Bronx Music Director - full time/flexible
  • ZacchaeusLock
    Posts: 8
    Hello all!
    Our Lady of Refuge church in the Bronx NY needs a music director beginning sometime between June-August. Most of the details of the position are flexible and up for negotiation, including pay scale/benefits (could be a range, likely from $30-50k) and non-Mass schedule. Because many details of the position are flexible, the pastor is not yet publishing a job description and will look to hash out details with prospective candidates; the broad strokes overview (n.b. this is my post, not the pastor's!) is as below.

    -Playing organ/singing Masses, 7pm Saturday, 10am, 11:30am, 1pm Sunday, plus feast days etc: in Latin, English, and Spanish
    -Teaching, [as determined, likely somewhat weekly]: small children's choir/chant camps, adult choir that more or less just sings along and will not learn much, occasional rote teaching of this or that hymn or chant to the students in the (large) religious education program
    -Coordinating with the pastor: very traditional and faithful; could use some vocal training but extremely good leader and allowed me to do basically whatever I thought best

    A good candidate will be a practicing Catholic with knowledge and love of all the Church's traditions, including Gregorian Chant, renaissance polyphony, and the sacred liturgy in general. Skills with organ, singing, teaching/conducting, general organization/planning, and communication will be needed. Skills with Eagles Wings will be superfluous.

    The hymnals currently in use are Ignatius Pew Missal and the Spanish variant. Pastor would like to find a better alternative with the help of the director.
    The organ is a 1926 Moller; beautiful German Romantic style instrument, would be very effective for Reger and his ilk, but with enough capacity that I've executed all sorts of repertoire decently well. Instrument not currently in the best repair, and the budget to fully restore is out of the parish's expectations at the moment, especially as (given the congregation) the music program is not likely to be a strong growth vertical.
    The congregation is at minimum 80% Latino, and generally will attend Mass in English, Spanish, and Latin equally. Many are committed to the many parish groups and organizations, but I found it hard to build a sizeable choir from scratch. Most of these people are local, and many will walk to the church. (I, on the other hand, kept my apartment in Connecticut and commuted to work--the church parking lot helps accommodate such an arrangement!) Mass VIII and several warhorse hymns are sung with relative gusto.

    Why is the former/current director leaving? I got accepted to law school elsewhere. My plan was to attend law school in NYC and continue working simultaneously, but the Lord had other plans!

    My honest opinions of the job:
    The parish is old, not growing much (intentionally as the pastor seeks to avoid unnecessary diocesan scrutiny). Many things, like the pipe organ itself, are slowly decaying and falling apart. But the community is faithful, lively, culturally vibrant, and guided well by the pastor. I cannot sing this pastor's praises highly enough; in over 7 semipermanent church jobs I've churned through, he is by far the best boss I've ever worked for and also the most committed to the Traditions of the Church for their own sake. The reasonably light workload should give one ample time to substitute or teach elsewhere during the week, should one desire, and NYC is a fun place to be (even if the Bronx specifically is not so much in my opinion). I couldn't recommend this position to a musician looking to support a large family, or somebody looking for great prestige or recognition as a director, but it would be perfect for somebody fresh out of school or otherwise still young and looking for space to grow their skills and leave a personal mark on a new music program. There is also excellent community in the broader area; the local AGO is very active, many local church musicians are good friends, and many traditional Catholic communities in NY and CT exist for one seeking to make connections and put down roots.

    For more information or to apply, email me at
    I will immediately forward your information to the pastor. At an emailed request, I'd be happy to call to discuss more of the details.
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