Full-time Music Director Shreveport
  • Music Director
    Liturgist and Musician

    The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, Louisiana, seeks a full-time Liturgist and Musician to serve as a Music Director. Candidate must be a practicing Roman Catholic and have a degree in liturgy and music or related field with some parish experience.

    Strong organ skills are required. Conducting experience with all age groups along with familiarity with the sacred vocal and choral literature is important.

    The ideal candidate will have experience with traditional sacred Catholic music, sacred polyphony, Gregorian chant and organ. The successful candidate will be responsible for many aspects of the liturgy and will assist in training and scheduling of choirs and cantors and liturgical ministers, selecting music for liturgies, and communicating with the heads of other ministries under the direction of the pastor. Computer skills are important.

    This Cathedral Parish of approximately 800 families (and pre-3 - 8 grade school) offers competitive salary commensurate with experience (plus health and retirement benefits). The current Cathedral pipe organ is a 1993 Visser-Rowland. Please direct inquiries about the position to: Father Peter Mangum Email at: rector@sjbcathedral.org

    Cathedral of St John Berchmans
    939 Jordan Street
    Shreveport LA 71101
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    And just when I begin to consider relocating.
  • Please direct any questions to Fr. Mangum at rector@sjbcathedral.org.
  • Janet Gorbitz -

    Please do not think I am rude for saying this - I really mean no disrespect to you whatsoever - and I apolagize to everyone else if this is not the appropriate forum for this conversation - but is there any reason that you are the contact person for this position?

    What I mean is this: many on here, including myself, will be extremely leary of a position for which a lay woman is the contact person (or a lay man for that matter). Why is the pastor not the contact person? By having a job contact individual such as yourself, it seems to suggest that the position will be answering to you; many of us do not see that as an attractive situation. The director of music should answer to the pastor, and in a cathedral, to the bishop as well.

    Please do NOT take this as an attack on you. But for me, it does raise a few questions.
  • I am glad you asked. The pastor is not a member of the forum, although he is very supportive of all the CMAA does and is hoping to get someone with like attitudes to apply for this position. I was the schola director (volunteer) at this parish prior to moving to Ft. Worth. He asked me to post this for wider dissemination among the Sacred Music world. There is also a posting on the "Classifieds" and he is the person to contact directly. You can send him and email at: rector@sjbcathedral.org

    You can also see the classifieds listing here: http://musicasacra.com/classifieds/detail.php?id=15

    You can also check out the cathedral website at: www.sjbcathedral.org

    I apologize for any confusion my posting the information may have caused. If you wish to contact me outside of this public forum, my email address is on the member page.

  • PS. Please contact Fr. Mangum for any specific questions about the position.
  • Janet -

    Thank you for your excellant reply - and thank you for not being offended.

    The job sounds great. I would be interested, but I have just accepted another position that I am slated to begin in about a month. Sounds like a good place though.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    this seems to be a tempting position. i went to school at nearby centenary college which (at the time) had a very good organ department (2 profs and 10 plus majors-not bad for a school which boasted under a thousand total students.) Now unfortunately theres just one "adjunct" teacher (who im told is very good) and one student.
    Also, has shreveport improved as a city? back in the 70s it was a pretty desolate backwater.
    I went to church at St. Johns (before the "renovation" and it was a beautiful church where people still kneeled to go to communion (this was back in 1975 or so.)
  • We lived in the area for about 3 years... floated up there with many other Katrina evacuees and ended up staying. We thought the city was very nice... not having been there prior to that, I can't compare. It didn't really seem like a desolate backwater to me at all. There is a city symphony, opera. Centenary still has a very nice music program; their Suzuki program for kids is outstanding (both my boys participated until we left). In fact, the Centenary choir has come to sing a number of times as a guest choir at SJB.

    The church kept portions of the altar rail during the renovation and the high altar is completely intact and quite lovely. There is discussion about getting a better organ in the near future... don't know any details about it. There are many talented singers in the cathedral choir and many friendly people in the parish. It isn't the largest parish in the diocese, but probably the most traditional in attitudes and particularly in music style (just my opinion). There is no folk band or Life Teen Mass there. The church sits between Loyola High School and the k-8 St. John Berchmans school.

    One thing that must be a change from your time there would be the influx of big casinos. Along the Red River, there are quite a few large ones there now. I can't say they had any impact on our family at all, since we only went there for a few military functions when large venues were needed for feeding a bunch of people at once. I am guessing the tax revenues must have improved correspondingly...

    Overall, we really liked it there and were sorry to leave.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    thank you so much for your description. I have heard great things comming from your end for some time now. Congrats on all you have done! This truly sounds like a dream position!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,815
    Tonight, Father Mangum was con-celebrating a Mass here in Wyoming at our parish and I had the honor of meeting and speaking with him for a good while. From what I ascertain, they are looking to continue to grow an excellent RC music program.
  • Has the incumbent musician been notified that this postion is being advertised? An organist choir master has held a positon at St. John Berchman's Cathedral for many years. Has this musician resigned or been notified that a new person is desired? I would advise caution until the matter of the incumbent music director/organist is resolved with the Cathedral Rector.
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to post an anonymous comment.

    Kenneth Thevenet
    Director of Liturgy and Music
    St. Aloysius Catholic Church
    Baton Rouge, LA
  • Kenneth,

    This is a new position, added to the staff in addition to the present organist, I understand.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,302
    kenthev's caution sounds well placed.

    In a college where I once worked, I saw a couple of departments "create a new position" above incumbents, in effect demoting them. In both cases, the incumbents left, and turnover spiked.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I've seen the opposite result to chonak's in these cases. The incumbent digs in, refuses to disappear as desired, and the new hire starts looking for another position within 6 months or less.
  • Per Fr. Mangum: "The incumbent helped write the position description"
  • In helping write the position, was the "incumbent" informed that the position was to be advertised as "Music Director" or Assistant Music Director as you so stated at the beginning of your starting this forum?
  • This position sounds very intriguing but (my) perceived subtext of the comments is beginning to send up some red flags and would certainly cause me to think twice about applying--does anyone know the full story here? Is it a story of the incumbent director of music wanting less responsibilities/duties and working to ensure a qualified candidate is hired or is there something more worrisome happening?
  • Probably better to just contact Fr. Mangum with any questions and/or concerns... rector@sjbcathedral.org
  • Janet's right....all this supposing is casting a shadow over the plain reality that there is a position open. Anyone who really wants to know what is going on should apply for the job and ask questions as needed.

    Otherwise it's just:
    gossip |ˈgäsəp|
    casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true : he became the subject of much local gossip.
    • chiefly derogatory a person who likes talking about other people's private lives.
    verb ( -siped |ˈgɑsəpt|, -siping |ˈgɑsəpɪŋ|) [ intrans. ]
    engage in gossip : they would start gossiping about her as soon as she left.
    gossiper |ˈgɑsəpər| noun
    gossipy |ˈgɑsəpi| adjective
    ORIGIN late Old English godsibb [godfather, godmother, baptismal sponsor,] literally [a person related to one in God,] from god ‘God’ + sibb ‘a relative’ (see sib ). In Middle English the sense was [a close friend, a person with whom one gossips,] hence [a person who gossips,] later (early 19th cent.) [idle talk] (from the verb, which dates from the early 17th cent.).
  • Since I did not start this "gossip" forum and I find the silence in answering my above question to be deafening, I will make up my own mind with God's help and make my escape with this quote for all to ponder:
    "The training in singing, to sing in a chorus, is not only an exercise of external listening and of the voice; it is also training for interior listening, listening with the Heart, an exercise in training for life and for peace.".....Pope Benedict XVI
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Michael2 - If you are considering applying for the position, why don't you call the parish and ask them directly rather than count on others who have 'heard through the grapevine'. Otherwise it is all just gossip.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,302
    I don't know that the talk here constitutes gossip, really. I'd consider it speculation. :-)

    But in any case, it makes perfect sense to ask about concerns directly if one is interested in applying.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    This is not gossip, it's sharing. Sharing is good. You know, better to be forewarned...
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Enough, already.

    Janetgorbitz posted what we should all take on its face as a perfectly legitimate job opening, replete with the correct contact information.

    Beginning with Paix's question, a door of "speculation" regarding the legitimacy of this posting was opened, and so began the swift decline into whispers, hints and allegations that there was something "suspect" about this posting, which to my mind borders on calumny against Janetgorbitz as she was questioned and re-questioned directly and indirectly about why she was involved, what did the incumbent know, etc.

    I think we all owe Janet, the rector of the cathedral and the incumbent our apologies for casting such a cloud over what was more likely an innocent exercise in presenting an employment opportunity to what is supposed to be a group of people rooted in charity and patience and committed to the building up of the Church through her liturgy and music.

    Not even the AGO or NPM engage in this kind of controversy publicly. Let's raise the bar back up to where it belongs and let this issue drop.

    If you're interested in knowing more, contact the parish or find out a way to access the local grapevine, but don't use this forum to do it!
  • David -

    I'm sorry to disagree with you, but I believe this conversation was necessary and legitimate. Had any of the issues raised been valid, they certainly would not have been disclosed in the interview process. Especially in this day and age, we must be careful with prospective employment.

    If a job opens in my diocese and I am interested in it, you had better bet that I will ask everyone and anyone who may have some "inside knowledge" of the details what those details are. That, as I see it, is responsible on my part. The parish will do the same about the applicant. This is also responsible.

    To have this discussion on this forum simply opens the scope a bit wider. I don't think any violence was done to Janet, the rector, or the incumbant. Rather, a number of us, based upon our experience, saw a few details that we found to be consistant with problems in the past, and we raised those questions.

    I'm sorry, but I don't see any problem with that.
  • PaixGioiaAmor,

    Having just deleted a long, rambling response to your post, let me say that I feel that the comments implied things that did color people's perceptions of the position.

    And, for those who made those comments,members of this list will remember those comments and prospective employers in the future may wonder before hiring a person who might voice such comments....so while you may be right that Janet, the rector, or the incumbent may not have been harmed, those who made comments may find themselves slightly scarred.

    As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,815

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your Pogo comment. We are not the enemy. The enemy is Satan and his evil cohort. We are tempted to sin and can participate in the enemy's plan, but we are definitely not the enemy.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "If a job opens in my diocese and I am interested in it, you had better bet that I will ask everyone and anyone who may have some "inside knowledge" of the details what those details are."

    The problem, Paix, is that this is not the forum for that. Whether or not such questions constitute "gossip", it's still a wise thing to ask, yes. But the purpose of this forum is not rumors or grilling employers, it's the advancement of sacred music. I fully encourage everyone to do detective work, but this isn't the place for it. Why?

    "I don't think any violence was done to Janet, the rector, or the incumbant."

    But violence was done to them. These are not abstract people in a hypothetical situation, these are real flesh and blood human beings created by God. The questions asked raised the possibility that someone may have acted in an unethical manner. How are we to speak of our neighbor? Allow me to quote Luther's Small Catechism, which puts it simply and succinctly: "We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything." At the very least, the comments above fail at the positive requirement to put the best construction on everything. Failing to do so is a sin according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well (I forget the term).

    Let me repeat myself: be suspicious. Especially if you have heard something. But do NOT deal with it in a public forum. To do so affects the reputations of real people, and Christ calls us to better behavior with each other.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I know this is [sink} thread and was pretty controversial, but for the future reference I'd like to ask you a question. If my parish is looking for a MD and I want to help to hire someone who is with sacred music, I might want to ask here, even if the parish advertises in other places. Simply because this is the place where you can find many musicians who are in promoting sacred music. But of course I would not have all the details of hiring or problems, if there's any that I don't know. Should we not do that anymore, advertising as an individual for the parish?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Mia: in that case, you should ask your priest's permission and post the details with his contact information, and if you like, yours so that people can ask more detailed questions.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, Gavin, but that's what most people do here , I believe Janet too. And that's what I'll do too. But I'm afraid you can still get into trouble just for helping. I think we are still missing something here. I'm just asking for the future.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    Unlike some other forums, we don't have the ability to discuss things privately. That would be a nice feature to have. Unfortunately what we discuss can be viewed by anyone. However, I don't think you can know too much before accepting any position. There are plenty of complaining, unhappy musicians out there who didn't do their homework and ended up in postions for which they are totally unsuited. It happens every day.