Vacation guilt
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    I agree that if you have not tried it, standing up and singing in front of others can be daunting, out of 140 people there surely would be some willing to practice.
    However - in the mid-90s I pointed out to the rector of the parish I then lived in, that GIRL said the Alleluia must be sung, or omitted. He came back to me with 'Your right!' and evidently told the lectors that they had to sing "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia" to the mode 6 tune; they all did, and still do, Sundays and weekdays at all masses I have been to, it has become 'what we do', and the congregations respond well.
    Thanked by 2Liam LauraKaz
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,987
    "So - unless you are in a large professional musical team, ensure that people can fall back on these simple resources, it is always possible to be involved in a traffic accident on your way to church, have a contingency plan which people know how to deploy."

    This should be part of every MD's mission.

    Instrumentalists are often (in my day, typically) schooled in being required in rehearsals to play alone in the presence of the entire band/orchestra, and getting less freaked out by it. (Heck, junior-ranking members of an instrumental section could challenge the first/principal; the band/orchestral equivalent of a duel.) It's a shame that many choristers, by contrast, have never been given the practical opportunity to overcome their anxieties about it.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 562
    It's a shame that many choristers, by contrast, have never been given the practical opportunity to overcome their anxieties about it.


    The question is, in a small or under-resourced parish, where most of even the choir hardly knows how to read music, where the choir is small and populated entirely by volunteers, where the DM position is part-time and underpaid, when the DM works another full time job, where most of the congregation is apathetic as to the nature of Sunday's music, and where the pastor is ambivalent about or outright hostile toward a traditional music program, how does one reasonably create a confident choir member or two who can grab up the Graduale Simplex and lead the ordinaries and propers acapella? Most if not all of these factors are a reality in a great many mainstream parishes. They certainly were in mine.
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,756
    It's a shame that many choristers, by contrast, have never been given the practical opportunity to overcome their anxieties about it.

    Mine are given plenty of opportunity to sing in front of the choir/congregation. I can count on one hand the number who have taken me up on it in 4 years, and three of those souls are high schoolers.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    It's a shame that many choristers, by contrast, have never been given the practical opportunity to overcome their anxieties about it.
    Always look on the bright side of covid, tadum, tadumtadumtadum...
    Seriously: when we had to sing in groups of no more than two of three during the pandemy, we had finally more than ten choir members taking their turns in singing (at) Mass. Before, no more than two or three who would dare to sing in any way that their individual voice might be audible to the congregation.
  • Carol
    Posts: 854
    The little mission church in my parish was very accustomed to singing hymns unaccompanied. There were 4 gentlemen who rotated as lectors for the Masses and they would announce the hymn and start off and the 30 or 40 parishioners who were present would immediately join in. These gentlemen were not really singers, but the expectation to sing had been well established and so everyone present did their part.

    I am a long-time cantor at my church and sing for most of the funerals as well. I also perform with a secular trio. The music director/organist and Father want the entrance antiphon chanted a capella during Lent. I do it but it makes me more nervous than anything else I do all year long! It is a matter of practice, as I found it a little easier this year than last.
    Thanked by 2Jani ServiamScores
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,175
    You could be over here in Krakow studying Polish. You could be in Portland, Maine, going to the Kotzschmar Organ crawl (inside it!) and hearing James Kennerley play it. Maybe even playing it some yourself.
  • Chonak,

    I'm being incredibly thick. What does your post have to do with the rest of the thread? (I assume that it does, and I'm being serious about being dense.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,175
    It's addressed to Salieri.
  • Very sensible suggestions, now that I've understood what you're proposing. Thank you for clarifying.

  • hcmusicguy
    Posts: 63
    I've never had a problem taking my vacations, 3 weeks a year. I have a list of trusted substitute keyboardists and I send out a plea to them if I have time off coming up. They always come through, and all have church music credentials and/or experience. My choir sings every other weekend Sept. thru May, and off in the summer. If one of their weekends falls when I'm on vacation, we move them to a different weekend. I suspect most parishioners aren't keeping track of when the choir is and isn't there. It's pretty much been this way the entire 14 years I've been doing church music professionally. I make no apologies to anyone for taking my vacation time, especially now since I have three small children at home. My family and personal time is very important to me. Those of you who never take vacation time (assuming such is offered to you), I commend your dedication to our vocation, but you need to have the opportunity for rest, rejuvination, recharge, and prayer.

  • Cmanfro
    Posts: 18
    And then there’s the full-time director who WANTS & NEEDS to restore & refresh, but the pastor restricts vacation. According to diocesan human resources & parish employee handbook, I am entitled to 3 weeks vacation.
    Now, it is my understanding, that ‘vacation’ is time off from when you work - yes?
    Well, pastor will permit days off, but only two Saturdays & two Sundays the entire year. I am the only musician & he doesn’t permit subs for ANY reason
    (Even missed my first grandchild’s Baptism. “Work around it - church comes first.”)
    Anyway, back to vacation: any advice or thoughts? Is it fair & proper that my 3 weeks of vacation should include 3 weekends? Many thanks - I have great respect for all of you!
  • The irony of "work around the baptism because Church comes first". .....
  • Three solid weeks (including Sundays) paid vacation are standard. Four weeks if you've been there for more than five years. A sub in your absence is standard. Your priest is abusing you.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,152
    Don't ask, tell.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    The parish is required to follow Diocesan directives regarding things like this, which usually are in line with state law. My Diocese only permits two weeks unpaid vacation for lay employees, plus Christmas and Easter (which, obviously, doesn't pertain to musicians), and the usual federal holidays.

    So check with the Diocesan HR people, they might be able to help you.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,034
    Urgh. IMHO, Salieri, you should get three other days since, like Christmas, January 1 is also a holy day and sometimes a day where you ordinarily play even if the parish doesn't do music if it falls from Tuesday to Friday, and you should be allowed to take them at any time of the year, not just the days closest to the holiday on which you had to play.

    Honestly though, we should big or go home with five weeks of paid vacation, including two weeks where you have to take it all at once, so you're off for ten work days, which for most people would be two weekends plus an extra Friday or Monday.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • (Even missed my first grandchild’s Baptism. “Work around it - church comes first.”)
    Anyway, back to vacation: any advice or thoughts? Is it fair & proper that my 3 weeks of vacation should include 3 weekends? Many thanks - I have great respect for all of you!


    How many weekends a year does your priest get off? I know a musician who in his retirement year actually got Christmas Eve and Day off.

    We church musicians so rarely get to take a vacation, let alone have any kind of weekend (meaning two days back to back off) with funerals, meetings, rehearsals, weddings, etc....

    The way I've handled the Holiday hours is I put on the time sheet (I know, I know I'm exempt but still have a time sheet) the actual hours I work, and add the "holiday" hours to that total so on Christmas Eve and Day I end up with about 32 or more hours worked those two days and then just adjust my schedule for the rest of that week. When Christmas is on a Monday it is essentially 40 hours worked in two days.

    The bigger issue I am having is while quality substitutes are rare to come by, the HR people of the Diocese essentially demand each person who gets a check is hired as an employee... so background checks, fingerprinting, 45 minute minimum youth protection training, formal application.... and several more items that no one is willing to endure just to play a single Mass or funeral.... and the powers that be have yet to figure out why we cannot get any musicians.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,756
    Like Rob, I have a bit of an understanding with my pastor; I run myself haggard leading up to/thru Christmas and Easter, and then disappear for a few days afterward to recuperate. This is distinct from regular "vacation days" which are recorded. They get their money's worth out of me, at any rate.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 974
    I get two weeks paid vacation, weekends if I want, although I generally choose not to take weekends off. I get a quite a few holidays off, but since they almost always fall on my day off, my pastor allows me to trade them for another day. Also, since it is diocesan policy that I never work more than 40 hours a week (try that around Christmas!) I get to roll over extra time to the next week and take it off then. I should be getting a third week of paid vacation in a couple years.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,756
    Due to the shifting demands of the liturgical cycle, it is perfectly reasonable to put in a little extra here and take a little there. It would be cruel to not permit this type of fluidity, as in effect you'd be left with working extra when it suits the church, but then not getting anything extra to show for it.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,152
    Which would be just fine for some pastors.
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