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Thread: Any other Catholic church organists here?

  1. #16
    Midshipman, Forte
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    I am no church organist, just a student. For now although they have been friendly with giving me access to the organs here there is definitely not a friendly attitude toward an organ blaring (or even whistling the flute stops) when peoeple enter the church for whatever their event is (This is in Uruguay or Argentina and therefore Catholic churches). I don't know how much involvement is given to thje organist during Mass service in Catholic church but I presume it is very little. I do not think there is much attention at all toward the organ in the Catholic church and have even come across priests here who heavily disagree with this kind of mindset. Maybe it's a regional thing but I don't see the Catholic Church as the best environment for the organist.

  2. #17
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi PraeludiumUndFuge,

    It depends on the parish ... the one I played in here in the US was very savvy towards the organ (III/94) and music in general. We also had a 54 voice adult choir that did the likes of Mozart's Coronation Mass - a real workout for the organist, for sure.
    Holy Week was an organists nightmare - chock full of music the entire week - Holy Thursday was a 90 minute Mass with 65 minutes of choral/organ music - Holy Saturday was the same. I was given the freedom to play what I wanted for a Prelude before Mass, but they seemed to prefer more meditative pieces.

    I'm not there anymore, but I still remain in contact with some parishioners as well as the music director and organist and they have continued the music traditions that were put into place years ago.

    Kh

  3. #18
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PraeludiumUndFuge View Post
    I do not think there is much attention at all toward the organ in the Catholic church and have even come across priests here who heavily disagree with this kind of mindset. Maybe it's a regional thing but I don't see the Catholic Church as the best environment for the organist.
    With the present administrative personel where I am, I'm afraid I agree with you. However, as Krummhorn pointed out, it does depend on the parish (and to a degree the country). I couldn't imagine the sort of quiet disdain we're treated with here happening somewhere like Paris or Rome where the tradition is obviously still strong.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  4. #19
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Hello guys,
    I too am a catholic church organist, and it is true that sometimes I was treated like some kind of music-box, but lately I found another church where they asked for my service, and they are showing quite a lot of interest and also give me a certain freedom regarding the hymns etc used during the liturgy. I definitely agree with thomas dressler that playing at church helps to tackle the problem of "learning to play in front of people"; I'm commenting about this because I experienced it, i feel much more confident now, than two years ago when i first started playing in churches.

    Besides, I get paid around Lm2 every Mass, so that's about 5 euros. But i don't really care about the money honestly, i play for the glory of God and for my enjoyment, the pay is a bonus! that's how i look at it!

    Regards,
    Matthew.
    Last edited by Matthew Schembri; Sep-17-2007 at 20:31.

  5. #20
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    Interesting turn in this discussion. Wow, Krummhorn, that was quite the Catholic church job!

    Where I work now (Catholic church), they do like good music, but it's an education process that has been ongoing for about 20 years or a little more. The organist there years ago started them on the journey, and now those people have such a taste for good music that if you DON'T do it, they complain. They love to hear Bach, and I often get requests to "play something by Bach." Last year I started another step towards educating them by printing up a weekly music program, something along the lines of a Protestant "bulletin." I print out exactly what I'm playing and what the choir is singing, and if it's in a different language I print the translations. (The choir sings in English, Latin, German, and French.) This is unusual for a Catholic church, at least in this area. For years the only guide they had to the music was the hymn board in the front with the numbers on it. They LOVE these sheets, and it has raised the amount of participation and singing. The other thing they like is that I usually print a paragraph about the music, talking about composers or the pieces--some kind of little fun educational thing. A couple weeks ago a man stopped me and told me how much he liked that. He was reading a book about Henry VIII, and it mentioned Thomas Tallis, and he was excited that he actually KNEW something about Tallis from those blurbs! It's a lot of work on my part for no additional pay, but I find it very rewarding, because it is bringing an even greater appreciation for music in this parish. It's a very nice place to work for a classical organist, and it's Catholic!

  6. #21
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    catholic church organist

    Sorry I'm not really catholic but I am a Methodist. That's close enough
    for me. We are kinda like that without all of the masses. We are more
    typical of all of the other protestant churches. Just keep looking help
    is on it's way. Just pray about it.
    judy tooley

  7. #22
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by methodistgirl View Post
    Sorry I'm not really catholic but I am a Methodist. That's close enough for me.
    I''ve been a Lutheran all my life, but the experience I had playing in that particular RC church was one of the most gratifying in my entire church organist career that has encompassed 47 years so far. We had some Methodists and Lutherans in that church choir, too.
    Kh ~~.
    Administrator


    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  8. #23
    Apprentice, Piano
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    Resurrecting this old thread...haven't come back to this for years so thought I'd stop in to see if anything new has been added. At this point I'm at $62 per service...this is after playing 20 years at the same church (my own parish). Over the last few years the annual increase has dwindled down to $1 per year. I'd almost rather no increase, since it sort of feels like the $1 is being given solely cause the priest feels that he has to offer something and yet would probably rather not (?) Might be interpreting this wrong, but, I mean....really....a buck a year?? 5 years ago I assumed direction of the youth choir (formerly was basically just accompanist) after our permanent Deacon retired from directing the group. I've always gotten a cash gift with a thank-you card from the priest for both Easter and Christmas, but was a bit disappointed to find that, since taking over - which entails MUCH more work - I now research and get new choir music (even pay for it myself), do all the clerical work with the choir binders, do all the planning and rehearsing, etc. - and yet there has been no increase in the cash gifting compared to what I got for just accompanying. I have not minded taking on the extra responsibilities and in fact have in many ways enjoyed working with the group, but....ya know what I mean??? I have to dig down deep to avoid feeling just a l-i-t-t-l-e taken advantage of. There are other issues too. Our overall "music director" of the parish does very little for undoubtedly far more money than I get. There is very little 'spark' to try and improve or build the program. This 'director' is actively involved in performing with several local choir organizations and so the church program really takes a backseat. There is also a guitar group that does one of the weekend Masses, so along with the youth and adult choirs that totals 3 musical groups. The parish "music director", however, has virtually nothing to do with any of the groups other than the adults (he directs this every Sunday) - which is a group that has been gradually fizzling out to a handful of singers. There are never any meetings between the 3 directors of the respective groups. (I've proposed doing this but the idea was not met with any enthusiasm - as is the case with nearly everything I've ever proposed. My voice counts for nothing.) Never any collaboration between the groups either. (Actually, there's even some bad blood between two of the directors). I think you all get the idea. I just have to stay focused on what I do and keep telling myself that it is for the Glory of God - not for myself or anyone else within the parish. Still, I constantly hope for some sort of change for the better.
    Last edited by kas; Sep-11-2019 at 00:54.

  9. #24
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Yikes, only $1 per year raise? It's common knowledge (at least here in the US) that the RC parishes have the lowest pay rates, except if you are at a Basilica or Cathedral, or a Diocesan parish.

    The Protestant churches pay considerable more. I'm at about $117 per service. I play 3 services, one of which is solely on piano. No choir rehearsals as the choir has its own paid accompanist and paid director.

    I'm a salaried employee at my church ... only benefit is having 3 weeks (weekends) paid vacation each year and usually get between 2.8 and 4.0% salary increase each year.

    We are fortunate to have a paid music staff of five professional musicians, and we all get along famously and plan worship events together. Two worship leaders, one choir director, one choir accompanist, and one staff organist/pianist (me).

    We are the 2nd largest ELCA Lutheran congregation in our region (Southern Arizona). Central Arizona (Phoenix metropolitan area) has much larger churches.

  10. #25
    Apprentice, Piano
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    Krummhorn....I know what you're saying. I was subbing in the Protestant church and made as much per service 40 years ago as I am now! Upside is that I'm under no contractual obligations whatsoever, can take Sundays off whenever I want and have no responsibility to secure a substitute. That's all on the parish music director (more like his wife who takes care of most of the scheduling, etc.).
    Last edited by kas; Sep-25-2019 at 03:47.

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