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

by WingCommander 85 Replies latest jw friends

  • saki2fifty

    I'm 35 and do remember the piano being at the hall quite well. It was in the "sticks" over in Lufkin Texas, and like an earlier post, more than anything, I remember a little old lady playing the piano, windows and doors were wide open because it was so hot, and there being a big fan blowing on us. I remember that everyone also had a paper fan... fanning away. Speaking of hot, we had this old blue van that we called "the old blue van", it had no A/C and each year when going to the district assembly (about 120 miles), it was so hot that all 120 miles we left the big old sliding door open to cool us down... because there were 7 of us kids, my dad put 3 rows of bus seats in the van to fit us all.... and one time when getting close to our little old hotel, right in the middle of downtown Houston, another van pulled up to the left of us, and it was one of the really cool modern vans, with carpet, brand new, and when I looked over, there was this other kid... I thought it was cool, so in true JW style, I smiled and started waving... he then flipped me off.

    Long time ago.

  • sspo

    Still have the 100 year old piano in my living room that was used in KH.

    It's up for sale, anyone interested?

  • apostawriter

    anyone remember ULTRA-LOUD singers?


  • eyeslice

    I well remember to days of the piano!
    When I was about 13 years (so that would make it 1966) we had our regular 'old time' sister who played the piano for us. However, after the meeting was over a young sister about my age (how well I remember her - my first love!) used to drag me off to watch her play the piano. She was very good and used to play classical music (not just the Kingdom songs). As far as I can remember, no one ever said a word about it.

  • Cellist

    When my husband was growing up (60's) there was a couple who played. The wife played the piano and the husband played violin. The piano was always in tune because this "brother" was also a piano tuner. One of the older sisters in the congregation was musically skilled and sang harmony. There were two sisters who acted as back up pianists.

    One small neighbouring congregation that we sometimes attended (to help out because their attendance was low), didn't have live musicians but they sure did sing with gusto. (early 80's) Unfortunately, not one of them could sing in tune and they were all out of time with each other. They completely drowned out the old mono record player that they had.

    We were really dismayed when they finally got rid of all live music. The last time we got to enjoy hearing musicians playing at a meeting (1986) it was a husband and wife team. She played the piano and he played the bassoon. Very enjoyable.


  • AlmostAtheist

    In a congregation in Cincinnati, I got to enjoy the piano playing of a sister that taught piano for a living. She would dress up the kingdom songs, toss stuff in here and there. It was great.

    Then, in a congregation in Columbus, I was subjected to the piano playing of a sister that could only make a living at playing the piano if she played, then agreed to stop in exchange for cash. OMG, she was terrible! And everyone knew it, but no one would tell her. When we finally switched to tapes or CD's or punched cards -- whatever it was -- the congregation was ecstatic!


  • JapanBoy

    I remember having to 'fill in' for one of the old sisters. It was against my better judgemnet as I am merely a Jazz and Blues player. I play almost everything in the key of C [ if it was good emough for Count Basie it's good enough for me] so I had to transpose some of the songs to play in C. The funniest thing was hearing the congregation screeching up to some impossibly high notes and then droning own to some sub-base notes........needless to say I didn't get asked to fill in anytime angain soon after that.


  • ozziepost
    How many people can play those kingdom songs competently nowadays? Talent dies off, and unless it's replaced, you have to go for the easier solution.

    This gets to the heart of the 'problem' the WTS had at the time. Of course, the problem was all of their own making, but more of that later. Many congregations at the time were 'stuck' with one ill-equipped pianist available to play the songs at the KH. Worse still, he/she wasn't of the humble type i.e. the elders didn't want to upset their feelings by telling them that they were simply awful at playing the songs. Yet there seemed no-one else to take their place. C.O.s from around the country reported on the standard of singing the songs and that something should be done. The answer, as always, was to blame the publishers and so "simplification" i.e. eradication, took place and music by Muzak took over. It's been that way ever since. As far as real singing is concerned, I find it hard to recall a time in my 50 years a dub on two continents where I could say I heard "real" singing at the KH. Loud singing at times, like when the song and music were meorable but I wouldn't say "real" singing. Over the past several years I have heard real, heartfelt, joyous singing at christian events and it certainly hasn't been at a KH!!! More than that, why don't witnesses sing? A friend of mine, a minister and author, visited a KH last year for a meeting. He wanted to see what they were about. His conclusion? "They can't sing", he said, "but that's not surprising, they haven't got God's Spirit, so how could they sing; they've got nothing to sing out for!" Makes ya think, eh?

    Anyway, why was all this a problem of the Borg's own making? Put simply, they have never encouraged people, especially the young ones, to learn music - real music that is. After all, we well know the WTS' opinion on extra learning. . So they were left with their "new nation™" - a nation of zombies, who looked alike, dressed alike, and ideally, for the borgmeisters, were alike. After all, the time was short and the young should be out there "witnessing", not 'wasting' time learning how to play the piano. If, on the rare occasion, a witness youth excelled at their musical studies, it would never be acknowledged, let alone praised or encouraged. So the WTS faced the inevitable problem - very few witnesses could play a musical instrument to a competent degree.

  • katiekitten

    I liked the old pink paperback songbook too. I dont know why they had to go and invent a whole load of new songs that had crap tunes, went on for 2 pages, and rhymed badly. No-one could sing them.

    When I left in 1999 I dont think we had sung half of those new crap songs. I liked the ones that you could belt out. I also liked the Lazarus song because it was so depressing you wanted to hang yourself. It used to make me laugh - 'music to commit suecide to' I called it.

  • ozziepost
    I liked the old pink paperback songbook too.

    Me too, and those gold-leafed edges made it kinda classy. The cover was supple too - nothing like the brown thing that replaced it.

    So what do they have now - a paperback, I s'pose?

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