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Thread: Catholic organist compensation

  1. #61
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    The RC church has always had lower salaries for years. I took a severe cut in pay when I was the organist for 3 years in a RC parish here.

    The protestant churches pay much better - I routinely get at least 4% increase each year where I play, even though the membership is declining by 11% every year. Our average attendance is about 160 on any given Sunday in a sanctuary that seats 350.

    I deal with the chatter of the congregation each week too ... it is annoying ... but some people do actually listen and appreciate the music I present. I also publish everything I play in the weekly bulletin by title, composer and birth/death years for Prelude, Offertory, Communion and Postlude.

    Padster, I would check with some Protestant churches for a position before you give it up completely. You have invested a significant amount of your life towards the organ and I, and others, would hate to see you just give up because of one inane parish. There are other churches that will appreciate all your efforts.

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  3. #62
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    I am NEVER getting involved with churches ever again, whatever the denomination.

    All is not lost however. I still have my piano at home. But I don't need the organ anymore.

    Best wishes,
    Padster

  4. #63
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padster View Post
    I am NEVER getting involved with churches ever again, whatever the denomination.

    All is not lost however. I still have my piano at home. But I don't need the organ anymore.

    Best wishes,
    Padster
    I agree with Lars..try another church..even within faiths the churches vary in their treatment of the musical staff. I was always an Episcopal organist/choirmaster with excellent treatment for the most part.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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  6. #64
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    We don't have an Episcopal church in England, we have the C of E, and I have been treated badly by them in the past as well (long story).

    I refuse to even consider getting involved in the music program at my RC church
    You are a very wise and sensible man, Albert.

    God bless us all; perhaps the great cathedral we go to after life has a small section for those of us who believe that liturgical music is not the trash promoted today.
    We will be able to have whatever we want. It's up to us to create our Celestial Realms in our own minds. We create it, William Blake knew that. I personally shall be having my own small town into which St Ouen Rouen cathedral shall be placed! Only, in my town it shall contain a vast library, many fine musical instruments and that fantastic Cavaille-Coll. I would probably leave a space for what Wagner termed 'sacred performance.'

    The Realms will honour us and our art, regardless of creed, race or sexual orientation. The Realms aren't like this putrid well.

    Jonesy asked:

    Incidentally, where are your recordings?, anything we can listen to?
    Here are two recordings I made. There's slight distortion on the first one as I still have some tweaking to do on the Tascam:

    Promenade from Pictures At An Exhibition (Mussorgsky arr. Hand)
    https://app.box.com/s/dbr7581dukxicbf24t44vchmdbltc42u

    Quattro Versi F maggiore (Zipoli)
    https://app.box.com/s/e7j1kuabrv3hei7d2jqaqwo80yr2d9sr

    Performed on 1890 Ainscough organ.

    Best wishes,
    Padster
    Last edited by Padster; Jun-20-2016 at 21:59.

  7. #65
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Enjoyed hearing you play, Padster ...

  8. #66
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Likewise..enjoyed your performance. I particularly like the 4 verses in F major. Like the sound of this organ also. Take care
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

  9. #67
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    I once again cast pearls before swine this morning at Mass. One of our choir members took a massive verbal dump all over Alfred Hollins and myself. I was playing Mr Hollins' very fine Prelude in F before Mass. When I had finished, the person in question stated that he couldn't detect a tune and it 'sounded like it was all over the place'. I don't mind people holding an opinion on these things, but I do wish they would keep their opinions to themselves if they are going to be negative (this chap has NEVER said anything positive about my playing, and seems to be going out of his way to cause hurt and offence). To top this, the priest couldn't be bothered with a sermon, stating that he had, and I quote, 'nothing to say'. Sometimes I feel I am the only person who is making an effort. I am growing VERY tired and frustrated with church, and I actually think it would be better if I stayed at home instead. I now have a very fine digital classical organ at home and am tempted to make a clean break now.

    Best wishes,
    Padster

  10. #68
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    This is the first time I've heard of a priest not being able to deliver a homily of any sort. Totally strange. Seems like a very dis-functional parish and the priest is to blame.

    I feel your pain ... I really do ... I seldom get any comments on my playing except for those weekends when I am away on travel and return to hear the likes of "thank goodness you are back - the sub organist was horrible." Nothing about me being tolerable.

    Buy I can live with it. This was my chosen profession and music resides from and emits from my heart and soul, and I would be lost without having this avenue to play on a weekly basis. I played a version of Fairest Lord Jesus by H. Alexander Matthews, for the offertory last week ... it was deathly quiet during the entire piece when there is usually lots of chatter while the plates are being passed. They listened ... and that was my reward, and I was emotionally moved by that experience.

    A recent episode of House MD about the trumpeter who was in a wheelchair and was saved from death by Dr House ... one of the lines was "music is my gift ... where being a doctor is yours." That kinda hit home for me. I have this wonderful God given talent to present music to the people of my congregation, and to put that on the back burner and never use that talent to its fullest extent would be one of the saddest things in my life. You can take the boy out of music but you cant take the music out of the boy. That's how it is for me, Padster. I could care less what people think of my playing ... I play in church every week because I enjoy it so very much - it is my outlet, besides bowling, and playing music removes any frustrations I may have at the time. It calms my soul - it's part of me.

    I have played the piece mentioned by Hollins. It has a theme to it ... apparently the "person in question" is tone deaf and can't feel the musical phrases within that piece. It flows very nicely.

  11. #69
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    I agree with you on some points and disagree on others. Music is my life. I live and breathe it. However, I am increasingly finding the church organ a complete turn-off. My carefully-prepared pieces are wasted in church, and after last Sunday I have firmly resolved not to play them any more. I do not intend to look for a new church but stay where I am and accept the laissez faire attitude. No one else bothers to practice, and neither will I. Instead I will concentrate on learning a whole new core repertoire for my organ at home.

    With respect, I DETEST the term 'God-given talent'. It implies zero work on our part. Churches are always going to treat us like dirt if they think our skills were handed to us on a plate. My talent is MY talent. Acquiring it involved a LOT of hard work. If you had heard my early attempts at playing my first organ (a basic Yamaha), you would not think that it was 'divinely motivated' in any way. For a GOOD long time it seemed that I barely hit a right note!.

    You are correct about the tone deaf oik who disliked Hollins. I honestly don't think he likes me playing the organ on its own at all. I suppose he expects me just to play hymns like the other 'organists' do.

    Best wishes,
    Padster

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  13. #70
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Just a little postscript to bring my Catholic saga to an end.

    I have made an early New Year's resolution. I intend cutting all ties to my local parish church early in 2017.

    I made one last effort to try to turn things around. I tried firstly to get the 11am 'choir' to practice regularly a few months ago. They didn't want to know. I started helping out at the 9.30am Mass a few weeks ago and last week broached the subject of practicing together twice a month. Again, I was met with lukewarm responses and flat refusals. I was not in a good frame of mind, and matters were not helped by the priest using the same sermon he'd used last week. I have now realized that I can't change the situation: the Catholic church is an old church, and I mean in terms of average parishioner age. There's no 'go' in them and there are no younger people coming through, so the Church is heading for a catastrophic decline in the next ten years. Plus, the prevailing wind is very much against music played to a good standard, and actually, I think trained musicians are completely wasted on this church.

    I am gone in the New Year.

    Best wishes,
    Padster
    Last edited by Padster; Nov-12-2016 at 17:03.

  14. #71
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    There are MANY parishes who would be Pleased to have you and with much more interests.. Check them out!! Sounds like the priest needs to retire and the Bishop made aware of his conduct ( he might not even be aware of this priest conduct ). Good Luck..
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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  16. #72
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Padster,

    I had the recent opportunity of switching church positions. After nearly 34 years at one parish (Lutheran) I applied and was accepted at a different Lutheran parish, a much larger church, larger choir, larger organ, and one additional service, a Saturday afternoon done on piano with a group of singers.

    There are always new positions out there to replace the old ones. You've invested a good amount of your time and efforts in becoming the musician that you are today - it would be a shame to give that all up because of one priest in one church. Surely there are other parishes, both Catholic and Protestant?

  17. #73
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Krummhorn has inspired two different comments in me.

    What you said about having an emotional experience when people were quiet, listening,
    did evoke an A minor key sadness in me, yes, it truly did.
    Setting up on a Monday afternoon, for a six night bar gig,
    or in the afternoon at a venue sound check,
    wasn't go much about the band getting together onstage to play,
    as it was convincing everyone that the band as advertised was behind the instruments.
    And most of your concentration was on the new feedbacking of the room, not your fingers.
    At night, when the band started, all the emotion was in play.

    Saying Catholic and Protestant is saying Vatican and people fighting that.
    And that's about the new Holy Bible in English they can finally understand,
    while Latin was used by Roman Catholic priests. That's too much ying and yang.

    Presbyterians: a presbyr is an area decided by square miles,
    where the people who live there, in the spirit, gather to worship.
    In Welland, Rosedale Baptist Church, mostly Dutch people,
    is known for their singing and love of singing.
    They have a pianist who doubles on the organ with guest instrumentalists.
    Last edited by John Watt; Nov-13-2016 at 06:28.

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