[Ads-l] Quote: Please do not shoot the pianist (organist). He is doing his best.

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 18 10:44:46 EDT 2017

Fred has an entry in "The Yale Book of Quotations" for the entreaty in
the subject line which is usually printed on a sign. Oscar Wilde
observed such a sign when he toured the United States. Barry Popik has
an entry on this topic with a first citation dated December 20, 1879.


The earliest instance of this comical and plaintive request I've
located appeared in a newspaper in Northamptonshire, England on August
2, 1879. The short item referred to a religious service in faraway
Arkansas. The instrument was an organ instead of a piano, and the
entreaty was spoken instead of written.

[ref] 1879 August 2, The Northampton Mercury, Untitled short item,
Quote Page 7, Column 6, Northamptonshire, England. (British Newspaper

[Begin excerpt]
The minister, during a service at Pooleville, Arkansas, some years
ago, said: "I have again to apologise for the absence of the
newly-engaged tenor for the choir. He is expected on the next train,
however, and will be at his post next Sunday without fail. And while I
think of it, I would suggest that the present practice of shooting at
the organist during the service be discontinued. It is a ridiculous
habit, and annoys the congregation by filling the church with smoke.
The poor man has his faults, but he does the best can. Besides, it
chips the new organ."
[End excerpt]

Here is a link to the QI article:

Earlier citations and feedback welcome,

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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