Church Music Program Budget
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709
    I am preparing a budget for the coming year and would like to have your input on categories, expenses, projected expenses, monies for growth. If you could ask for the sky, what would your line items be and how much would you ask for? Some of you may have budgets you are willing to share with me. Thank you in advance.

  • The Sky, you say???
    These are a few of the more important possible expenses that come to mind -
    1) At least $10-15,000 for new music for the parish choir - more if there are multiple choirs
    2) Paid section leaders for weekly rehearsals, Sundays and Solemnities
    (depending on locale salaries could vary, but might resemble $125 & up per person per ocassion
    3) Paid instrumentalists for desired major feasts (union rates may vary depending on locale - suitably talented students may be more 'reasonable')
    4) Two or more organ tunings per year, and projected maintainance
    5) Basic (non-extravagant) office needs
    6) Paid attendance at one or more professional colloquia/conventions, or monastic retreat
    7) Fees for guest recitalists if you have a recital series
    8) Anticipated music or textual reproduction fees
    9) Perhaps a retreat, or a choral workshop, for the choir (these can do wonders for choir morale and personal growth)
    10) ....
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709

    That is a great list to go on. It confirms my own thinking as it is about the same list I have chewing on in my mind. Thanks.
  • MJO's list is very complete and ambitious--as indeed our music programs should be.
    Perhaps equal in importance to a comprehensive funding wish-list is a careful, strategic ordering of priorities.
    I always think of this as having two stages: (1) a pragmatic formal request that indicates which things are being defered and (2) a tacet set of fall-back positions.

    In my own parish, I put the purchase of new music near the bottom of the list.
    I rely extensively on CPDL scores and my own personal choral library compiled over 30 years.
    Indeed, in two years I've had the parish buy only two or three sets of octavos.
    Our only substantial purchase has been a set of choir editions of the Saint Michael Hymnal.

    I'm a big advocate of concentrating funding on section-leader stipends. They drastically raise a choir's horizons and make for a much more pleasant and rewarding experience for the parish volunteer singers. In 25 years I've only had to fire one paid chorister for being a snot to the other singers. And by declaring in my job ads that we do no Haugen, Haas, Saint L Jesuits, etc., I have been fortunate enough to get mostly Catholic singers--a moderate rarity.

    Definitely work to offload as many costs as possible to other parts of the parish budget: organ maintenance to building/grounds; expenses for First Communion, etc. to religious education; Easter and Christmas expenses (at least partially) to the special offerings/flower slush funds; singer stipends to the personnel/salaries. Parish accountants often (innocently) think that any expense related to the music director should be charged to the music budget: don't let this happen!
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    Very interesting discussion. As husband to "cantor", I never realized to think of this.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709
    Excellent points Daniel. Minimize line expenses. Love that strategem! Perhaps you would consider being my consultant!