Idol Chatter

The Church of England has a surfeit of organs, but the ranks of organists to play them on Sunday morning is thinning. The dilemma has led to the runaway success of the HT 300 Hymnal-Plus, a machine that can play 2,700 Christian favorites on a computer sound system at the touch of a remote button. Hymns can be played in a variety of styles, from the somnolently traditional to electronic-meets-guitar-mass (listen here), and including a disco version of “Amazing Grace.”

The machine even allows the option of showing the lyrics, karaoke style, on a screen. Hymn Technology, Ltd. says it has sold more than 100 of the devices since it introduced its latest model six months ago. But British organists shouldn’t worry for their jobs: “We have no wish to make organists redundant and we greatly appreciate them, ” says one vicar. “But this might enable them to go away on the odd Sunday.”

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