Last updated: August 4, 2014 at 17:12 pm
Message from the Dean
Greetings, one and all,
A recent conversation with a couple of colleagues reminded me that it is always necessary to keep abreast of the AGO salary guidelines. Here’s why. As the cost-of-living increases, salaries or service fees increase at some institutions but not all. What if your church is leaving your salary behind while other congregations provide their employed musicians with periodic raises that keep pace with living expenses?
As you look again at the recommended guidelines (available here: http://www.agohq.org/careers/salary-guide/), keep in mind the unique skill set that you and you alone offer your congregation. If you can fulfill both choirmaster and organist roles, you should be receiving remuneration for both. If you have a graduate degree in music or AGO certification, you bring additional knowledge to the service. You may be a strong pianist as well as an organist. The ability to play a service with little-to-no-preparation because you received a last-minute phone call should also be compensated for. Also keep in mind the unique requirements of the institution that you serve. If you frequently sub around, you will play for both liturgical and non-liturgical services. Liturgical services require far more work and preparation and thus should be compensated at a higher rate.
Be aware that discussing money can be difficult for some people and that these conversations need to be approached sensitively and conscientiously. Regardless, these conversations need to take place periodically, preferably once every fiscal year. Such discussions provide us the opportunity to remind our employers about the amount of time and money invested in our training as church musicians and about the value that we provide to the congregation. If you engage in these negotiations as part of the interview process for a church position or as a one-time substitute, be willing to walk away from the job or gig if you are not offered the compensation that you believe you are worth (within reason.) When we all request a salary or service fee that reflects our skills and our ability to deliver and that keeps pace with regional rates, we are able to accomplish two things: 1) to cultivate a culture where church music is appreciated and 2) to cultivate a culture where that appreciation is concretely demonstrated vis-à-vis appropriate remuneration.
Your AGO membership provides access to a wealth of wisdom. In addition to the salary guidelines published by headquarters, your chapter colleagues can provide you with insight into the going rates of your city and/or region. By attending local meetings, you can become acquainted with other AGO members and get a sense for the different responsibilities and compensations offered by various institutions. This will help you to be more informed as you seek appropriate compensation for your own church position.
Now I must bid you adieu. In just a few weeks, I will move to Indiana to begin doctoral studies at Indiana University as a student of Bruce Neswick. A new church position awaits me, that of organ scholar and assistant conductor at Plainfield United Methodist Church in Plainfield, IN. While I am excited about this new phase of life, I am sad to say, “Good-bye,” to you all, my friends and colleagues in Tulsa. Thank you all for allowing me to serve you and to grow along with you as a church musician. Casey Cantwell will complete my term as Dean, beginning August 1st, 2014, and he will continue to be assisted by our capable Sub-Dean, Lyndon Meyer.
May you continue to be blessed in your service to others through music for the glory of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Jaime Carini, Outgoing Dean
Theatre Organ Society Program ● Friday, August 15 at 7:00pm
The annual Music Variety Programwill feature the Geneva Concert Organ, grand piano, the Blaskapelle Band, with vocalists and other performers
German American Society of Tulsa, 15th and Terrace Drive, just west of Lewis, Tulsa ● Free
Auditions ● Monday, August 18
Are you a soprano, alto, tenor, or bass? Tulsa Oratorio Chorus invites you to audition to sing with them.
TOC brings beautiful choral works to the Tulsa community and beyond. They have performed all over the globe for the past 20+ years. Interested? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (539) 664-7530.
First Rehearsal ● Monday, August 25 at 7:00pm
Vocal Arts Ensemble of Tulsa, directed by Marilyn Carver, will hold its first rehearsal for the fall season. Auditions may be scheduled prior to, or immediately following that rehearsal. Interested? Contact Dr. Carver to schedule a time: email@example.com or (918) 627-6967.
Solemn Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament ● Sunday, August 31 at 6:30pm
Sung by the Cathedral Schola ● Holy Family Cathedral, 8th and Boulder, Tulsa
Notes from Lyndon…
I want to tell you a personal story. When I was in graduate school and living in Rochester, the organ was just one small part of my life, which revolved around school, other work obligations, family, and a social life. I never dedicated the time to develop my organ skills as I truly wished, always running in at the last minute to choose my voluntaries and prepare the hymns. My listeners always seemed to enjoy what I did but somehow in the back of my mind I knew I could do more. What a blessing it has been to move back to Tulsa and have the luxury of actual practice time and the ability to plan months ahead! I challenged myself to improve my weakest areas and even explore new ones, such as composition and organ mechanics. It has made me realize that no matter how busy we may feel, it’s important that we don’t remain complacent in what we do, and to challenge ourselves each day! My improvisation skills are still nothing like I wish they are, yet diligence and practice have helped them to improve. I encourage you to remember this, especially as you work with and inspire your students, choirs, and colleagues. Never sit idle! I look forward to seeing everyone at our opening of the year picnic on September 1st, and introducing to you in detail our program for the year. Exciting things lie ahead!
Peace and blessings,
Lyndon Meyer, Sub-Dean
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE THE TULSA CHAPTER NEWSLETTER “THE TULSA TRACKER”?? Please email the editor: Karen.rich.Tulsa@gmail.com to be placed on the distribution list!
You can go online to renew your membership – please do so right away so you will be included in the Chapter Directory.
Two new check-off boxes have been added to the online membership information if you wish to be included on either the substitute or teacher list – please update that information.
The membership renewal form also has a place where you can make an additional contribution to the Chapter. This contribution will be combined with your dues and can be paid at the same time. The easiest way to renew your membership is to pay online with a credit card. If, however, you wish to pay be check, you may print out your dues invoice and mail it to: AGO National Headquarters, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, NYC, NY 10115.
If you do not have an email address in your AGO membership record, you will receive a renewal notice by mail.
For those persons who are Friends of the Tulsa Chapter, you will also receive a notice asking if you want to make a contribution to the Chapter. The same information outlined above applies to you. There is a space on the membership renewal form for you to make a contribution – we very much appreciate your continued support!
Should you have any questions or experience any difficulty using the new AGO ONCARD system for updating your membership or renewing your dues, please contact me. I am more than happy to help you work with this new system. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me during the day at 918-631-2793. (Please leave a message if I’m away from my phone.)
AGO ONCARD Liaison
Contact Ferne Howell at email@example.com for information.
Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.
Contact Eliot Glaser at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Members at Large
Vicki Smith (2018)
Karen Hiller (2016)
Ferne Howell (2020)