Question about salary and duties

YAY!  I'm so glad I found this community!  I had no idea this was here.

Just curious if we have any Music Directors in this group.  I have a question about salary and expected job duties that go with certain salaries.  My church is trying to say that my job is 1/4 time with a $5,600 salary for next year.  Our membership is probably around 150.  My dad, who is the finance chair is arguing heavily for me that they should not expect me to work 1/4 time for that amount and they should not call the position 1/4 time.  Is there anyone in this community who knows more about this topic or could lead me to finding some official information as to what the expectations should be for church music directors?  Our music committee already has a salary chart, but no explanations as to what the duties are.

By the way, my current job description is choir director, and I get paid $50 per event.  So each Wednesday rehearsal (just 1 adult choir) I get $50 and we sing 2x a month at services, so that's a total of about $300 a month (usually more in December because we sing more).  Over the summer, I get nothing because the choir takes summer off.  Since I'm only paid per-event, they don't take taxes out for me, which is kinda rough on me (I wish they did so I wouldn't have to pay every year).  I'm broke enough as it is.  :(  Last year I think I made around $3,500 with this job (I'm a grad student and a preschool teacher part-time as well), and my job duties were just with the choir, not arranging for special music or anything like that.  Our music committee does that.  Now the question is, what job duties should I be expected to do as they (gradually) raise my wages?

Thanks in advance,


Turtle steps

Blessing of the Animals music

While I'm here, I may as well ask.

Our congregation has a "Blessing of the Animals" service coming up next month, and I'm helping with the music selections.

Have you participated in such a service? What kind of music did you do?

To give you an idea, I guess the music used at a past service (before my time) included songs like "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," and songs that were pre-recorded. We won't have a piano/organ set up for the service, unless I bring in a keyboard. But hand instruments are a possibility. I'm looking for a guitar player, but people in the congregation are shy about playing before a group.

Share your animal friendly music here.
we can't teach what we don't know

"The Great Debaters" historic music contest

I posted this before on debunkingwhite, but apparently no one was interested in getting a CD of original African American music from the '30's for free. It looks like there may as yet be only 2 winners out of 20 prizes - contest info here.

I received my CD, though I haven't seen the movie yet and hope I can find the time (I rarely go to the theater). The 14-page booklet that came with the CD tells about how Denzel Washington, who was also one of the producers, looked for authentic music for the movie. They also found artists who specialize in reproducing those sounds. It tells about the artists and a little history on each song. The last two pieces of the 17 on the CD are actually historic recordings. The last one by Marian Anderson.

If you don't want this free CD, please pass on the word to people who might be interested in historic African American music.
me working and singing

New UU YouTube Music Video

Song written and used with permission by Linda Olson Peebles. Singers are Joyce Dowling and Sharon Crestwell and pianist is Nancy Dalzell from Davies Memorial UU Church. It's not as good quality as I'd like, but I spent hours on editing it. I hope it's useful in spreading the word as I have a few web pages that are found with the terms "signed songs". The sign language is not ASL, it's PSE, otherwise known as Contact Sign or Signed English. If you like Linda's song, buy her CD.


Musical question - and a new member!

Hello everyone!

I found this community after friending redqueenofevil (*waves*), and I had just posted the following in my personal journal. I'm hoping you guys could offer some opinions.

I play piano at a small Unitarian congregation in Studio City, California. The musical director has agreed to have the choir sing hymns I've been writing/arranging.

I was reading "Home with God", a book by one of my favorite writers, Neale Donald Walsch. At the end, he has what I assumed was a poem/lyrics written by him, and as I was reading it, a melody just sort of popped into my head, as they tend to do. I ran to the piano and sketched the framework for a hymn/choral piece, and I've been idly working on it for the past week or so. I started to enter it into Sibelius yesterday with the intention of finishing it, printing the score out, and having the choir at church sing it, with me accompanying on piano, as sort of a test drive before I give them the "real" hymn I've been writing, with both words and music by me. I decided to google the lyrics quickly to see who wrote them, and it turns out it's actually a very famous song - "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha." I listened to an mp3 of Peter O'Toole singing it, and I instantly recognize the melody and music. The words fit perfectly, of course...but they also fit perfectly with the song that I wrote! Do you think they are too famous of lyrics to adapt into a new setting?

"To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star"

Keep in mind that many of the members of the choir are very old and most likely remember this song very well.

GA talk

So there has been talk on other UU forums regarding this year's General Assembly. I thought it was time to put the topic up here, especially since music was a part of GA too.

mehndi by khushi

Meeting in Portland

Hi everyone!

Those of you who are going to General Assembly and planning to sing in the choir, take heed! Seating is limited this year, so come early for the first rehearsal to guarantee a seat. Also, there's a typo in the handbook. The fee for the music (according to Leon Burke) is actually $15, not $10.

On a non music related note:

Is anyone interested in a meet-up outside of choir rehearsals? Let's go for it!

I'm 5'5 1/2", sport reddish shoulder length hair (hence my user name), glasses, and most likely, sneakers.

Oh, and I may be working at the UUMN booth in the dealer's room at some point.

How bout you?

Hope to meet you there!
me working and singing

Spreading our message with signed songs?

My personal web site gets a lot of hits for "sign songs". It's #1 or #2 on some searches for "signing songs". UUs who'd like to spread our message via the internet have suggested we do more on YouTube. So I'd be willing to spend some time trying to produce one or more videos by signing songs that would help spread the UU message. I know of several that would be good and am writing to the composers for copyright permission. I will give the artist credit and include the fact that it is copyrighted on the recording. I don't know that I'd use the musician's own recording and just sign it or if I'll sing and sign their song(s). One UU song I have performed, my husband created the instrumentation for on music writing software. If I get copyright permission to use it, I could use my digital camera and play the digitized music as background while I sing and sign. I hope that would work. Since I don't have a band or special recording equipment, does anyone have any other suggestions? The better a production it is, the more attention it would get, I guess. I would link to it from the page that gets the hits for "signing songs." It gets over 30 unique visits per week.