Poll

Does your parish have either or both your choir director and head chanter as a paid position?

Yes for both
3 (13.6%)
Yes for one
7 (31.8%)
No
12 (54.5%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Is your choir director and/or protopsaltis a paid position at your church?  (Read 4780 times)

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Offline scamandrius

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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.
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Offline Agabus

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Our choir director is just a member of the laity who sings really loudly.
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Offline Dominika

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"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?...
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Offline minasoliman

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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.
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Offline Isaac14

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Neither are paid. We're an OCA mission parish with an average Sunday morning attendance of 60 (adults & kids).

Offline Porter ODoran

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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.
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Offline Dominika

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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.

Offline RaphaCam

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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.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 10:30:49 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline scamandrius

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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.
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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.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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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
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Offline Agabus

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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.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Offline Agabus

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

Right. Sometimes people just get worn down over time.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Offline Porter ODoran

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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.
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Offline scamandrius

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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. 
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Offline DeniseDenise

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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. 
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Offline Agabus

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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.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Offline scamandrius

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^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.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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^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?
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Offline scamandrius

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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/
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Offline scamandrius

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^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.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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^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

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Offline minasoliman

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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.
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Offline scamandrius

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^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.
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Offline scamandrius

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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.
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Offline minasoliman

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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.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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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.
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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.
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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.

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Offline Porter ODoran

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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.
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Offline hecma925

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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.
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Offline minasoliman

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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.
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Offline hecma925

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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.
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Offline hecma925

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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.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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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.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline hecma925

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Amen.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

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Offline Opus118

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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.
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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.

Offline SolEX01

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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.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 07:34:49 PM by SolEX01 »

Offline scamandrius

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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.
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Offline recent convert

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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.
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Offline Jakoblaj

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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
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:59:30 PM by Jakoblaj »

Offline scamandrius

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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. 
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Offline scamandrius

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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

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.
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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.
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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy