Increasing Technology Demands Without More Compensation
  • I am increasingly irritated by the amount of time that I am spending on service leaflets. I am happy with my role as organist-choirmaster and my faithful twelve singers as well as a slowly emerging children's choir that was disbanded at beginning of Covid. I am also thrilled about the much improved service leaflets that we have more or less perfected in past two years. These leaflets contain music notation and texts for hymns, Gloria, Gradual, Gospel Hymn or Chant, Communion Hymn, and Post Communion Hymn. All music is appropriately licensed or in public domain. On other hand, I spend about five additional hours formatting all music as our Parish Administrator does not read music, understand notation, or correlation of notes to text. Our weekly leaflet is 12 to 16 pages. For two years, I have been promised a computer and work station in office. Meanwhile, I must use PA's computer when she is not at work. Her hours are 9 to 4. So, I must go early in morning or in late afternoon. This does not at all work well with my schedule and my wife and I have totally different work schedules. The Priest, PA, and I work very well together and are a cohesive team. However, my resentment over lack of work space completion and recognition of my added responsibilities along with no additional compensation has me at a point of deep resentment. Are others experiencing similar problems? Do any of you have suggestions on how to proceed? I have mentioned these issues to our Priest who responded he could cut back on the PA's hours until technology issues were resolved. I told him that I considered this very unfair to the PA. The main issue is PA transferring her computer data to her new computer before I am given her old computer.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,039
    I would also be resentful if I had to spend five hours each week on a disposable leaflet without additional compensation if that wasn't part of the original job description.

    The work that you and the PA collaborate on should be cloud-based with shared files. The issues of transferring computer data from one hard drive to another or waiting for a physical machine to be available are moot with cloud computing. Just log on from a computer with an internet connection, even from home on your own laptop, and your computer has access to all the files.

    If the leaflet computer file is on a single physical computer's hard drive that only one person can use at a time, that's inefficient and technologically primitive by today's cloud computing and shared work file standards.

    I create a projection slide file each week with slides that have musical notation and lyrics. At this point, I have a library of files for all the music we sing, so it's just a matter of compiling the master slide deck from already-composed source material in the file library. Takes me about twenty minutes per weekend. When I had to create the song slide files, that took about 90 minutes per song. Much less labor intensive now that I have ready-made song files that I insert into a template.

    I can work from home and upload the completed file to the shared One Drive folder that the church projection computer uses to access the slide files. The person advancing the slides at Mass turns on the projection computer, sees the slide file for the Mass that I uploaded into the shared folder, and opens it.

    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • Can you possibly buy hymnals and do away with leaflets? Or they can pay for software to install in your home computer and then you invoice them for time spent.
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • There is little interest from our priest in purchasing new hymnals or in using the current hymnals.
    He prefers a variety of music which no one hymnal contains. He also prefers to not sing all verses. He is a very good liturgist and pastor plus encouraging to me. I agree about working from another computer, but a second computer has already been purchased for PA and after two months she has still not installed it. Once she installs it, I will get the old one and will have my own work station there. Personally, I prefer to not do church or school work (I am a teacher and have a computer in my classroom) at home --unless practicing piano. I truly appreciate your comment!
  • Gaudium
    Posts: 51
    I also produce a weekly leaflet, and it is a time commitment for sure, though I greatly appreciate the flexibility it gives me in terms of music and what can be added in. I might suggest that a 12-16 page program each week is really too much. I simply use a legal size paper and fold it, getting everything on normal Sundays on 4 pages, so just one sheet per program. I use it mainly just for music, and we have hymnals in the pews that contain readings as well as the prayers of the Mass, so I just offer a "Readings: hymnal #1215" or "Profession of Faith: hymnal #62". I insert the text of the propers if just cantor/choir, or music of the propers if sung by everyone, Mass ordinary, and hymns. It's quite a squeeze, but I don't like to waste too much paper, and I want to keep it simple and easy for everyone to use. Just my two cents! I spend probably 2 hours each week on them.
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    We use two sheets, folded lengthwise, so that comes to 8 pages. Perhaps yours also includes newsletter/bulletin material, which ours doesn’t (largely because people prefer to look at that online rather than take a paper copy). We also don’t use hymnals for exactly those reasons of flexibility. Getting people to flip between different books and formats is inaccessible and unnecessary.

    Our leaflets have texts of the propers and readings, all music and hymns, and anything else of the ordinary that is required for people to say/sing. There is something to be said about treating things as disposable that shouldn’t be thought of in that way, but this is a trade-off and the used ones get recycled. We don’t print the whole text of the Canon each week, for instance. It’s also easily handled, and the type is a good size.

    Obviously the tech situation and the PA situation are irritating, but if you do this for three years, you won’t have to do much to your pristine collection afterwards (well, not too much). If the pastor is willing to be flexible on the PA’s hours (suggesting to me that the office/budgetary system isn’t set in stone) could it be proposed that your extra work is a kind of project for which adequate compensation should be provided?

    On the other hand, do you think you might be giving people too much?
  • TCJ
    Posts: 977
    About five years ago I was told I was going to get a new computer because the one I had in my office barely worked. That never happened. I ended up getting a laptop, installing a free program (Scribus) and just connecting to the wireless network so I can print everything straight from my computer. It eliminates having to borrow a computer, saves me time, saves other people headaches, and also comes in very useful for many other things.
  • The leaflets were our priest's idea. He wanted to consolidate everything in leaflet including music and full liturgy so that people were not juggling hymnals, prayer books, bulletins and inevitable inserts. Our parish has many new members who struggled or juggled and were constantly confused. At first ,we simply included texts of hymns. The request for tunes to be added came from several PIPs His other option for the service was a screen projection which was not an idea well-received and he chose not to die in that ditch. (The 5pm service is in parish hall and I I have no responsibilities for it as a screen is used and the music is either "canned" or guitars.) The 8am service is "said" and there is no music for it. They use the prayer book for entire service and only a half sheet with readings and announcements. Thus, the paper expense is only for the "main sservice." I had not thought about the three year cycle and how easy that could make things for me.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,706
    Here are a couple of samples of what I used to produce for a tabloid size leaflet (tri-fold). These took an immense amount of time which I would much rather had spent playing and practicing on the Pasi.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen cesarfranck
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Francis, I can relate. Yours are very well done. Ours are also 11x17 trifolds. It’s a great system (assuming you have a paper folding machine!) but it does take a tremendous amount of time. I’m happy to do it. But it’s easily 1.5 days a week. (Well, depending on how much music engraving I have to do, or if there’s a major change from the previous iteration.)
    Thanked by 2francis CHGiffen
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Also, to the OP: if she cannot bother to give you her old computer, perhaps it’s time to ask for the new one… it’s not fair to you to make you yank around your hours like that.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,706

    Waaaaaaaaaaayyy too much time spent doing programs… this is all because nuchurch is always shooting from the hip… thank God I’ve returned to the Liber, the NOH and music that is almost always over 200 years old.
  • music that is almost always over 200 years old.

    It really helps with copyright issues too. The best stuff is the old stuff, which is conveniently also the free stuff.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    The best stuff is the old stuff, which is conveniently also the free stuff.
    …which is precisely why I bother with the worship aids. I have complete control to restore all the good old stuff that was never in our hymnals to begin with. While the effort is gargantuan, it has very much been worth the trouble, even if I do occasionally opine to pick a few numbers and just show up and play.
  • I am auditioning for another parish position as organist only. Choirmaster is already comfortably in place and very encouraging. I went to rehearse there today for audition and it was so pleasant to enter church, be greeted by staff, and go directly to playing various pieces and hymns on organ. The choir is one-half staff singers and rehearsals are from 8:30 to 9:45am with mass following at 10:am. (All singers are given music in advance and expected to arrive prepared to sing anthem, service music, and psalmI) Itwill actually be a slight reduction in pay, but at this point in my life it is fine as it is not a 25 hour work week. And best of all, the pipe organ is a beautiful three manual instrument that had a wonderful ensemble. Heaven on earth for me. I request your prayers that God guide me in the correct directiom.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Sounds lovely!
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck