Hymns at the piano: not always the last resort!
Chris Fischer, MM, ARCCO

January 20, 10:00 AM (snow date: February 13)
Trinity Lutheran Church
746 Colborne Street (at Oxford)

The piano
Organists have a kind of love-hate relationship with this instrument. We’re encouraged as students to favour the organ as our primary hymn-leading vehicle, and to look for ways to “make it work” on the organ, should the notated accompaniment be intended for something else (e.g., the piano, the guitar, or band or orchestral instruments).

In reality
Sometimes, “making it work” involves too great a compromise, as too much of the composer’s original intention is sacrificed, or “lost in translation”. What to do about this?

What if we were to look at the piano as we do the organ, with different colours and “registration” options to enhance hymn texts?

What if we were to explore a more extensive range of stylistic, rhythmic, and tonal possibilities for a given tune, beyond what is on the page?

What if we were to apply the same creativity to animating or “painting” hymn texts on the piano as we do on the organ?

Some common rhythmic figures, chord realizations, and other ideas will be applied to examples of contemporary and more traditional hymn repertoire, with the aim of inspiring greater richness and variety in leading congregational song from the piano bench.

Let the text be your inspiration, and don’t let the score limit your imagination!

Chris Fischer (they/them) is the Minister of Music at First-St. Andrew’s United Church in London. A pastoral musician, choral conductor, pedagogue, collaborative pianist, and classical tenor for more than 30 years, they studied conducting with Noel Edison and David Stocker, voice with David Falk and Daniel Lichti, organ with Jan Overduin, Michael Burkhardt, Kimberley Marshall, and Patricia Wright, and piano with Terry Kroetsch, Garth Beckett, and Leslie Kinton.