Payment for organists

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manniemain
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Payment for organists

Post by manniemain »

What is the current thinking about fees and payments for organists? There seem to be different views circulating at the moment. I play 2 regular weekend Masses plus occasional other services (vespers, Benediction, Triduum, Christmas et al) when required. I also direct and rehearse the parish choir and the music group on a weekly basis. For all of these I don't take a fee because I consider it ministry rather than a job which always seemed reasonable. Weddings and funerals I do charge for, although in practice, I often waive the fee if the people concerned are part of the parish "family" In reality, this represents the majority of these services.
Recently I have heard a growing number of clergy express the view that a Catholic organist should never accept a fee for any service even if it is, for example, a wedding in another church. At the least this fee should be paid not to the organist but to the Catholic Church where he/she plays on a Sunday. Does this policy apply also to photographers, video makers, florists, limo drivers etc. if they too are worshippers at the church where their services are used. If they also cannot charge when they work at non Catholic Churches, where does their income actually come from? Where can their income come from?
Rob

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Re: Payment for organists

Post by docmattc »

manniemain wrote:Recently I have heard a growing number of clergy express the view that a Catholic organist should never accept a fee for any service ...At the least this fee should be paid not to the organist but to the Catholic Church where he/she plays on a Sunday

Presumably then these clergy never accept Mass stipends. And if the church is getting the organists fee, the church is prepared to fund the organist's music lessons, training courses, SSG summer schools, travel expenses...



We had a discussion about paying organists et al a while back on this thread which might be worth perusing.

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manniemain
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by manniemain »

Dream on! When I was assistant organist at a large Church in the North of England about 10 years ago, it was proposed (and only narrowly defeated by the PPC) that the organist should pay the Church in return for practice time on the organ!. :shock:
Rob

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sidvicius
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by sidvicius »

There was also the Payment? thread from 2004-5 (!) which discussed it at great length. The link that I posted at the end has been changed so here it is in its revised form - scroll down to the bit labelled "Professional Fees", tons of stuff there.

http://www.ism.org/publications/info/

and here's the Payment? Thread, in full.

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manniemain
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by manniemain »

Thanks Sid, I somehow missed that :oops: when I was scrolled prior to writing this one.
Rob

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contrabordun
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by contrabordun »

manniemain wrote:the view that a Catholic organist should never accept a fee for any service even if it is, for example, a wedding in another church.

On what grounds, exactly?
Paul Hodgetts

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contrabordun
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by contrabordun »

sidvicius wrote:and here's the Payment? Thread, in full.

Blimey, nostalgia rules KO. Have we really been having these conversations for 4+ years? With mostly the same people...'Merseysider' of course emerged, blinking in the sunlight, from his chrysalis, under his real name, but I wonder what became of Vox Americana?
Paul Hodgetts

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manniemain
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by manniemain »

contrabordun wrote:
manniemain wrote:the view that a Catholic organist should never accept a fee for any service even if it is, for example, a wedding in another church.

On what grounds, exactly?

That is never made clear! There are various vague blusterings (that don't hold water) about divided loyalty - but frankly the real reason is that certain parishes like a source of free money! (and control freakery!)
Last edited by manniemain on Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rob

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Nick Baty
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by Nick Baty »

contrabordun wrote:Merseysider' of course emerged, blinking in the sunlight, from his chrysalis, under his real name

Did he? I was longing to find out who he was.
May we have a clue or three?

Psalm Project
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by Psalm Project »

It is morally wrong to expect a competent organist to provide services for nothing. Everyone else gets paid! Funeral undertakers get paid... In many circumstances, it is THEY who 'offer' the organist a fee - Who are they that they should be determining an organist's fee? Organists do NOT determine their fees!!!
In Ireland, when I work as an organist, choir director and composer, the National Centre for Liturgy (which is based at the National seminary, Maynooth) issued a document dealing with this very issue. A scale of recommended guidlines was issued and it is updated every year. When I discovered this initially, I was gobsmacked. Here was a competent body acknowledging the value (in monetary terms) of our church musicians. I won't even get in to the various paragraphs in the Catechism relating to getting a just wage etc. Go look at this document and be informed. I am not sure if a similar document exists in the UK. Read it a few times to absorb its content. Read carefullt the lines mentioning that the guidline fees are for a competent amateur - read and understand what exactly that means!
The link is: http://www.liturgy-ireland.ie

Feedback welcome!

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contrabordun
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by contrabordun »

I don't know whether I'd say it was morally wrong to expect it - it's certainly a quick way to ensure you don't have an organist. I will always play gratis if asked to, and this happens from time to time: having financed my own musical training with hard cash and hundreds of hours work, I expect that people who wish to have the benefit of that work will at least have the grace to recognise that fact. Unless and until the church pays for the training of its musicians.
Paul Hodgetts

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mcb
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by mcb »

Nick Baty wrote:
contrabordun wrote:Merseysider' of course emerged, blinking in the sunlight, from his chrysalis, under his real name

Did he? I was longing to find out who he was.
May we have a clue or three?

I'm not completely sure, but I think he turned out to be Jimmy Tarbuck.

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Vox Americana
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by Vox Americana »

contrabordun wrote:I wonder what became of Vox Americana?

Still, here, thanks CB! Lurking, I think, is the correct term…
Thanks for asking. :D
Vox

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musicus
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by musicus »

contrabordun wrote:'Merseysider' of course emerged, blinking in the sunlight, from his chrysalis, under his real name

I must have been blinking too - I missed that.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
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musicus
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Re: Payment for organists

Post by musicus »

Right. I have split off the 'organists and communion' discussion to a new topic. Please continue to post here about paying organists.
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