A website devoted to teaching/playing/writing for/ the King of Instruments
May. 30, 2016
The Only Gimmick Needed
In the world of professional music making, a signature sound seems to call for a signature logo. Liberace had his candelabra, for example; Johnny Cash wore black; Dizzie Gillespie's trumpet bell bent upwards; the Beatles had their haircuts; Stevie Wonder had his sunglasses; the Lawrence Welk orchestra had its bubble machine, etc. Besides excellence in organ playing, we've also come to associate various professional organists with certain novel twists, certain attention getting devices: With Xaver Varnus, it's the long mane of hair, a la Franz Liszt. With Cameron Carpenter, it's the Mohawk haircut. With Virgil Fox, it was the cape, and the rhinestones in the heels of his shoes. With Diane Bish, it's the colorful, sparkling wardrobe. With Carol Williams, it's the elegant open back dresses. With others, it might be the rings on every finger, the swaying of the head, the myopic bending over, the tossing of the hands, the apoplectic fit when improvising, the grimaces, the distinctly unorganistic pounding of the keys, and on and on it goes ... Even poor Camille Saint-Saens (photo), for fear of losing his job to a praise band, used to "wow" the crowd with his headgear; and if you believe that ... A gimmick, all by itself, does not a professional make. The only gimmick needed... if "gimmick" it may be called ... is a professional attitude [See blog, The Book].