In addition to my pastoral responsibilities, I play Hammond B3 on our church’s worship team. Those of you who are musical might appreciate what I wrote to the rest of the band, when we were about to invite a gifted young keyboard player in our congregation (Jacob) to play B3 with our new OCF Gospel Choir:
If Jacob is going to join the B3 Fraternity, he must be soberly apprised of the honor we our bestowing upon him.
Anyone can sit down at a piano.
A Hammond B3? Ah! That's another story entirely. Holy ground. Sacred space. Even the bench itself bespeaks character and erudite sophistication, most Sundays, at any rate (NOTE: I had to qualify this, because one Sunday, not long ago, the organ bench completely collapsed, without warning, near the end of the second service, right while we were playing a barn-burner of a final song, and I suddenly found myself sitting on top of a pile of fireword right on stage in front of our congregation. So much for pastoral dignity and decorum!). And those drawbars? Sublimity beyond proximity! And how can I resist extolling the inarticulable preeminence of that speaker—oh, YES! that Leslie speaker—the only electronical loudspeaker on our platform, mind you, that not only spins to the music, but actually rotates to create the music! Alas, even the lowly dark chocolate chord that connects this remarkable speaker to its unsurpassed instrument makes your generic guitar chord look like a mere fragment of charred audio spaghetti. And so it should! For the musical power of The Beast is such that we must relegate this fine instrument and its brilliant stewards to the far corner of stage-right—with its immeasurably dazzling speaker covered with baffles and confined to a Plexiglas prison—simply to ensure that the utterly intoxicating musical rhapsodies of the B3 will not overwhelm the pitiful sounds emanating from those paltry excuses for musical instruments that pepper the rest of the platform, for fear that the Hammond B3—yes, the Hammond B3!—unimpeded by such restraints, might lift our people to levels of spiritual ecstasy for which they are hopelessly unprepared to encounter or even to imagine!
Alas, enough! I must cease this miserably inadequate encomium, though I have only begun to plumb the depths of what could be said about the virtues of the Hammond B3.
The point? This profound matriculation of our adolescent keyboard-playing brother to a whole new level of musical honor, stewardship, and sophistication—which our sovereign Lord has thrust upon us—would seem to call for a severe hazing or a formal induction ceremony of some sort, don't you think?