Organ Control

Edith Organ

Miss Gloria Fitzsimons, the Senior Organist at Saint Genesius Cathedral in Sydney, took ill and Mrs Edith Clampton was elevated to Acting Senior Organist in her absence. While this senior position brought Mrs Clampton much social recognition, especially from the Bishop, she felt uncomfortable that her name tag identified her as ‘acting’.

Edith Organ
Mrs Clamptons’ days as Acting/Senior Organist are about to end.

Prior to the Senior Organist becoming ill, Mrs Clampton had dreams of being the lead organist and prayed that Miss Fitzsimons would retire early or even take extended holidays. But those prayers were left unanswered. Miss Fitzsimon was often praised in the Church Flyer. And occasionally parishioners would run up the gallery stairs to glimpse at her manipulating the sacred ivory keys. Of course her junior was jealous.

As second, Mrs Clampton’s duty was to play the organ at minor masses and pauper funerals, but she wanted more. She admired her own talent and knew that to get to the top position she would need to pray harder. And she did, visualising her senior develop an ailment. But then in her darkest moments, she hoped it would be cancer or even a car accident. Heavy guilt caused her to change that request and she’d be happy if she just passed away in her sleep.

Her prayers were answered.

Miss Fitzsimon’s illness had kept her away from Church for some months. Mrs Clampton grew more impatient and worried that the Senior Organist might live for another year – and she’d still be in the ‘acting’ role. She knew she was a far better organist than Miss Fitzsimon, and according to her personal diary, she offered parishioners a much better recital. Even the Bishop commented that her music lifted the hearts and souls of the congregation. 

Then it all happened so quickly, thanks to a German Baroque composer. Mrs Clampton played Pachelbel’s Canon in D Minor at the main Sunday mass. The Bishop wept as that piece was his most favourite music ever – something he’d let slip when he met Mrs Clampton at the Church fete. Through a visiting Priest the declining Miss Fitzsimon learned her understudy had played the disgusting Pachelbel’s Canon in D Minor – a piece she despised. It sent her into such a rage that she had heart failure and passed quickly to the next. Fortunately the visiting Priest was on hand to give her the Last Rights.

Mrs Clampton, now as Senior Organist, performed that same piece at Miss Fitzsimon’s funeral, much to the delight of the living.

(Mrs Edith Clampton appears as a minor character in my book Get Rid of Glenda. It has been a delight to delve into some of her life in Sydney after her many adventures in Thailand.)