PipeChat Digest #674 - Tuesday, January 26, 1999
Christian Musicians - Organists
  by <WRansomeJr@aol.com>

(back) Subject: Christian Musicians - Organists From: WRansomeJr@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 03:54:19 EST   I had an interesting and somewhat upsetting conversation at a meeting tonight. Since I am new in my job I don't know everything.   I was talking to one of my choristers who is also an organist with a BM from U of Michigan. She has developed a muscle/health problem that prevents her from playing regularly and as she told me about it she started crying and it made me think about how difficult it must be for her after all her training and the fact that she so truly LOVES the organ and its music.   She is a member of the San Jose Chapter, AGO and said that she tried to get on the sub list but they wanted her to submit a tape and go through some kind of audition. I mean REALLY - She is a gifted musician, beyond her training, and is a truly Pastoral person which in my opinion is SO important in church work.   As we discussed organists and church music in the San Francisco Bay area I became a little distressed. Perhaps some of you can shed light since I am a newbie. But I have met several other Episcopal musicians and I have the impression that most of "US" are considered "snobs" and that we think that the "right music" and "right liturgy" and "right instrument" are more important than unconditional love, mutual support, and Pastoral care. Our senior warden told me our choir had the reputation of being a "choir of Nazis" and were very exclusive. That is SO FAR from the truth! I with my little degree have followed a long string of PhD's who are much better organists that I, and I have felt very supported. There are people in the choir that have been together for 25 years! What other church group can say that! We are powerful because of our numbers (30ish) and because they have been together and feel comfortable together saying what they think.   I am distressed when I hear things like this. We need to put aside our insecurities and subdue our "attitudes" which we all have, so we don't help perpetuate this. Judging from the posts tonight I hear a very high degree of "being pastoral" "putting God first" etc... If we can't support each other and our congregations in their diversity how can we expect to be supported? It will be interesting to see if our colleagues out here are as (you fill in the blank) as I have been led to believe!!   One aside: I was once told when pondering the Full-Time question - try to think of ANYTHING else that you would be happy doing, and if you can't then follow your dream. If we persevere and have our heart in the right place it will work out. I can't believe I got this job - there were more "qualified" (at least on paper) applicants. But they liked my "pastoral" nature and really I think that God was truly in the middle of the whole process. You young guys go for it and work hard - I have worked two part-time jobs and a full time secular job for about 10 years from my early college days, but I didn't give up and I really feel like I have the position of my dreams. The money (31k + benefits for a 3/4 (ha!) job) seems generous, but Silicon Valley is very expensive (housing at $1400/mo average for a small 2 bdrm. apt) but I am so happy! Also lucky since I have a significant other who also works!   Everyone knows I ramble MUCH, but these issues need to be discussed and really we need to figure how to get it out to a broader range of church goers!   Randy