous playing proper pieces for voluntaries &c, and so generally make a hash of them.
So why did they ask me, then?
The usual organist, an external professional who lives on the south coast, had married a wife and could not come. Or some other reason.
The number one internal organist suddenly had to make a retreat in Canada, and couldn't wait for the last day of term.
The number two internal organist was directing the schola cantorum and preferred not to have to be rushing from one place to another, as he said to me.
The number three was needed to sing in the schola.
So, it was explained to me, that left me, and would I kindly do it?
I was flattered but, yes, you're right, I should have been suspicious.
It turns out that Carlo Curley was on the guest list; a major professional organ recitalist, who describes himself as 'The Pavarotti of the Organ'!
No wonder all the other organists headed for the hills! They all knew about it, but did they tell me? No they didn't, because they knew that if I knew, I too would have found an unbreakable subsequent engagement in Wagga Wagga or the Falkland Islands.
Mr Curley must forgive me if I say that God rushed to the defence of his priesthood and struck the Pavarotti of the organ in the foot, making his attendance at the ordination impracticable. He didn't come. Thank God.
And now I don't know whether to be furious with my colleagues for not telling me, or relieved.
On a happier note, I noticed that the Holy Father initiated the new Vatican news service with a click on an iPad. Good to know that Apple Mac Technology has reached the highest quarters. Catholicism and Apple Mac: an unbeatable combination!