- TRANSPLANTED ORGANIST: Richard Elliott is an organist with the Tabernacle Choir. And for Rick, getting to that point from his band days in Baltimore has been a long and winding road.
"I played with rock groups in high school and college," he says, "but little by little I sensed that the music was leading me in one direction and I wanted to go another. So I began to pursue classical organ. In 1980 I joined the LDS Church."Elliott not only brings talent and a spiritual temperament to his task, but also a husky baritone voice and winking sense of humor. At a private choir get-together not long ago, Elliott performed his latest creation - a wry parody to the tune of the old chestnut, "The Lost Chord." He calls it "The Last Chord." Listeners left the party with tears in their eyes.
When Rick Elliott sits down at the keyboard, people really do laugh.
I offer the lyrics to his saucy send-up here, with relish:
THE LAST CHORD
By Richard Elliot
(with apologies to Arthur Sullivan)
Seated all day at the organ
I was cranky and tired and hot,
Then the choir rehearsal started,
but my poor brain did not.
I knew not what I was playing,
or what I was dreaming then;
But I struck one note of discord
like the sound of a screeching hen -
Like the music of Messiaen.
It cut through the choir's sweet voices
like a knife that is sharp and keen,
And it brought to my mind the sound
of a pile-up on I-15.
The basses began to snicker,
the altos joined in with glee,
'Til all eight parts were laughing -
it was S.S.A.A.T.T.B.B.
I turned five shades of crimson
and looked for a place to hide,
But trapped I was with the choir at my left,
and the audience at my right side!
I have sought to forget, but vainly,
that rumble much maligned,
Which came from the bowels of the organ,
but sounded like it came from mine.
It may be that soon I'll live down
my feelings of guilt and shame;
It may be that early retirement
would ease my sense of pain;
It may be - that note will haunt me
the rest of my mortal life;
It may be that only in heaven
I shall hear that note played right.
- JUST THE FACTS, SOMEBODY: When it comes to freedom of the press, I'm not sure how well Rick Elliott's lyrics would have fared in Czarist Russia, but Russian journalists didn't fare well at all. The day after Gregory Rasputin - the "mad monk" - was murdered, here's the news report that actually appeared in the newspaper:
A certain person visited another person with some other persons. After the first person vanished, one of the other persons stated that the first person had not been at the house of the second person, although it was known that the second person had visited the first person late at night.
- AN OLD-FASHIONED LOVE SONG: One of the sad things about Beach Boy love songs is the tunes are wonderful, but the lyrics are so high-schooly no one dares sing them after age 21. Who wants to sing about "the prom," "pompons" and "drag racing?"
One of the group's most beautiful love songs, "Don't Worry, Baby," is great except for the hot-rod line: "She told me, `Baby, when you race today, take along my love with you."'
Sadly, the song is useless as a mature love song. It's unusable.
Except, of course, for my lucky step-daughter, Erica.
In August, Erica marries a jockey.
- QUOTE OF THE DAY: Last Tuesday writer Kathleen Norris spoke at A Woman's Place Bookstore. Bookmarks were printed up with this spiffy Norris quote:
Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting at the end of the day makes that day happier.