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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: scamandrius on July 03, 2017, 03:57:12 PM

Title: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 03, 2017, 03:57:12 PM
We are thinking that to help improve the quality of music at our parish for all services that the choir director and/or protpsaltis should be paid.  In addition to answering the poll, please indicate the size of your parish, the jurisdiction, and, if possible, what the compensation may be.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 03, 2017, 04:05:56 PM
Our choir director is just a member of the laity who sings really loudly.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Dominika on July 03, 2017, 04:35:15 PM
"Yes for both"

1. Choir director is paid, and, moreover, he has a flat in the parish house. He's paid a month salary; probably national minimum or little above it. He has also other stuff to do, like helping in the parish and cemetary office.
2. The protopsaltis lives in his own flat, and has also other job, not connected to the Church, but he's paid some money (half month salary? don't know exactly). He also leads the youth and student choirs.

Size: ~300 people regularly attending, as for the whole, maybe 400?...
Jurisdiction: Polish Orthodox Church
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 03, 2017, 04:47:14 PM
I don't know any Coptic Church in the world that would pay for a choir director, unless the director is of the clergy, and not every parish pays deacons.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Isaac14 on July 03, 2017, 04:52:00 PM
Neither are paid. We're an OCA mission parish with an average Sunday morning attendance of 60 (adults & kids).
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 03, 2017, 05:06:55 PM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Dominika on July 03, 2017, 05:17:43 PM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Oh, I've forgotten to add that our choir director also teaches Church Slavonic at parish everybody who wants it, for free (in a group, but also individually); it's something valuable, since he's also an academic professor of Church music and Church Slavonci at the Christian Theological Academy in Warsaw.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: RaphaCam on July 03, 2017, 10:23:58 PM
Our choir director is a subdeacon who spent many years in Poland (we're PAOC) studying music and other subjects. I'm not sure whether he's paid, but there are at least plans that he be. Our congregation isn't very large, never gets to 40 people outside Pascha and Christmas large clergy included, but he and the vicar bishop (not the one in town) arranged all music for the whole archeparchy from absolute scratch (as everything in our archeparchy, which basically started with a group of friends deciding to be baptised in Portugal and now has received +2000 people).

I don't think we have a head chanter.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 10:53:17 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Mor Ephrem on July 04, 2017, 10:55:00 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.

I would love to get paid for worshiping God.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 04, 2017, 11:02:12 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.


Hmmm is paying someone who was good but must have an issue and is thus 'slipping'. Really going to solve the issue?

All it does is let you 'fire' them.

I would suggest instead that the priest sit and talk with the director.

I would bet there are circumstances going on and the director is overwhelmed
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 04, 2017, 11:02:41 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability. I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.

The other aspect of it is it can show appreciation for the extra effort someone is putting in. That's how I've always understood such stipends.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 04, 2017, 11:03:23 AM
I would bet there are circumstances going on and the director is overwhelmed

Right. Sometimes people just get worn down over time.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 04, 2017, 11:09:15 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.

Oh okay then that's just bizarre.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:14:54 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.


Hmmm is paying someone who was good but must have an issue and is thus 'slipping'. Really going to solve the issue?

All it does is let you 'fire' them.

I would suggest instead that the priest sit and talk with the director.

I would bet there are circumstances going on and the director is overwhelmed

She is good, but she's been gone a lot for her sons' graduations and a wedding. However, they also take a lot of trips and because she is gone so much the music gets sloppy and unrehearsed and sounds bad. 
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 04, 2017, 11:16:52 AM
Well paying her won't release her from family obligations and make her do what you want. 

You need a better backup. That she needs to train. 
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 04, 2017, 11:18:10 AM
We don't. (We don't pay deacons either.) Our choir is far from the best, but would I want to hire in some outside professional? That smacks of entertainment, to me. I'd much prefer to worship with someone who has been a local brother or sister, knows me and the rest, and has shared in the parish's ups and downs, and desires from the heart to worship with us. Wouldn't it be preferable to pay for someone's musical education? And to give the congregation some lessons as well? Now if it were a fulltime job, by being combined with other duties, as Dominika seems to be describing, then, yes, that person should be compensated so he or she can live.

Nowhere did I say anything about hiring an outside professional.  We already have a choir director, a pretty good one, but with things slipping as they have been, perhaps if there were a financial incentive, we can demand some accountability.  I don't understand how this would smack of entertainment.  We are talking about the worship of God , not entertaining.


Hmmm is paying someone who was good but must have an issue and is thus 'slipping'. Really going to solve the issue?

All it does is let you 'fire' them.

I would suggest instead that the priest sit and talk with the director.

I would bet there are circumstances going on and the director is overwhelmed

She is good, but she's been gone a lot for her sons' graduations and a wedding. However, they also take a lot of trips and because she is gone so much the music gets sloppy and unrehearsed and sounds bad.

Is there no one who can step in and lead a rehearsal while she's gone? Even if it maybe won't be as precise as with the gold standard member, almost anyone with musical training can serve as a stopgap.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:36:09 AM
^Yes, but there's a lack of continuity.  Plus, rehearsals have pretty much gone by the wayside for the past couple of years and it shows on Sunday mornings.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 04, 2017, 11:42:26 AM
^Yes, but there's a lack of continuity.  Plus, rehearsals have pretty much gone by the wayside for the past couple of years and it shows on Sunday mornings.

Paying someone won't change that.

An honest talk about things with the director and the priest is what
Might.

Aren't you the protopsaltis?
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:43:44 AM
I've been thinking about this issue a long time ever since a discussion board of fellow psalti referenced this article which became the springboard for our discussion. I post it for your edification.

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/musicstand/addressing-crisis/
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:45:47 AM
^Yes, but there's a lack of continuity.  Plus, rehearsals have pretty much gone by the wayside for the past couple of years and it shows on Sunday mornings.

Paying someone won't change that.

An honest talk about things with the director and the priest is what
Might.

Aren't you the protopsaltis?

Financial incentive means that the person receiving the money has to justify it and the congregation is not going to tolerate their investment not getting a proper return.  Our priest seems content with mediocrity; if he has spoken with her about the issues, I have yet to see anything change for the better.

I am not the protos.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 04, 2017, 11:47:51 AM
^Yes, but there's a lack of continuity.  Plus, rehearsals have pretty much gone by the wayside for the past couple of years and it shows on Sunday mornings.

Paying someone won't change that.

An honest talk about things with the director and the priest is what
Might.

Aren't you the protopsaltis?

Financial incentive means that the person receiving the money has to justify it and the congregation is not going to tolerate their investment not getting a proper return.  Our priest seems content with mediocrity; if he has spoken with her about the issues, I have yet to see anything change for the better.

I am not the protos.

Well then. You are solving a problem that no one else in your parish is trying to solve


Good luck with that

Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 04, 2017, 11:51:06 AM
If the congregation is fully involved in trying to resolve this problem, why not have a meeting together to learn the hymns rather than pay someone to direct them?  And then have them become dedicated parents to bring their kids to learn these same hymns.  Have the congregation become the choir.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:52:22 AM
^Yes, but there's a lack of continuity.  Plus, rehearsals have pretty much gone by the wayside for the past couple of years and it shows on Sunday mornings.

Paying someone won't change that.

An honest talk about things with the director and the priest is what
Might.

Aren't you the protopsaltis?

Financial incentive means that the person receiving the money has to justify it and the congregation is not going to tolerate their investment not getting a proper return.  Our priest seems content with mediocrity; if he has spoken with her about the issues, I have yet to see anything change for the better.

I am not the protos.

Well then. You are solving a problem that no one else in your parish is trying to solve


Good luck with that

When I started this thread, I asked  simple questions:  "Is your choir director and/or protos paid? If so, how much? What is the size of your parish and to which jurisdiction do you belong?"  There are issues which you are not aware of. Just because my priest does not address the issue does not make it less of one.  So, just answer the question and if you want to venture your opinion on any future thread of mine, I will just say that your input is neither requested nor required.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 11:52:47 AM
If the congregation is fully involved in trying to resolve this problem, why not have a meeting together to learn the hymns rather than pay someone to direct them?  And then have them become dedicated parents to bring their kids to learn these same hymns.  Have the congregation become the choir.

They have to be willing to be taught and they are not willing.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 04, 2017, 11:53:59 AM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 04, 2017, 11:55:11 AM
Again. You are solving a problem for a group that does not want the problem solved. Or doesn't see the same level of problem as you do

That seems a futile effort until others in control of such things want to change them


Ps. You cannot dictate who answers threads.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Deacon Lance on July 04, 2017, 12:03:40 PM
You seem to not see eye to eye on Liturgy with your pastor as you have posted similar threads.  For your sake you need to accept it or find a new parish.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 04, 2017, 12:13:47 PM
The choir leader in my parish is the retired priest's matushka.  There is also a lady that is kind of a co-director.  Both get a small stipend because if one isn't there, the other is.

Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 04, 2017, 12:18:42 PM
If the congregation is fully involved in trying to resolve this problem, why not have a meeting together to learn the hymns rather than pay someone to direct them?  And then have them become dedicated parents to bring their kids to learn these same hymns.  Have the congregation become the choir.

God bless you.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 04, 2017, 12:23:31 PM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.

Ugh, but the kids have soccer practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Mondays are always booked with tutoring and Wednesdays they visit yiayia and Fridays always has soccer matches and Saturdays are the only days we even get to relax, but the kids sre so noisy so we send them to the mall and the Sundays after church there are usually soccer matches or visiting with friends.....

Anecdotally, in my parish....

The kids aren't really interested.  If they are, the parents aren't going to drive them to something that they haven't paid for.  Also, at my parish, there isn't any training and practice is only 15 minutes before the Hours in Sundays.  Rather than monetary investment in directors, what's needed is time investment with people willing to put the work in, even if it means studying and learning with free online resources about how to read music or training voices.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 04, 2017, 12:32:40 PM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.

Ugh, but the kids have soccer practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Mondays are always booked with tutoring and Wednesdays they visit yiayia and Fridays always has soccer matches and Saturdays are the only days we even get to relax, but the kids sre so noisy so we send them to the mall and the Sundays after church there are usually soccer matches or visiting with friends.....

Anecdotally, in my parish....

The kids aren't really interested.  If they are, the parents aren't going to drive them to something that they haven't paid for.  Also, at my parish, there isn't any training and practice is only 15 minutes before the Hours in Sundays.  Rather than monetary investment in directors, what's needed is time investment with people willing to put the work in, even if it means studying and learning with free online resources about how to read music or training voices.

Oh yea, I know about soccer practices, but they're usually Sunday mornings, which are more important than liturgy.   :P

If they're not interested in hymns, they'll not be interested in liturgy.  And the future of the parish will be dire.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 04, 2017, 12:49:56 PM
I try not to get annoyed, but it's sad that a 25+year old parish still handles a choir like its a 5 person mission.  Even better, when I hear the choir of a mission parish that sounds like they actually train and practice (unpaid and non-professionals, just people putting time in); it makes me glad for their parish, but sad for mine.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 04, 2017, 12:51:23 PM
We are thinking that to help improve the quality of music at our parish for all services that the choir director and/or protpsaltis should be paid.  In addition to answering the poll, please indicate the size of your parish, the jurisdiction, and, if possible, what the compensation may be.  Thanks.

To the OP, money will probably not help the issue.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 04, 2017, 01:29:47 PM
I try not to get annoyed, but it's sad that a 25+year old parish still handles a choir like its a 5 person mission.  Even better, when I hear the choir of a mission parish that sounds like they actually train and practice (unpaid and non-professionals, just people putting time in); it makes me glad for their parish, but sad for mine.

Consider it an ascetic exercise. When we first moved to my city, I was in despair at the prospect of sitting under the sound of a bad choir for years to come. But in the event I haven't suffered from it at all. God gave grace. (Yes, I know this probably makes me sound selfish and melodramatic.) Remember, we are always accompanied invisibly in our worship by a choir of angels.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 04, 2017, 01:31:27 PM
Amen.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Opus118 on July 04, 2017, 02:27:39 PM
We are thinking that to help improve the quality of music at our parish for all services that the choir director and/or protpsaltis should be paid.  In addition to answering the poll, please indicate the size of your parish, the jurisdiction, and, if possible, what the compensation may be.  Thanks.

I do not know about the protopsaltis. The choir director receives $3600/year. I do not know the number of members, but the pledged stewards is around 160 (individuals or families). GOAA, with a largely American congregation (converts and 2nd-4th generation Greeks). Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: eddybear on July 04, 2017, 06:20:41 PM
No to both, but we are very small, about 20-30 including children for the main monthly service and half that at other times, so it wouldn't be sustainable. Jurisdiction is Moscow Patriarchate.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 04, 2017, 07:33:50 PM
The choir director and protopsaltis are paid positions at my church.  Protopsaltis makes $40K and choir director makes $20K.  I'm in GOAA, about 800 families.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 07:49:13 PM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.

Again, they are unwilling; the kids, too.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: recent convert on July 04, 2017, 08:43:09 PM
I said yes for one: the choir director. This is a technicality; she only gets $25 per week. We do not rehearse but somehow we get by. Our parish is between 250-300 including children.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Jakoblaj on July 04, 2017, 08:54:43 PM
I marked "no", because unfortunately at my current parish the choir director nor the protopsalti is paid.  However I have started to push for a stipend to be given.  I worked as a choir director for my previous parish for the last few years and was given a stipend which amounted to around 7,500$ a year at a medium-sized parish.  I find that paying these positions is important.  This does not mean that we need to hire non-orthodox professionals for these positions.  I am an Orthodox professional musician and from my experience I see people who are qualified to take these positions who are in the church and would do the church a great service.
Benedict Sheehan has written an article that expresses my feelings on the matter much more fluently than I am able to so I share that article below. 
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/77522.htm (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/77522.htm)
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 09:49:59 PM
I said yes for one: the choir director. This is a technicality; she only gets $25 per week. We do not rehearse but somehow we get by. Our parish is between 250-300 including children.

That's roughly the size of ours. If I had to put a number to what I was thinking it probably would be around maybe $100/week. Even $25 may not sound like much but add up 52 weeks a year. 
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 04, 2017, 09:51:02 PM
I marked "no", because unfortunately at my current parish the choir director nor the protopsalti is paid.  However I have started to push for a stipend to be given.  I worked as a choir director for my previous parish for the last few years and was given a stipend which amounted to around 7,500$ a year at a medium-sized parish.  I find that paying these positions is important.  This does not mean that we need to hire non-orthodox professionals for these positions.  I am an Orthodox professional musician and from my experience I see people who are qualified to take these positions who are in the church and would do the church a great service.
Benedict Sheehan has written an article that expresses my feelings on the matter much more fluently than I am able to so I share that article below. 
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/77522.htm (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/77522.htm)

I referenced that same article above.  That, as well as a discussion among other psalti, were the main impetus for my thinking on this whole issue.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 05, 2017, 03:10:25 AM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.

Again, they are unwilling; the kids, too.

I hear you saying Christ had failed you; you're going to try Mammon.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 05, 2017, 10:18:52 AM
I try not to get annoyed, but it's sad that a 25+year old parish still handles a choir like its a 5 person mission.  Even better, when I hear the choir of a mission parish that sounds like they actually train and practice (unpaid and non-professionals, just people putting time in); it makes me glad for their parish, but sad for mine.

The parish I've spent the most time in was a small mission in Mississippi that somehow had two experienced volunteer choir directors (one stepped in after the other stepped down) and two members who had gone to summer training sessions at St. Vlads. Even though it was small, it was the kind of musical experience that would see people want to convert on aesthetic appeal alone. There are definitely moments I miss it.

Our current parish, which is decades old, struggles if the de facto leader (the aforementioned loud guy) doesn't show up. For years, they had an organ and a chanter, but in recent years the organ was phased out (thankfully -- the arrangement they used was awful) and the chanter has moved on to a mission he basically founded himself closer to home. But somewhere along the way those of us in the pews (!) decided that it's better to struggle than stand there in silence. We've talked about having some kind of choir rehearsal once a week, but it's been difficult to arrange because a lot of the people who would do it are commuters. We'll see.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Iconodule on July 05, 2017, 10:49:57 AM
When I last served on a parish council, the choir director received a fairly paltry yearly stipend. It was better than nothing, but I marvel at how much local heterodox churches pay their directors, organists, etc., often with shrinking congregations.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Agabus on July 05, 2017, 10:57:23 AM
When I last served on a parish council, the choir director received a fairly paltry yearly stipend. It was better than nothing, but I marvel at how much local heterodox churches pay their directors, organists, etc., often with shrinking congregations.

The Baptists of my youth had a full-time "Minister of Music." It wasn't a huge church, either.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 05, 2017, 07:44:12 PM
Throwing money at the problem is only a short term solution I think. Prepare the next generation then.  Have the parents bring their kids to hymns learning.

Again, they are unwilling; the kids, too.

I hear you saying Christ had failed you; you're going to try Mammon.

Get your hearing checked because if that's what you're hearing, you need hearing aids.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Justin Kolodziej on July 05, 2017, 10:47:36 PM
We just hired a choir director not too long ago. I actually made the mistake of attending the general assembly before I was even chrismated when the issue was discussed, and also have the minutes from said general assembly where the salary was put at 22k but really should have been 40k if collections would have allowed that much.  The main reason for this, apparently, is that the Divine Liturgy is very complex and a choir director who can keep everything straight deserves that much money. Also, we need to be competitive with other congregations (Orthodox or otherwise) that do have professionals directing their choirs.

There was also already an item for the choir overall at around 7500, but I don't know if that included the organist (previously doubling as the choir director) and/or protopsaltis and/or other chanters.

It's a fairly large GOAA parish, I want to say 300 pledging families?


Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 05, 2017, 11:10:11 PM
It seems like this is a culture I'm very unfamiliar with.  I've attended a few EO liturgies and I didn't feel I got lost.  I felt I could get the hang of it quickly given the Coptic rite we use, which is way more complicated from my pov.  I was even chanting with the choir, to the point where some of the members told me to join, not knowing I'm OO.

So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 06, 2017, 01:13:07 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: hecma925 on July 06, 2017, 01:43:08 AM
It seems like this is a culture I'm very unfamiliar with.  I've attended a few EO liturgies and I didn't feel I got lost.  I felt I could get the hang of it quickly given the Coptic rite we use, which is way more complicated from my pov.  I was even chanting with the choir, to the point where some of the members told me to join, not knowing I'm OO.

So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

Yup.

Another article:

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/musicstand/good-church-music-starts-with-kids/
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Dominika on July 06, 2017, 07:44:49 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.
+1 I love the Coptic approach to the hymns. Well, mabye sometimes it's... Too much oncentration on the way of chanting instead of the words (maybe I'm wrong in my observations). But, due to this approach, the hymns and their ancient melodies survived well despite difficult circumstances in Egypt and then in diaspora. It's also the way for chidlren to accustomed to the chants, that are totally different music from the one they're going to listen "in the world".
There is a children choir at my parish that sings during the first Liturgy (that's dedicated to school children and youth and their parents, since they have religion classes after it) and it's a good way of their involvemnet and get know at least a bit Church Slavonic language. But, unfortunately, not all choidlren want/no all parents want their children to join the choir. So, maybe 1/4 of the parish children sing.

And singing/chanting it's a really good way to focus children on the service. It also applies to adults. E.g yesteday evening I was more focused on the Akathist when I was singing at least its refrains, than usually For me it's too long and too much schematical, so, sometimes, just boring. But it's a totally different percpetion when the whcol congregation, e.g on pilgrimages or at the Holy Mount Grabarka, sing the all chanting parts of an Akathist.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: LBK on July 06, 2017, 08:09:19 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 06, 2017, 11:24:49 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

So let me ask this: will the parishioners be directly paying for the choir leader?
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 06, 2017, 11:52:20 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

So let me ask this: will the parishioners be directly paying for the choir leader?

I want it to be a budget item which is funded strictly from our tithes, so yes.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 06, 2017, 11:53:36 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.

If there is a monetary value associated with it, then I think people will start to demand returns on the investment. 
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 06, 2017, 11:59:53 AM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.

If there is a monetary value associated with it, then I think people will start to demand returns on the investment.


Unless you are going to pay enough for that person to harangue parishioners into rehearsing.....

Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 06, 2017, 12:03:41 PM
^You really don't get it, do you?  And that's OK.  Perhaps you should stop acting as if you know what's going on at my parish.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: DeniseDenise on July 06, 2017, 12:12:02 PM
^You really don't get it, do you?  And that's OK.  Perhaps you should stop acting as if you know what's going on at my parish.

You are the one that keeps saying that parishioners don't want to rehearse...etc.


You can pay someone to call rehearsals and stand there.....in an empty room teaching no one....because sorry....the fact they are out some sum of money will not suddenly enthuse them.

and that's IF anyone even votes to approve paying someone.


Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: minasoliman on July 06, 2017, 12:15:31 PM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.

If there is a monetary value associated with it, then I think people will start to demand returns on the investment.

Ok, I can see why you might think this could work.  I hope it does, at least as an initial investment before going back to a volunteer basis.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: scamandrius on July 06, 2017, 12:24:47 PM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.

If there is a monetary value associated with it, then I think people will start to demand returns on the investment.

Ok, I can see why you might think this could work.  I hope it does, at least as an initial investment before going back to a volunteer basis.

I do, too.  The other option is just to sit by and do nothing and see our musical heritage go by the wayside.  Plus, also remember that I'm not just pushing for our choir director to receive a stipend but also our protos.  In both areas, there is so much that we can and should be doing not only for the enrichment of music at our parish but ensuring that the music we treasure as Orthodox Christians can be passed on.  People have to see the value in it.  And, whether it's right or wrong, it seems that a monetary investment is the only way for some people to see that.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Porter ODoran on July 06, 2017, 12:31:32 PM
So I am having a hard time understanding why parish members are unwilling at least to send their young ones to choir practice.  We begin teaching kids at a very early age, 5-6 years.  That's what is keeping them in liturgy.  Familiarity, and getting used to learning the hymns at a very very very young age.  Otherwise, no one will take the time to learn the Coptic hymns in our church, because they can be a little tough sometimes to learn, especially in their original language.

I'm not saying my parish is necessarily representative of EOs with regards to this subject.  One thing I have noticed over the past 12 years that I have been a member of this parish is that my fellow parishioners will get all excited about a new endeavor, whatever that may be (service, ministry, class, study, etc.) which will last for one or two events and then fade away.  For instance, my priest when he was first assigned to our parish was approached by one of the "old guards" who said that the people here didn't know the Orthodox faith and were eager for Fr. to teach.  So, Fr. prepared and taught a few classes with a great attendance, but after a few, no one came.  I've seen this myself with people wanting to learn Byzantine chant.  Now, I'm not in any position to teach the psaltic art though I do teachde facto because of my presence at the analogion. I would say we have had over ten people over the past few years say they really wanted to learn, but after a couple of sessions, they said they weren't interested anymore.  It's just what we've got.  BUt that doesn't mean we should surrender to mediocrity.  That's why I'm making a push for this.  Let me put it this way:  if our priest were not trained well and qualified, the parishioners would be up in arms.  Draw a parallel between that and a well trained, qualified choir director.  The two should synch up.

Paying the choirmaster or the protopsaltis will not shake people out of their apathy.

If there is a monetary value associated with it, then I think people will start to demand returns on the investment.

Ok, I can see why you might think this could work.  I hope it does, at least as an initial investment before going back to a volunteer basis.

I do, too.  The other option is just to sit by and do nothing and see our musical heritage go by the wayside.  Plus, also remember that I'm not just pushing for our choir director to receive a stipend but also our protos.  In both areas, there is so much that we can and should be doing not only for the enrichment of music at our parish but ensuring that the music we treasure as Orthodox Christians can be passed on.  People have to see the value in it.  And, whether it's right or wrong, it seems that a monetary investment is the only way for some people to see that.

You've certainly convinced yourself.
Title: Re: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?
Post by: Bruin5 on July 06, 2017, 01:27:43 PM
My wife is the choir director at our parish (around 100 attendees/Sunday) and she is not paid.  She spends on average around 1.5 hours per week preparing for Liturgy.  This included amending all our music to use the new translation from the GOC.  Our choir averages about 8 people, and my wife and I are the only ones who can read music.  We only rehearse during Lent, and that happens on Sundays after Liturgy.

The complication in the Divine Liturgy are the variable Apolotykions and Kontakions, and since we don't practice, trying to sing them as a group acapella can be a hot mess.  A couple of years ago we decided that we would solo those hymns, so my wife and I split them up and sing them in English (our Presbytera sings them in Greek). 

The really nice thing is that the congregation sings along with us, and since my wife has been doing it so long, they know the pace, breaks, etc.   We are GOC, but have a multi ethnic parish and a number of converts, and they know the Greek and English versions of the regular hymns.

So, it's really about consistency of the music, and being a bit strategic as to how much you ask the choir to do as a whole.  It also helps if the Priest reminds the congregation that they are part of the "work of the people" so that they have a responsibility to participate as well.