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Thread: Priest/Pastor-Organist Communication, Or Lack Thereof

  1. #1
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Priest/Pastor-Organist Communication, Or Lack Thereof

    On a bit of a rant tonight....

    For the third time in nine months, a Catholic church has expressed interest in me and has subsequently stopped communicating.

    The first found someone while the administrator was away for a month. Met with the administrator as scheduled - who, after half an hour, told me the position had been filled.

    The second was the administrator's second in a different parish, who never called back. Both the first and second are from different cultures and English is their second language. (BTW, played for second at a funeral - church was unlocked 25 minutes prior. Need I say more?)

    The third cancelled a meeting set up two weeks' prior (Funeral Mass conflict). I've made four phone calls in two days (no church should be without music) - either I'm just unlucky, or the secretary is stonewalling me.

    Is music really this unimportant to priests? How cavalier can they be?

    So glad to have a steady Sunday gig in a Protestant church. Perhaps I'll be better served with a Saturday night lounge gig.

    Venting--

    --KMB

  2. #2
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    KMB, it could be that the secretary is also being stone-walled by the administrator ... they only do what they are told to do.

    From my experience with the RC church priests, they are the one who 'run the show', from finances to hiring/firing employees. If the priest is rather musical in nature, it can be the organists dream job ... if not, it certainly can go the other way.

    In my most recent RC position (1989-1992) the choir director was the one who conducted the interview, and then went to the resident priest (Parish Pastor) with her recommendation. He agreed, and the next step was a 'playing audition' where I played the Saturday Anticipated Mass two weekends in a row. I passed that test, and was then hired. I'm assuming that that particular parish is not the norm with all RC churches.

    In the Protestant churches, there is usually a Church Council who presides over such things as finances, hiring, etc. The Protestant churches seem to be extremely organized (Worship committee interviews prospective musicains) when it comes to hiring for a vacant position. In my church, the Pastor is the Administrator and supervises all paid staff. But, he cannot fire/hire employees at will - that process is strictly limited to a council action/vote.

    The church that did not open the doors until 25 minutes before the funeral certainly has no idea what situations like that are for a visiting musician. I encountered such a situation, in a Protestant church no less, years ago. I was a substitute organist, and had made arrangements to practice the day before in the church as I was told it was a "different" electronic and I wanted to make friends with "it" before playing the Sunday services.

    Saturday came and went ... nobody showed up to let me in ... so I arrived early on Sunday, and again, nobody showed until about 45 minutes before the service. The organ was a Thomas electronic glorified home organ - complete with all the blinking lights, and automated 'window' for presets, and a horrible and irritating vibrato that I could not shut off. I was also told, that morning, that just before the service, the organ rings the chimes from the console. Chimes? Egad, what stop on this glorified toaster makes that happen? Finally found it ... one of those presets with a blinking light.

    All went fairly well ... although my chosen offertory "Jesu, Joy of Mans' Desiring" was absolutely hideous with that irritating vibrato, but the people in the church loved it nonetheless. That was my absolute last experience substituting in any church for a very long time.

    It will be interesting to learn of other organists encounters in situations like this and what they did to resolve the issues.

    Glad that you have a steady gig for Sundays ...

    Kh ♫

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    KMB.. I believe you should file your complaints with the Bishops office/headquarters..who also govern/ supervise the priest activities. SOunds to me like jurisdiction issues and commnuication. ( always a church issue as well as many businesses )
    ....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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    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    We'll see what happens. Still no response today. In the past, it's been a phone call, show up, you obviously know what you're doing, let's discuss the rate. We are currently sans Bishop in this diocese, but I have worked with the Apostolic Administrator/Chancellor on several occasions. I'm a known quantity with forty years on many benches, Protestant and Catholic. My guess is that money is an issue. Heretofore, it's been so very simple.... --KMB

  6. #5
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Kh-- The locked church for the funeral until 25 minutes to go was challenging for me. You should have seen the mortician. And the family waiting on the lawn. Fortunate there was no body, only cremains. It looked like a bad game show stunt.... I told this to another mortician - he said that the same happened to him, too, same parish, same timeframe. Just surreal.... --KMB

  7. #6
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Kh-- BTW, the "instrument" was a bottom-of-the-line Casio keyboard, no amplification save for internal speakers. Pulled out the piano repertoire in a hurry.... As for the mortician.... --KMB

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    That buzzard needs turned in I am sure his conduct is not a valid response and frond upon.
    ....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. #8
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    It's kind of nice to get the remains/cremains/flowers/pictures/guest book in ahead of the family.... Tough times here....

  10. #9
    Captain of Water Music
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    KMB, if you're happy where you are, especially considering your varied responsibilities, why are you looking in such 'disinterested' places?

  11. #10
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Nikam-- Check the original post.... The priest was very interested, then nothing. I have a Sunday Protestant gig, would be nice to have a Saturday Catholic one as well. This has happened three times now. I'm giving up on the diocese, time for a lounge gig. --KMB

  12. #11
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    that is not too bad either KMB.. I have played at pizza and pipes in Texas, did a Bar/resort circuit for couple of years as piano/organ( playd at same time ) with vocal in my young days as well as my various CHurch organist/ teaching positions.. they variety is the spice of life and I sure had that..LOL
    ....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

  13. #12
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Bill-- Agreed! Have done lounge work for years. Time to move from a two-drink Communion maximum to a two-drink minimum...! --KMB

  14. #13
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Wonder of wonders, a month after first contact, I have a meeting with the priest on 23 Tuesday. I'd written this off entirely. We shall see.... --KMB

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Good luck...with your meeting
    ....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

  16. #15
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Update.... Met with the priest yesterday. Drove 35 miles to the church. The sexton refused to turn on the circuit breaker to the organ as the Sunday organist "wouldn't like that." I expressed my displeasure. Still chatted for an hour, but think that I can do without this parish. I appreciate loyalty, but not stupidity. --KMB

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