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An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: Norm Biss (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: May 11, 2003 03:20PM

I am 64 years old. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I found an old postcard in our attic, on which was written a poem. At that time, the postcard was perhaps 20 or 30 years old. I remember the poem verbatim, but the postcard is long gone. If anyone remembers ever seeing this poem, I would be very interested in contacting them, because I would like to preserve this poem for posterity. The style is somewhat in the manner of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but I cannot find it anywhere. I am not even sure what the title is, but think it is: "A drunk in Church on Sunday Morn".

The preacher in the village church,
one Sunday morning said:
"Our organist is ill today
will someone play instead"?

An anxious look came o'er the face
of every person there,
as eagerly they watched to see
who'd fill the vacant chair.

A man then staggered down the aisle,
who's clothes were old and torn;
how strange a drunkard seemed to me
in church on Sunday morn.

But as he touched the organ keys,
without a single word,
the melody that followed
was the sweetest ever heard.

The scene is one I'll ne'er forget,
as long as I may live,
and just to see it o'er again,
all earthly wealth I'd give.

The congregation all amazed,
the preacher, old and gray,
the organ and the organist
who'd volunteered to play.

And when the Service ended,
not a soul had left their seat,
except the poor old organist,
who started toward the street.

Along the aisle and out the door,
he slowly walked away;
The Preacher rose and softly said,
"Good brethern let us pray".


I would really appreciate any feedback on this. It is possible that it could be British in origin.

Thank You
Norm Biss
Erie, Pa.


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: May 11, 2003 08:38PM

it is said to be from
A.B.C. Community Music Book No. 5 p 22 # 187 (Lamb) 1'6d 1931

- from Australia ?!

you can find it here :

[henrietta.liswa.wa.gov.au:90] />
there is one more stanza ... the last one :

The scene was one I'll ne'er forget as long as I live,
And just to see it o'er again all earthly wealth I'd give.
The congregation all amazed, the preacher old and grey,
The organ and the organist who volunteered to play.




......................


The Volunteer Organist" -


The preacher in the village church one Sunday morning said:

"Our organist is ill today, will someone play instead?"

An anxious look crept o'er the face of ev'ry person there

As eagerly they watched to see who'd fill the vacant chair.



A man then staggered down the aisle, whose clothes were old and torn

How strange a drunkard seem'd to me in church on Sunday morn,

But as he touched the organ keys, without a single word

The melody that followed was the sweetest ever heard.



The scene was one I'll ne'er forget as long as I live,

And just to see it o'er again all earthly wealth I'd give.

The congregation all amazed, the preacher old and grey,

The organ and the organist who volunteered to play.



Each eye shed tears within that church, the strongest men grew pale,

The organist in melody had told his own life's tale,

The sermon of the preacher was no lesson to compare

With that of life's example, who sat in the organ chair.



And when the service ended, not a soul had left a seat,

except the poor old organist who started toward the street

Along the aisle and out the door he slowly walked away,

The preacher rose and softly said: "Good brethren, let us pray,"



The scene was one I'll ne'er forget as long as I live,

And just to see it o'er again all earthly wealth I'd give.

The congregation all amazed, the preacher old and grey,

The organ and the organist who volunteered to play.


more info - and bio
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: May 11, 2003 08:57PM

if it is a song, published in 1893,
words by Wm. B. Gray ( Wm. B. Glenroy) , and music by G.L.S. Spaulding

you can read the sheet music here
( from the The Lester Levy Collection of Sheet Music ) :

[levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu] />
and hear it here :

[www.mudcat.org] />
apparently there is a similar poem by Sam Walter Foss
( I have not checked it) - but the one you mention is by Gray and
Spaulding, for sure


Spaulding :

George L. Spaulding
1864 - 1921

George L. Spaulding, one of the most facile writers of music for pianoforte of the last fifty years, passed away June first after a short illness, at his home in Roselle, New Jersey. Mr. Spaulding was born December 26, 1864, at Newburgh, New York. He studied piano with local teachers. When he was sixteen he moved to Brooklyn, where he studied harmony for a short time with an organist of that city. Since that time he has been entirely self-taught. For many years he was in the music publishing and selling business, first as a music clerk, and then in partnership with others.

His first adventures in musical composition were in the form of popular songs. Among these were the Volunteer Organist, Two Little Girls in Blue and others which had very large sales at the time.

It was discovered, however, that he had a splendid talent for writing simple pianoforte pieces with well defined melodies and effective harmony. These he turned out in great number, among his most popular being, Sing, Robin, Sing - Pretty Little Song Bird, Airy Fairies, Child's Good Night, Dollie's Dream, June Roses, Just a Bunch of Flowers , Mountain Pink.

His Tunes and Rhymes for the Playroom Souvenirs of the Masters, Well Known Fables Set to Music are among the most widely used collections of easy pianoforte pieces in book form. Two little operettas for children, A Day in Flowerdom and The Isle of Jewels have placed Mr. Spaulding in the front rank among writers of juvenile entertainment material. His wife, Jessica Moore, a talented poetess, wrote many of his verses.

Mr. Spaulding's works have served an important purpose in juvenile education. Fortunately they were of a nature and of a quantity which will make this felt for many years to come. His elementary technical books have also made an interesting place for themselves. By far the greater majority of his works have been published by the Theo. Presser Co.

The Etude Magazine


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: rikki (---.wc.optusnet.com.au)
Date: May 11, 2003 09:01PM

The postcard may have been one of these 'Bamforth's Songcards' -

[www.sjones41.freeserve.co.uk] />
- both the "Volunteer Organist " and "If you please Miss, Give me Heaven"
(bottom of the page) are listed. Although both cards are said to be currently unavailable, it may be worthwhile emailing the site for more information.

rikki.


on Gray
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: May 11, 2003 09:08PM

some of Gray songs :

"The Volunteer Organist."
"Oh, Mister Austin."
"The Mother of the Girl I Love."
"The Church across the Way."
"When You Know the Girl You Love Loves You."
and

She Is More to Be Pitied Than Censured
1898
by Wm. B. Gray,

At the old concert hall on the Bow'ry,
'Round a table were seated, one night,
A crowd of young fellows carousing,
With them life seemed cheerful and bright,

At the very next table, was seated
A girl who had fallen to shame,
All the young fellows jeered at her weakness,
'Till they heard an old woman exclain;

CHORUS
She is more to be pitied than censured,
She is more to be helped than despised,
She is only a lassie who ventured,
On life's stormy path, ill advised.

Do not scorn her with words fierce and bitter,
Do not laugh at her shame and downfall,
For a moment just stop and consider,
That a man was the cause of it all.

There's an old fashioned church round the corner,
Where the neighbors all gathered one day,
While the parson was preaching a sermon,
O'er a soul that had just passed away,

'Twas this same wayward girl from the Bow'ry,
Who a life of adventure had led,
Did the clergyman jeer at her downfall?
No, he asked for God's Mercy and said,

( chorus again )


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: Norm Biss (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: May 12, 2003 12:42AM

I must say that I am flabbergasted. I learned that as a little boy (I had forgotten the last verse, but as soon as I saw it, i remembered it.), and it touched me so much that I have never forgotten it.

I don't know how you people on this list find these archaic things, because I used every search word and phrase I could think of in my quest.

That you could have found it so soon, is amazing!

When I was in school, we had to memorize a lot of poetry, and I can still quote the majority of H.W. Longfellow's works.

I was born in 1939, and my father was 52 years of age when I was born. He had a lot of things like the aforementioned post cards in the attic. I would love to have all those old things, today.

I want to sincerely thank all of you for the time and effort put forth to satisfy and old man's wishes.

Thank you so much!

Norm Biss
Erie, Pa.


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: john ahearne (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: March 31, 2004 06:58PM

The song is probably called " THE VOLUNTEER ORGANIST" . As a follower of country and western music, I found that it could be sung to the music of the country song "The blackboard of my heart"


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: russ (---.olypen.com)
Date: April 02, 2004 12:52PM

Gosh I was born a year before you and I'm not old.


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: YURLANA (---.tmns.net.au)
Date: April 16, 2004 03:03AM

Well I hate to say it but I was bourn 1923 and can remember on a
sunday all the family around the piano having a sing song I would have
been about 9 years old , and one of the many songs we sang was The
Volunteer Organist other songs were Down The River Of Years,Over The
Wings Of A Dove. and many more I cant remember.just thought you like
to know..


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 16, 2004 11:41AM

Thanks, although I cannot see why you would hate to say it. I feel sure most folks born in 1923 are not around today. Now that would be something to hate!


Re: An old man needs to know.....
Posted by: StephenFryer (---.l3.c2.dsl.pol.co.uk)
Date: April 18, 2004 05:50PM

As luck would have it, I caught Benjamin Luxen singing this on Radio 2's Hundred Best Tunes this evening: splendid.
The site has a 'Listen Again' function using RealPlayer:
[www.bbc.co.uk] />

Stephen




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