In a previous church I used to regularly play the flute for the hymns during the service.
There was only one small problem.
You see, for our communion service we use cut up pieces of bread and some of the elders were very... hmmm... generous... with the portions.
This is no problem for the general congregation, or the organists, but for someone who is hurriedly masticating in order to play background music on a wind instrument as the elders then take the trays of little glasses around there are a few issues.
A brass player who has accidentally ends up with a tiny unswallowed portion floating around their mouth simply ends up with half-chewed bits of bread clogging up the the valves and other mysterious intestinal parts of their instrument.
For the flautist it is worse.
Because the flute is played by passing air across a hole in the mouth-piece (much like sounding a note across the top of a bottle) a good flute player can end up accidentally jet-propel that tiny crumb of sloppy bread halfway across the breadth of the church. In front of everybody.
Or even worse - (depending on which way one happened to be facing) into the congregation. I'm certain that the most devout and reflective individual would be roused from prayer by the sudden application of fast moving soggy bread to their face.
And the generosity of the elders was such that when they served the flautist they inevitably selected the largest piece of bread available. Fully an inch cube of dry bread (some exaggeration is inevitable on this blog) to be dealt with in a very short time-span. So kind of them. As a result I still refer to Communion Bread Larger Than Required as a "Flautist's Portion", and was seriously reminded of this yesterday in the service here, despite the fact that I was not playing.
I was at one point going to write a tongue-in-cheek letter to the church council regarding this issue, but the chance that they would have found it amusing?
... Approximately None.
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