Sacred Music Budget Research Request
  • I am a graduate student writing a research paper on comparing the patronage system surrounding Palestrina in the Counter-Reformation and music and patronage in the post Vatican II era, some of the current issues surrounding music funding, and some proposed solutions for the Church. I was curious if anyone would have any idea where I could find records of music budgets from the past few years (if that information is even accessible) or if anyone would be able to provide some of their own music budget's information to include in my research.
  • Bri
    Posts: 99
    Diocesan financial directors typically collect budgets from parishes and schools. Some might be willing to share this information under certain circumstances.

    Feel free to pm me for more info regarding how this works in the diocese I work for. I might be able to recommend some folks you could reach out to.

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Churches have budgets?
    Thanked by 2CharlesW tandrews
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,927
    Amen, Pax. I paid for most of our choir music out of my own pocket for 20 years. What is this budget of which the original poster speaks? Not familiar with that term.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,150
    Pax & Charles. Yes, churches have budgets. For things the pastor and the congregation find important, not for non-important add-ons, like music.
  • Mercifully, music is a part of our church's budget (not least of all my salary). While the funds I can personally control are relatively limited, mercifully, I am not left with nothing. I am one of the fortunate ones whose pastor finds liturgy and music exceptionally important... that's why I exist at all, when so many other churches refuse to support a full-time musician.
  • In my experience parishes vary greatly even within the same diocese as to how they handle budgeting and paying for musicians and musical items. One parish might include the main musicians salary along with stipends for extra musicians, sheet music etc. under and umbrella music budget, while another parish might have each of those items under a different heading (payroll, miscellaneous, etc.). Organ tuning might be music budget or it might fall under maintenance and some parishes may never tune their organ. Musicians may be treated as full or part time employees or as independent contractors.

    In most cases I have been forced to beg for every item needed (sheet music for the choir, new hymnals, etc.) and then the parish "finds" the money to buy it, but I've never had the opportunity to maintain my own music budget, while other colleagues have.
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 300
    We have a budget line item for:
    -Music Director / organist
    -Non employee musicians (these are singers, instrumentalists, substitutes for director, and even musicians hired for events in the parish hall)
    -Music program (sheet music, organ maintenance, etc. etc.)
  • We have a specific line item for tuning, too, as that can run to the hundreds of dollars a year on its own (even just for a piano).
    Thanked by 1PaxTecum
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,451
    I doubt if such a study would find enough commonalities to show anything meaningful. I am aware of many music programs that were funded entirely by the music director, to some churches (not kidding) that have annual music budgets of $250k.
  • Perhaps you’d have to break up the data into groups based on parish size, but I’d still imagine trends do exist.