Got there around 5:45, things didn't start until 7:00. My piano was still there, right where we'd left it last night, and the P.A. was on, so I switched the piano on and warmed up a bit. The Imam had seen me come in and walked down with me, but after a few moments, he excused himself and left me there alone in the room. I went through the hymns, and there's a part of the service marked "Offering" so I'd prepared a piece for that. Didn't end up using it.
Before he left, the Imam had said something about playing as people are coming in. Cool, I'll just noodle around, wander in and out of songs, my usual thing. About 6:30, people are starting to wander in, but it's really quiet and it seemed weird to just start playing. By 6:40, more people were there, and there was chatter, so I turned the volume down and started playing some quiet stuff. "Solace" by Scott Joplin (I wonder if Joplin had ever been played in that building before), which is in F, pretty mellow. I figured that at that volume, I could go brighter, so I started messing around in D. D was boring, so I switched to G. G, D/F#, Em... and suddenly I heard a voice cry out "Freebird!", so F, C, D. Turns out the voice was only in my head, but it was too late, I was committed to it. Played the intro, a verse, took the solo (live version, of course)... it's actually a lovely piece of music as a solo piano piece. I looked up to see if anyone noticed. No. It's probably for the best. I'm pretty sure Lynyrd Skynyrd has never been played in that building before, not during a service. But music is about breaking down barriers and bringing us all together, right?
Glanced at my phone; it's 6:50 now. Cool. "One for the Vine" by Genesis is exactly ten minutes long. I worked out a solo piano arrangement years ago, and pull it out on occasions such as this. It sounds better on an acoustic piano, but this was serviceable, plus no one was paying attention anyway. Strictly background music. Finish, check my phone, 7:00. Except there's no sign of any clergy.
I started noodling around some more, just some basic stuff in G, and after a few minutes I see the clergy starting to enter. The main entrance is at the side of the room, and they snake around to the back and come up the center aisle. I'm going between G, D, and C, and start giving the chords a bit more punch, make it kinduv regal sounding or something, like a Processional, since that's what it is. As the last of them nears the front, I wind things down, end on a big G chord. Yay. Soundtrack for people walking.
I guess I expected someone to say something, some kind of Welcome message, but after a few moments of silence, no one's moving, so I kick into the first hymn. And we're off!
Closing "hymn" was "America the Beautiful" in Bb. Big, rich-sounding chords, yeah baby! Closing words by the Bahá'í leader, technically not a clergyman since they do not have clergy in the Bahá'í faith, just leaders, but he's the new president of the local Clergy Association who've organized this whole thing, so he talks for a while, then wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. After a pause, he realizes what he's said, and corrects himself with a Happy Thanksgiving.
The program says "Recessional" so I start up "Morning Has Broken". I figured it would be a nice thing as people get up, walk out, maybe linger and chat, whatever. As I started the first verse, people started singing along. Whoa, unexpected, but I rolled with it. After the first verse, the next Wakeman break that's when everyone started getting up, chatting, walking out (refreshments in the Community Room across the hall), etc. Perfect. Finished the tune. At least four or five people came up to me and thanked me for the music, which was nice. Then I packed up and got out of there.
I'm not in the program. No one knows my name, but I played Scott Joplin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Genesis, and Rick Wakeman (and a fair amount of Orbert original) in a mosque, and people had no idea; they just thought it sounded nice.
I'm a musical whore, I admit. I'll play for anyone, anytime.