Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cutback

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dmu3tem
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by dmu3tem » Thu May 22, 2014 2:39 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:when financial considerations are given as the ostensible reason for dismissing people whom a diocese then laments, the actual reason is usually political. In the case of Hallam, £50,000 a year debt is peanuts, and not a reason for firing a valued minister to the diocesan community. Hallam is not the first example where people have been fired on the grounds of finance when the actual reasons were completely different. Forget all the financial stuff.


Yes, I agree that sometimes this is true; and I presume you have some inside information to substantiate the claim that it applies to Hallam. However, it must surely be the case that sometimes financial considerations really are the cause of such regrettable cutbacks and redundancies. If so should we really keep our heads in the sand and ignore the implications? Is that not a recipie for more of the same?

In particular I know there are many church musicians in major regular establishments who assume the money 'will always be there' without asking how it is made. Such people (subconsciously) despise the 'financial administrators' and the fund raising methods adopted. They are just the 'back room boys' while others produce music in the 'public eye'. Yet when harsh financial decisions have to be taken the instinct is to 'shoot the messenger'.

By the way a £50,000 p.a. debt is not peanuts. Over 10 years that equals £500,000 (excluding interest payments).
T.E.Muir

Southern Comfort
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri May 23, 2014 12:53 am

Permit me to clarify a little.

It's actually £50,000 a year spread over 20 years to cover a debt of £1 miliion. The diocese has doubled the term in order to make it only £50,000 a year instead of £100,000. £50,000 is still peanuts in the grand scheme of things. Many churches and schools have debts that require higher sums than that to be repaid annually. And the debt is a paper debt — to the diocese, not to the bank.

When I say that the problem is not financial but political, I mean that there is undoubtedly money available. It all depends what you want to spend it on. Priorities for spending are where the political aspect comes in. A different PP, or Cathedral Dean, or set of trustees can change those priorities overnight. The fact that the Church doesn't seem to see spending money on liturgy as a priority is bizarre, given that liturgy is the principal means by which the Church actually reaches people.

dmu3tem
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by dmu3tem » Fri May 23, 2014 10:35 am

Southern Comfort wrote:Permit me to clarify a little.

It's actually £50,000 a year spread over 20 years to cover a debt of £1 miliion. The diocese has doubled the term in order to make it only £50,000 a year instead of £100,000.


So the cathedral is paying off an accumulated debt of £1 million at a rate of £50,000 a year rather than running an annual deficit of £50,000. Is this correct?

If so the questions should be:

:'How did the Cathedral run up a debt of £1 million in the first place'?
:'Who authorised the expenditure that led to this situation?
:'Was such expenditure justified? (to the extent that it overrides the dire effects of debt, which led to someone losing his job)?
:'If not, whose head should roll, and why does the Director of Music lose his position instead, given that he is an excellent musician, is in no way responsible for the cathedral finances and, from what I have heard, has done a good job?'
:If the expenditure was 'justified', or the persons responsible for authorising 'unjustified' expenditure cannot be made to reimburse the money, then we should ask: 'which department/activity should bear the brunt of savings? (In this case, why music?) as 'Southern Comfort' suggests.
:'What steps are being taken to raise additional funds, or is the Cathedral just relying on financial savings? Can the musical side of things play a part in this? (remember the plot in Joanna Trolloppe's novel 'The Choir').
T.E.Muir

Southern Comfort
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri May 23, 2014 11:15 am

The £1m debt was incurred through expenditure on refurbishing the cathedral. It appears that apart from that there is no annual operating deficit, but proper figures are hard to come by.

But in any case the director of music was not just serving the cathedral but the whole diocese. You would think that diocesan funds would in part cover his salary and operating expenses. It therefore seems likely that more than one person is responsible for the demise of his position.

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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by musicus » Fri May 23, 2014 4:44 pm

While these are, no doubt, legitimate questions, I am not sure that those who know the answers to them will provide them here. Moreover, hypothesising and speculating might take us (and the Society) into dangerous waters. Accordingly, I would ask that any subsequent posters to this thread bear this in mind.

Thank you.
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JW
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by JW » Fri May 23, 2014 7:27 pm

Here: http://www.rochestercathedral.org/development/cathedral-trust/music-appeal is how Rochester Cathedral deal with the issue of their music: they are raising £10m to fund it. And they've been going since 604AD, so perhaps RC cathedrals could take a leaf out of their book. Oh and, unlike many, they don't charge for admission to the cathedral.

(By the way, I can recommend the James Taylor concert to anyone who is into Jazz!).
JW

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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by HallamPhil » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:56 pm

What a difference a week makes!

I am delighted to inform you that the financial cloud which hovers over the cathedral parish of St Marie, Sheffield no longer hovers over me.
On sunday 22 June I flew to Florida for an interview and on wednesday was offered employment as Director of Music at St Lawrence Church, Tampa Florida. I accepted the post on Friday.

On saturday I flew to Spain to give an address to a Music & Liturgy conference at Guadix, the oldest yet smallest and poorest
dioceses in Spain. My task there now completed i will prolong my stay in Spain for a further 2 weeks in the sun.

If you do not know Guadix it is an amazing place in which historically people lived in caves carved from the earth. they continue to live in this way today but the cathedral is a baroque masterpiece with a romantic organ which is smaller than many cathedral organs but stupendous nonetheless.

If you are travelling to Granada Cathedral look out for Vernoika a german cantor who leads the music there. She has achieved great success with the people there ... and what a fine voice she offers.

I look forward to meeting members at the SSG Summer School or at the National Network of Pastoral Musicans weekend conference in Chester where I shall offer a similar talk to that I gave today in Spain but this time in English!

High Peak
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by High Peak » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:14 pm

Congratulations! What a relief.

But what a climatic shift from Yorkshire to Florida!!!

See you at summer school.

alan29
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Re: Long-standing music director axed as £1m debt forces cut

Post by alan29 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:19 pm

Their gain, our loss.

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