Tips on correctly leading the music on Sundays

Because of a snowstorm, we had our Christmas program the Sunday after Christmas this year. Our regular conductor of the congregational hymns had already made provision for a substitute, but because we were doing "Christmas Sunday" instead of "the Sunday after Christmas," she simply forgot that she was supposed to do it. Her turn was next week.

So the organist began to play the intro to the opening hymn, and there was nobody standing there. And it also happened that nobody noticed.

We were all busy getting out our hymnbooks, looking up the page and getting set to start. We in the choir launched into the hymn when the music rolled around. Only after a few moments did it occur to us that there was nobody leading us.

And we were doing fine. As every conductor knows, the congregation follows the organ or piano anyway -- if the conductor wants to speed up the tempo, for instance, and the organist doesn't follow, it ain't gonna happen.

Still, the absence of the arm-waving person at the front of the chapel was beginning to cause some consternation in the congregation, so one of our sopranos walked to the right spot and began to conduct.

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