Extra services and compensation
  • Hildegard
    Posts: 30
    HI, everyone -

    I've been a long-time lurker around these parts, and have found all the threads here to be an invaluable resource. This is a mighty fine little corner of the internet!

    I find myself in an odd position and could use some suggestions about how to proceed. I've been in church music as a paid singer for many years, and as of March am the Interim DM at our parish after a long, drawn-out and painful exit of our former DM, also my former boss, a guy I admire and learned a lot from. He is now at another parish, and I am in the process of applying for the permanent job.

    I found out today that there is a funeral on Saturday and the bereaved family apparently arranged with my predecessor and the former organist to have them come in and do all the music for the funeral and presented it as a done deal to the pastor who apparently agreed to it. No one asked or informed me, and I only found out because I noticed it on the calendar and asked to confirm that I was not expected to provide music. I have no issue with him coming in if that's what the family wants, but I have a feeling a few steps are missing here. I am paid separately for funerals and rely on them for part of my income (we do about 20 a year), and I'm not really sure I'm comfortable with this becoming something our parishioners see as an option. I also feel that perhaps it will in the long term impede the moving on that needs to happen here, for both parties. Alternatively, I'm worried that presenting them with a "bench fee" if they don't use us will come off as one more reason to hate the new guard.

    I'd love to hear any ways you can see that I could sensitively address this. As I am currently applying, I think it will likely be a discussion to be had if and when contract negotiations come up, but I'd like to have an idea that is both fair and sensitive to our parishioners and to me and our current organist as well.

    Thank you in advance!
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    You're the interim. That makes you, in many cases, the favorite for the job.

    NO DRAMA.

    Just be quiet. Apply for the job. Then when they offer it to you, get everything in writing. First right of refusal. Bench fees. All that jazz.

    But for now.. shhh.. shhhhhh... shhh.
    Thanked by 2Hildegard BruceL
  • Hildegard
    Posts: 30
    Thanks, Matthewj! That was my instinct, too. I'll just talk my husband's ear off about it and keep my lips zipped at work for now.

    I'm curious, I know bench fees are recommended by the AGO, but how common are they in reality in Catholic Churches?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    Pretty uncommon, but that's just because most places have never had them. If you have first right of refusal and truly have a boss that supports that, bench fees are unnecessary since the only time you won't play Funerals is when you can't (you have a dentist appointment) or won't (the celebrant in the Butterfly Chasuble is coming in). I've always had bench fees put into my working agreements before, but at my present position I felt my boss and I were on the exact same page and didn't even ask it to be included - it's never been an issue.
    Thanked by 1Hildegard
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    Also...

    I'll just talk my husband's ear off about it and keep my lips zipped at work for now.


    Stop that. Say the rosary for the souls in purgatory instead.

    I learned long ago to not complain to my wife about anything that happens at church. Non-church-musicians don't particularly understand our woes. Instead I say the rosary. Or drink gin.
    Thanked by 2Hildegard BruceL
  • Hildegard
    Posts: 30
    Both of those are excellent options. :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,412
    Instead I say the rosary. Or drink gin.


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  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I almost totally agree with Meloche. Flabbergasted.......

    Definitely be the girl who never causes problems. For now.
  • Hildegard
    Posts: 30
    Again, this won't be until post-job-acquisition if at all that I address this particular incident, but would I be right in assuming that it would be considered a professional courtesy for the old DM to at least give me a call? That's what you all would do in a situation like this, right? Of course, for all I know the pastor told him he'd deal with it and didn't. I don't want to make any assumptions here. But someone dropped the ball, yes?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Definitely be the girl who never causes problems. For now.
    Thanked by (1):melofluent.

    Wait a minute, I don't drink gin! Wendy discovered it this spring, though.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    No. Shhh. This never happened.
    Thanked by 1Hildegard
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I totally agree with Meloche.

    And Wendy.

    On this one.

    LET IT GO.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I totally agree with Meloche.

    And Wendy.

    On this one.

    LET IT GO.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,470
    I do agree as well, except about this:
    I learned long ago to not complain to my wife about anything that happens at church.


    Whatever. Matthewj's a male. My dh never complains about work. I do and it's all good. (20+ years now.)
    Thanked by 1Hildegard
  • Hildegard
    Posts: 30
    If I pretend this never happened, will someone get that ^ song out of my head?
    Signed,
    Mother of small girl children
  • "Let It Go" is a sequence. Who knew?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    That gives me a thought, Aristotle- if I can retrofit a psalm into "Hey Jude" the "Naaahhh, nah, nah, nanananah......" could be the meditative melisma upon which the congregation can contemplate the first lesson AND join in singing!
    I'm gonna start my own publishing company (that's number 665) on my liturgical bucket list.
    Thanked by 1Hildegard