What do you call...?
  • I lead a big schola / small choir in the DC area. We aren't attached to any parish but sing when we can, at adoration services primarily but sometimes at masses, for Lessons & Carols, etc.

    When we have an opportunity to sing, we jokingly call it a "gig," but sometimes we wonder if these is a better term.

    Any suggestions? Is anything standard?

    MG
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    Gig is musician slang for a performance opportunity. Most "commercial" musicians expect to be paid for them. Some get their noses bent out of shape over the word, but among us it seems rather harmless since we know what each other means.
  • I absolutely loathe the habit of some (even some surprisingly fine church musicians) church musicians who use the abhorrent term, 'gig', in reference to the masses, sacred concerts, offices, nuptials, funerals, and any and all other church related engagements. This is trashy, irreverent, thoughtless, not smart, not cute, not anything but a cretinesque failure to respect one's engagement to offer sacred music for sacred rites. If one considers his or her engagement in sacred rites one of these 'gigs' he or she is in the wrong profession, and has no understanding of the sacred musician's vocation.

    What is wrong with saying that one is playing or singing for a mass, a funeral, a wedding, sacred concert, recital, etc.?
    These are not entertainers' gigs.

    One might logically assume that any who say they are doing 'gigs' at church are representative of those varieties of sacro-pop-rock-jazz-faux folk combos and singers whom we might well refer to as religious entertainers.

    Genuine Church Musicians do not do 'gigs'.
  • stulte
    Posts: 267
    Genuine Church Musicians do not do 'gigs'.


    Eh, well, I can see how the use of the term in this context can have overtones similar to "hireling". Still, it doesn't necessarily mean that throughout the country.
  • MG:

    I'm in Charles' camp. I tell my musicians that we take the music seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously. As far as I'm concerned, "gig" is fine. As long as your group is prepared and able, shows up on time, and sings reverently and well, you're good.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    The more formal synonym for the colloquial "gig" is "engagement" ... an arrangement to meet or be present at a specified time and place, or a job or period of employment especially as a performer. The term "gig" seems to have arisen in the 1920s.
  • MG_PBS,

    I would avoid "gig", myself. It reminds me too much of the word "thing". If I have a Granny Smith and a Golden Delicious, I have two apples. If I have a Siamese and a Shih Tzu, I have either two animals or two pets. I could have two quadrupeds if that were a useful distinction. If I have a Vulcan and a Romulan, I have two sentient life forms..... and then the categories break down. If I have a Siamese cat and a Venus fly trap...... I don't really have two of the same kind, and it's unhelpful to describe Lessons and Carols, Mass and Adoration as of the same kind. One is a Carol Service. One is Adoration (or Benediction) and one is the Mass.

    I encourage you to avoid the ubiquitous Occamrazorification of the language.
  • In a different life, I played quite a few engagements, which my companions and I invariably called 'gigs'. In the circles I ran in at the time, the word connoted a purely commercial arrangement with a lack of any long-term commitment from either party (which does not mean that we failed to take our duty to perform well seriously).

    I don't have strong heart-felt objections to using it in this context, but I wouldn't use it myself; it feels wrong to me, and if I heard others using it in this way, I'm sure it would sound odd to me, and maybe a little irreverent (perhaps just a function of my own history with the term).
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    Calm down Jackson. Relax and have a cup of tea while your tricorn hat is being blocked and your wig powdered.

    I play in the same place every Sunday for masses and almost never play anywhere else. That is not a gig, it's a job. I think of gigs as essentially travelling musicians who may work one place this week, somewhere else the next. Some musicians make a living doing that. All of those engagements may not be in sacred places or in worship settings you would even consider Christian, except in the broadest sense of the term. Are those gigs? Probably.

    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,264
    I'm not opposed to the word "gig," but I agree with Jackson that using the individual names works well.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    I personally wouldn't call singing in a church setting a "gig," whether for pay or as a volunteer. It trivializes the purpose of the music. Also, if you have a group of musicians, the level of reverence among them will inevitably vary and the less serious in your group may interpret your use of "gig" in a way you do not wish. Singing sacred music is not a job, it is a calling and a privilege. You may be paid for playing, but that is more a honorarium.

    Other venues may have gigs, but church is not really a venue.
  • We call our events the "quickening". A bunch of us show up instinctually to sing for a mass, and by the time all's said (sung?) and done, someone has their head chopped off.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW tsoapm
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    We call our events the "quickening". A bunch of us show up instinctually to sing for a mass, and by the time all's said (sung?) and done, someone has their head chopped off.


    We'll have no such levity in the meeting house. Is outrage! This calls for time in the stocks.

    If I wasn't able to laugh at the craziness in church every week, I probably couldn't stand to work there. Lord, your people are by and large, nuts. You have to have a divine sense of humor.

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Etymologically speaking, I regard "gig" as corollary to playing a "casual," an older jazz idiomatic term. That said, there's nothing casual about serving Christ's Church. When a "child" I spoke as a child, when a man......
  • ...someone has their head chopped off.

    (Perhaps Stimson is intending to be amusing???)

    I never cease to be amazed at those who utter (or write) such locutions without laughing at themselves - or being giggled at by others. Stimson needn't feel embarrassed. One reads such grammatically oxymoronic constructions even in what purports to be scholarly books and journals. All for to avoid at all costs the recently offensive pronoun, 'his'. (Don't like 'his'? Then use 'her' - or both.)

    What is even more amazing is that when the incongruity and senselessness of the construction is pointed out, there will be a predictable coterie of champions of poor English (not to mentions PC police) jump in in defence of their so-called 'plural singular' or 'singular plural', pointing out that it has a very long pedigree - which only proves that we have always had amongst us those who don't think about what they are saying - or actually prefer mangled English. No doubt their contributions in defense of nonsense will appear soon.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    According to the idiot who reigns in Canada, we are supposed to say, "peoplekind," instead of, "mankind." The Church of Sweden has gone nuts and wont even refer to God as "He." The whole world has gone crazy, he, she, and them. If Stimson had said, "his" instead of "their," the politically correct would have been protesting in front of his house.
  • What is even more amazing is that when the incongruity and senselessness of the construction is pointed out, there will be a predictable coterie of champions of poor English (not to mentions PC police) jump in in defence of their so-called 'plural singular' or 'singular plural', pointing out that it has a very long pedigree - which only proves that we have always had amongst us those who don't think about what they are saying - or actually prefer mangled English.


    No, it merely demonstrates that language--even formal language--is fluid. (I used to be a copy editor for a major metropolitan newspaper, so I used to deal with this every day, and I still edit from time to time.) You'll note, for example, that the English language of Colonial times is far different from the language we have now. As linguists will tell you, that's not necessarily good or bad; it's just normal. As long as people understand each other, that's what's most important. (And I say this as someone who doesn't prefer the singular "they.") But standard bearers of style such as the Associated Press have concluded that the singular "they" is common enough and well enough understood that they won't consider it nonstandard.

    There are a lot of grammar "rules" that were largely made up out of thin air -- for example, the idea that you can't end a sentence with a preposition.

    Now, I think "peoplekind" is silly. But you never know when something that a politician says strikes a chord and makes it into the lexicon. After all, three years ago, whoever heard of "fake news?" (And that it often refers not to actual made-up news, but factual news a politician doesn't like.) But now it's going to be a popular phrase for a while.
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    Sounds like the Russians were behind it.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,178
    I expect Charles is teasing and that he quite aware the English word is "humankind".

    As for singular "they", if it's good enough for Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens and Shaw, how much of one's agenda can one hope to hitch onto 'logic'?
    Thanked by 3CharlesW CHGiffen Liam
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    ... the idea that you can't end a sentence with a preposition.


    Although that is something people might put up with, that is an idea up with which I do not intend to put.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Chuck, do you give preposition enders the what for?
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Blaise
  • >> Lord, your people are by and large, nuts.

    Oh yeah!
    thanks, CW, I needed a good laugh.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW

  • interesting to read that there is such a thing as a singular 'they'. the things you can learn from this forum.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Of course we all know that language is fluid. That's hardly news, is it? Fluidity is what got us from Chaucer to Cranmer, to Shakespeare and Spencer, to Dickens and Chesterton, etc. Most of the time this means that a word comes to mean the opposite of what it meant, that sentences get ended with 'with', subtle or not-so-subtle developments in syntax arise, and other such altogether hilariously illogical Heinz 57s as the singular plural, which some will attempt to gentrify by dubbing it The Singular Plural. Still, it was predictable that the FA (fluidity argument) would try an outflanking maneuvre. Ditto the FAS (famous author syndrome) which, presumably, makes sense out of nonsense (voila!) - sort of like the composition student who shreeks, 'but Dr Dalrymple, Bach used parallel fifths!' (only to be reminded that he or she [but not they] was not Bach). The truth is that people use these sloppy nonsenses not because Shakespeare did, but because they like them, they're fashionable, because 'everyone' does, and because they don't want to be different, or because they are afraid of the PC police, or they are skittish about possible offense to members of the opposite sex who are standing by with a feminist chip on their shoulders, or that they simply don't prefer to think out a sentence that makes sense so will make do with whatever the patois du jour prescribes. Of all these, I suspect that fear of the PC people is most prevalent, even amongst those who aren't well disposed to PC-ness, and that imitating Shakespeare is the farthest thing from their minds. This is, after all, an age of increasing illiteracy and cultural decay, and bestowing a tonsure of legitimacy upon bastard grammar is but one more evidence of it. The only thing that's fluid in this case is the organ of rational thought.

    As for the Swedes (and plenty of Americans!) not referring to God as 'he', has anyone noticed that the PC people are not at all bothered about always referring to the Devil as 'he'? Tell me that there isn't a glaring gender bias at work here, just as gender erasure is behind the so-called 'singular they'. Ditto, criminals are in ordinary speech always presumed to be hims.
    Thanked by 2Blaise Carol
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,178
    That's no feminist chip on your shoulders, but then we can always make allowances for someone tired from a long weekend of gigging.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Ha!
    What humour!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    I have never been PC and tell the offended to live with it. I once heard political correctness defined as good intentions gone to a laughable extreme. Sounds accurate enough. As far as language goes, it isn't frozen in time and neither is music. Both "develop" and go their own individual ways, whether anyone likes it or not. The young seem to eternally have a knack for inventing new words and music and deliberately doing the opposite of their elders.

    ...but then we can always make allowances for someone tired from a long weekend of gigging.


    Too funny! Jackson could write a book titled, "Gigging for Fun and Profit: The Life of a Serial Gigger."


    Thanked by 1Carol
  • I would like to point out a few things:

    1. It was NOT the token "trad" who was quibbling about the niceties of language this time,
    2. We refer to ourselves using the pluralis majestatis frequently, so we don't see what the big deal is,
    3. This discussion really seems to have brought out the Strunk and White in Chickson,
    and finally,
    4. I was making a Highlander joke, for crying out loud!!! Do you expect King's English?

    You guys - oops, sorry, "carbon based units" - are reading way too much meaning into this. There's no such meaning, I promise. I know that proper grammar is important, yes, and all my culture warrior friends at home berate me about this as well. Something about Professor Jordan Peterson has just set them off on this topic.

    Well, it's worn me out. Call me anti-semantic, I don't care. Novus Ordo people call me that all the time. (...or am I perhaps getting mixed up?)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,140
    Everyone will ride their grammatical hobbyhorses.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Anti-semantic!! I love that phrase and can't wait for an opportunity to use it.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • It's perfidiously delightful, isn't it?
    Thanked by 2Carol eft94530
  • stulte
    Posts: 267
    When everyone l know learns to answer the question, "How are you?" with "I'm well" instead of "I'm good", it will be glorious!
  • I completely misunderstood the topic of this thread.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    Whoopee ti yi yo, gig along little dogies

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    [Reclassifying this thread under "Amusements".]
  • Is the Picardy third not merely a Baroque PC concept, after all?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659

    Everything about Baroque after WW II is fake news.

  • This calls for time in the stocks


    Charles, I don't really trust stocks can it be time in bonds instead?
    Thanked by 2Carol nun_34
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    No, interest rates are rising.
    Thanked by 2bhcordova Carol
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,264
    Not stocks.

    Bouillon.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • When everyone l know learns to answer the question, "How are you?" with "I'm well" instead of "I'm good", it will be glorious!


    Up here in Minnesota this question is not intended to evoke a response, just a shrug and maybe a "Can't complain," after gigging along our horses, pardon me, hoarse voices at Sunday Mass.
  • time in the stock(s), or in "gold buillon" (chicken apparently)...

    either way you're in the soup.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,140
    But don't stew over it.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • an event? a choral event? a choral oblation/ offering? a sing? or you can stop using a noun with adjective and stick to verbs and adverbs ie describe what you are doing: like Singing at Vespers.
  • Genuine Church Musicians do not do 'gigs'.

    That's because Genuine Musicians, when doing gigs, expect to be paid.
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    I misunderstood the above comment at first, and was feeling slighted for having been cantor today without being paid. When I do secular "gigs" it is often for pay. For tomorrow's funeral, I will received a check. For Sunday Mass no check. Hoping for eternal reward, though. Organists seem to get paid everywhere, but singers only get paid in some big choirs.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Carol, come sing at my parish. After I retired, and having also retired our 26 year volunteer schola, they've hired nine choral singers from our Comm. College, and two or three cantors.
    Thanked by 2Carol CHGiffen
  • Carol
    Posts: 625
    Wow, did they HIRE singers because the volunteers retired? I have sung in my parish since I was a teenager. My mother also sang at Mass for many years. Many of my brothers also sing at Mass where they live. If we move someday and really retire, I plan to "audition" parishes to find the best music I can.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I prefer "engagements" to "gigs".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    I prefer "engagements" to "gigs".


    I don't think I have ever used those terms for myself. I just call it work.
  • I don't think I have ever used those terms for myself. I just call it work.


    On Sunday? For shame.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW