Remember when KH's had a piano and real singing?

by WingCommander 85 Replies latest jw friends

  • justsomedude

    I do remember the piano playing! I also remember what must have been the local needs part after they did away with the piano about some the sisters hitting off notes from time to time and how it was better with the tapes/cds and how we needed to be good zombies and not complain.

    Wow that was a long time ago.

  • Warlock

    We didn't have a piano in the hall when I came in (early 80's), but we had one at the assembly hall for the C.A.'s.

    It was great, especially the brother who conducted the audience to follow along with the piano. He was always a little off. I guess you couldn't expect much, because he was about 90 years old, but I'm 105 so who am I to talk.


  • betterdaze

    YES! There was an kind elderly sister who would play on an upright piano, which was then rolled away somewhere so as not to "distract" us from the banquet. If you were a really cheeky child, you might get to plink a few keys before the lid was slammed down and it disappeared.
    ... and people really did sing then! The only way I can describe the singing today is "wooden." Two years ago I was at Jersey City and heard a sister's voice amongst the crowd, looked over about 20 rows away, and there was Sister S., singing like a bird, crystal clear as ever. Amazing, after 30 years! If I close my eyes, I can still hear her today... Of course there was always some brother with a deep baritone voice that would balance out her soprano. One of too few happy memories.
    What was even better was that one of the elders played trombone professionally in an orchestra for Broadway shows... although we kiddies were always reminded that he had to be "very selective" about which shows he could play for.
    At the circuit assemblies in Monroe, NY, there he'd be, conducting a tiny orchestra below the stage... Flute, saxophone, violin... and as a kid I used to play "Hey there all you thirsty ones" on my clarinet. Brother M. the trombone player / orchestra director was an encouragement to me.

  • PaNiCAtTaCk

    My mom played the piano for years, in fact we were one of the last halls in the circuit to lose the piano and get those high quality tapes! A circuit overseer came through and said that we needed to get with the rest of the circuit and get the tapes. Everyone in the hall was depressed about it and complained for a couple of years afterward about how much warmer the hall felt with a small congregation singing to a piano.
    I remember a sheparding call the elders made on my parents when I was 10. When they showed up at the house my mom told me to go play outside, but the elders said "no, he's old enough he needs to be in on the visit also" They told my mom that she would lose her piano playing privilege if she didnt get her hours up, because my moms hours had fallen below the national average. They told her there would be nobody to play the piano in the hall, I will never forget it, becuase my mom was crying and crying and I had only seen her cry once in my life. My dad just set there and took it while they put her on a huge guilt trip. They both had to work and we lived 27 miles from the hall. They also had to work on Saturdays, so sunday was usually our service day, after the meeting. If we ever went on vacation together it was only a Sunday afternoon drive. So of course a normal afternoon drive automatically meant your goign to be lacking in service hours.
    It still makes me so angry thinking about it, after all these years.

  • garybuss

    We had piano for decades, not sure about real singing. We had half a dozen deaf as a rock packing house workers trying to sing and not one of them could hear himself or anybody else.
    The piano played was missing her middle finger so every chord was missing a note played. The guy who replaced her used a phonograph record played on a turntable with a microphone taped to the speaker. He was blind as a bat with glasses thick as Coke bottles and he'd almost never get the right song on the player. Once it started playing he let it finish.
    We'd all search the book like mad to try to figure out which song was playing. Whoever found it had to yell out the number then the elder at the podium spoke the song number into the microphone and we'd all start singing . . . many times just as the song ended.
    More than once, the shock deaf guys would sing the whole song with the words to the song we were supposed to have sung while the wrong music played.
    After the meeting half the cars in the parking lot wouldn't start so it was the Keystone Cops with jumper cables.
    When we'd get home, the oil burner went out and we had to switch fuel oil drums. The waterbucket and the piss bucket already had ice on them.
    Once when we got home we had a skunk on the porch blocking the door. We couldn't get in and my dad drove over and got our uncle outa bed because he had a scatter gun. Just as uncle showed up half asleep with his scatter gun the dog came home and when my mother screamed, the gun went off and the skunk and the dog and uncle all headed for the grove.

  • candidlynuts

    my dad played at the assembly orhestras, it broke his heart when they stopped it.

    he was an aspiring musician in the mid forties to early 50s but he gave it all up to go to prison as a conscientious observer for 4 yrs, then afterwards his joy was in performing at assemblies and get togethers . i think it broke a lot of peoples hearts when they stopped.but i guess they had to stop, frankly, the way kids are pushed to DO MORE in the ministry instead of frivolous things like playing music, they'd eventually run out of people skilled enough to play.

    its sad.. mankind will never hear his compositions because he gave it up because the END WAS SO NEAR... (50 something years ago)

  • betterdaze

    Blondie, I just re-read your post:
    Thanks for confirming that there even WAS an Assembly Hall in Monroe, NY!
    The pioneer sister I was studying with up until recently was baptized in 1995 and did not believe me when I told her it had been $old the the very large, local and vocal Jewish Hasidic community. Her Bethelite husband gently but firmly "corrected" her. "Hush hush, inferior one. What the returning sheep says is so."
    BTW, my childhood KH was sold to nursery school that was owned by a protestant church in a neighboring town.
    ***Another example of the WTS hypocrisy.*** You got it!

  • Cabin in the woods
    Cabin in the woods

    Oh yes, yes I do! The old piano was virtually never tuned and a great big happy sister would bang away with all the gusto of a drunk sailor!


  • james_woods

    It is a little hard to remember the exact years involved, but I believe that we still were allowed to have the piano a little past 1975. I know my mom bought one and donated it to the Yukon, OK congregation when we built that hall - and I thought that was right about 1976 or 1977. Shortly thereafter came a letter from the society to get a record player and use the vinyl records in the interest of "consistency" of worship - whatever that meant. The assembly orchestras disappeared at the same time for the same reason. Pissed off a lot of really dedicated people who worked hard to do that mini-orchestra effort.

    We were not ordered to get rid of the piano; it just fell into disuse after the edict.

    I once got into serious trouble (and nearly demoted as assistant magazine servent) for ripping off my best shot at "Frankie and Johnny were Lovers" at a meeting in the Oak Glen congregation about 1966 or 1967...seems the guest speaker did not show up on time, and the WT overseer just asked me from the platform to "play something to pass a few minutes" until he could arrive. I thought he actually meant "play something you know" when he really expected a random kingdom song. I was no longer allowed to play the vapid kingdom songs, but they still "let" me pick up the magazines from the post office and stick them in the slots.

    My younger sister got my jehovah-hymn playing job.

  • Agent Socrates
    Agent Socrates

    Has anyone mentioned that at the conventions a conducter with a wand would come out on the stage?

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