Hoarders: Church Music Edition
  • The situation: You know those boxes of new music some publishers like to send three or four times a year? Well, that's been going on for a long time at my new place and we finally cancelled the subscription. Whatever you didn't use was supposed to be thrown away, only the previous music director SAVED THEM ALL. Five years worth of this crap has accumulated. Now the committee is insisting that we save this crap "just in case". I am slowly going through the hoard to see if there is anything nice we can order parts for, but I really want this stuff gone. Their excuse for keeping it is they have an empty filing cabinet and it won't be in the way. Yeah, maybe not right now but eventually it will be in the way. I DESPISE keeping unnecessary anything-especially paper. Aggggghhhh!!!!!!!!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,404
    I have some stuff bought by the previous director - she's still around but 80-ish. I don't use any of it, but when she passes on, it's "heigh-ho, heigh-ho, to the dumpster we will go..."
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 301
    Where does it say that you're supposed to throw away what you don't use?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,404
    It doesn't, and I keep the better stuff. If it is really awful, or copies of copyrighted materials - yes, some are there - I throw them out.
  • I guess they purged a lot of old stuff already, but I keep finding more and more. Like I said I'm going to go through some of it and see what is worth keeping, but the rest of it needs to disappear. Somehow. Eventually...The least of my concerns at the moment, actually...
  • The best solution is not to ask - just (as they say) 'toss it'.
    If anyone asks where it is you can always borrow the words of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who would always say when someone asked for the return of her silver tea pot or another such item (which just might be sitting right there in plain view) 'why, I haven't seen it'. Her majesty was notorious for 'borrowing' stuff.
    Thanked by 1FidemInFidebus
  • Haha that's a good idea. For the sake of time I will probably just take it all to the "dump cabinet" and slowly chip away at it from there. At the very least I need it out of my sight lol
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,789
    One piece at a time....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,404
    One of my friends in a Methodist church had numerous scores of choir favorites, but really bad music. When they renovated the church and choir room, all the music was boxed up for storage. She put all the garbage scores in a box and somehow it "mysteriously" disappeared. To this day, choir members will mention that they wish that box could be found. LOL.
  • Wow, i would love to be send New music instead of searching for it on the net.
  • The subscription we cancelled was with Brentwood and Benson. $80/year and they'll send you all kinds of stuff you'll never use.
  • I just started at a new parish. Did an inventory of the choir music. Didn't toss anything except illegal copies (which still freed up a drawer).

    But even though I didn't throw out much, I'm not 100% sure what a prior music director was thinking when they ordered "What the World Needs Now Is Love." Just think: in the same Mass, they could have gone from Bach to Bacharach.
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,023
    I guess that's like going from Fasch to Fascisti....
  • Ah, I forgot about the Handel's Messiah problem. There are roughly a dozen different copies/versions of the Hallelujah Chorus all jumbled together, along with a very old Schirmer score of the whole thing. (Sadly, that old score is the only piece of "classical" music in the library.) I'm thinking of purchasing a nice edition and stashing the rest away.
  • It's seldom Bacharach, Tim. It's Offenbach.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,298
    Ah, a rookie mistake, asking permission.

    The question to ask oneself is how long you expect to stay and whether the next director might have use for them, "just in case". I dropped by after leaving my first church job to retrieve some nice sets of Purcell, Monteverdi & Schütz from the dumpster; I've also enquired of a predecessor why I could only find well-marked single copies of Mendelssohn and been told "Oh, no one does that anymore."
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,285
    This doesn't apply in this particular instance, but... again .... ho much music of genuine historical (and maybe musical) value was dumpstered after Vatican II?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • @Jeffery Quick: Do you really think titles like "EXTREME worship for Youth Choir,
    Volume 99" will have historical value?! Lmao.

    @Richard Mix: that's a good point and probably the reason the committee (ah yes that FAVORITE group of people..) wants to keep it. I give myself two years in this position and the reason is because we will be relocating once my husband finishes his degree program and gets another job.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 171
    Speaking as a researcher; I go round a lot of old churches looking for music, good, bad, whatever. Sometimes I find interesting stuff mouldering away in cupboards, but all too often I hear 'oh but we threw it out years ago'. Frustrating, especially when I visit a church that is known to have had a good reputation for music in the past. At one church an old chap was almost in tears as he told me how all the plainchant and polyphonic motets were thrown away after Vatican II.
    Maybe we should keep all this new stuff somewhere so that researchers of the future can see just how awful some of it was.