Funeral info sought
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,423
    Hello Musicalbrainiacs!
    Seeking information regarding funerals:
    Are you paid for funerals?
    1. How much? (and where are you located)
    2. If you have a cantor - how much?
    3. Where does your stepend come from? - Funeral home, family, parish?

    Thank you!!!
  • MarkS
    Posts: 279
    1) Yes—$200 (CT—a couple of towns east of New Haven)
    2) Cantor/soloist—&100
    3) The family, ultimately, as part of the fees paid to the church, but most often the payment goes through the funeral home or the parish, depending on the arrangements made.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 917
    1. $100 - $125 since one local funeral home chose to up the fee of its own accord. I am in the boondocks of Illinois where the cost of living (and thus prices) is fairly low.

    2. Same as above.

    3. I've had all three. Usually the family pays through the funeral home, but occasionally they pay directly. I've had the parish pay for it when the family has decided to cut out music to save money, but the priest wants music anyway.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,476
    I never charged for a funeral. I charge double for a wedding to cover funeral costs later on.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,550
    $125 for organist/director
    $75 for cantor (although I more-often-than-not pull double duty for $125)
    Funeral homes collect the stipend and pass it on. Occasionally there are mistakes, but I don’t fuss very much (I did fuss the one time I was only paid $50, and then we set the mandatory minimum of $100, $125 preferred. Typically the latter is honored.)

    Smallish town with a fair number of immigrant families.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 957
    Suburb of Denver

    $250 for the accompanist/director. A volunteer choir of 3-5 retired singers of mediocre ability is included in that arrangement.

    Optional very good solo cantor instead of a volunteer choir costs $175 for the cantor.

    Paid directly to the musicians by the family. I stipulate payment in advance at least by the day prior to the funeral. People are happy to comply with that, and many people are happy to be able to pay through Venmo, which is becoming more common than physical checks.

    I think my stipends are the highest in my area. I have raised them aggressively over the past two years due to the high rate of inflation. When I started four years ago, the funeral fee for the accompanist/director was $150, and it had been that for at least three years prior to my arrival.

    I think directors in my region who are still doing funerals for $125 are not keeping up with economic realities of the cost of living in the suburbs surrounding Denver. I have had no complaints from families about the amounts of my fees.

    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 299
    Organist who sings $300
    Soloist $250
    Choral singers $175-$200
    In CT

    Typically the funeral homes write all the checks. Sometimes it’s from a family directly but rarely.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • Carol
    Posts: 823
    In my parish, the organist and I (cantor) are paid the same amount which is now $150. This is sometimes paid through the funeral home and sometimes directly from the family.
    This is in the greater New York City area and typical of this region.

    We also say the spoken responses (OF) which is important when the family obviously hasn't been to church in years. What a sad state of affairs!
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • $500 for organ with 2 cantors (me and another professional), which we split 50/50. I actively discourage solo cantored requiems.

    For $150 I schedule one of the parish choir to sing psalm tone propers, sequence, and lead the chant ordinary.

    Paid by family to requiem coordinator before day of service.

    Houston, TX
  • I volunteer my services for funerals, and typically utilize a volunteer cantor. I have a full-time job outside of my parish music duties to pay my bills, so I consider this a freely given gift to grieving members of my parish.

    Our pastor advocates for minimizing cost to families during their time of grief, and allows for a portion of the parish budget be allocated to maintaining a $125-$150 stipend for substitute accompanists if I'm unavailable to volunteer to provide music.

    Also in Houston, TX
    Thanked by 1francis
  • emac3183
    Posts: 7
    $175 for organist, $175 for cantor (I typically cantor and bring in a familiar sub organist). This is very high for the area–suburb/town on the very outskirts of Minneapolis/Saint Paul Metro.
    The funeral home set this stipend, but I believe the family pays it as part of their fee.
  • $150 for me (organist), which includes my funeral choir. If the choir can't sing I usually just play and sing myself. Family pays the funeral home and funeral home distributes to me. South Bend metro area.
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 39
    $200, in New England. Cost of living is a factor. If I am cantoring and playing, $250. I am less amenable to arguments from pastors these days about accommodating families’ budgets. If the families are paying full price for caskets, reception and catering, etc., then asking for a fair stipend is not unreasonable. I’ll show myself out now, thanks.
    Thanked by 2MarkB rich_enough
  • Do you have different pay scales for burial masses vs requiem masses without a body? The vast majority of requiems at our parish are memorial requiems for the remotely deceased, though we currently handle them all the same.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,550
    6 to one, half-dozen to the other. It’s the same work.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,273
    @liampmcdonough -- Absolutely not
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 39
    Liampmcdonough- No, I would request the same fee. The amount of music would be similar. To be clear, I’m not looking at it like I’m charging by the minute or per piece of music. It’s the general time spent preparing and doing.
  • My contract states that I am to play for funerals of parishioners without compensation. Our priest wanted to insert a compensation fee of $150. The powers that be did not want to make that change. If the mortuary of choice in our parish is being used, they normally include a $150 honorarium in their billing to family and mail me a check paid through the mortuary. Regardless, most families in our parish write me a check or give me cash in amounts of $200 to $500. On other hand, I get first refusal on all weddings and am allowed to set my own honorarium which I establish based on whether additional instrumentalists (trumpet, strings, etc) and vocalists are involved and request/require additional rehearsal time with me. I also charge $25 per consultation or meetings with bride or her family are involved. This is not an ideal.or completely fair system, but I usually come out ahead with it regardless of funerals or weddings.