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Wedding Problems?


Peter Clark

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Even with a slightly gammy leg I still am irked....

 

Last week and today weddings have been and will be celebrated at the church where I play. "Guest" organists have been engaged for both, without my beiong involved. Indeed, I only found out about today's last Tuesday when I phoned the groom and said that I had not had norification of the music required. This cannot be considered satisfactory. Apart from the financial aspect, if I note that there is a wedding on a certain day I know to keep that day free - or if I cannot get out of another engagement I know can call upon other organists. Yet there seems little I can do about it.....

 

Has anybody else had these problems?

 

Peter

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Even with a slightly gammy leg I still am irked....

 

Last week and today weddings have been and will be celebrated at the church where I play. "Guest" organists have been engaged for both, without my beiong involved. Indeed, I only found out about today's last Tuesday when I phoned the groom and said that I had not had norification of the music required. This cannot be considered satisfactory. Apart from the financial aspect, if I note that there is a wedding on a certain day I know to keep that day free - or if I cannot get out of another engagement I know can call upon other organists. Yet there seems little I can do about it.....

 

Has anybody else had these problems?

 

Peter

 

My 'boss' always confirms/books weddings with me (or not if another organist is playing) when he initially meets with the couple so I know well in advance whether I am required or not. I also bother him about the music rather than the bride groom in the first instance.

 

AJJ

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My 'boss' always confirms/books weddings with me (or not if another organist is playing) when he initially meets with the couple so I know well in advance whether I am required or not. I also bother him about the music rather than the bride groom in the first instance.

 

AJJ

 

Well Alastair it was the celebrant who told me that the bride and groom would be contacting me, presumably in the knowledge that they had already arranged for another organist! :(

 

Peter

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Guest Lee Blick

I think it would be courteous for the organist to be notified if guest organists are to be playing for a wedding service at his church. In addition, the incumbant organist should be entitled to the organist fee. Well, that is how I have come to expect over the years. Or is this wrong nowadays?

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My church makes it clear to wedding couples from the outset that they are free to bring their own organist if they wish, but that the full fee is still payable to the resident organist.

I think the resident organist actually has a legal right to his fee...?

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Well Alastair it was the celebrant who told me that the bride and groom would be contacting me, presumably in the knowledge that they had already arranged for another organist! :(

 

Peter

 

That doesn't help does it - 'seems to me the celebrant needs to be more on top of arrangements - mind you mine has just rung up to check I'm still on for the 2.30 today! ;)

 

AJJ

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Guest Patrick Coleman

I don't' give wedding couples the choice - they get the resident organist, and then they can negotiate other musicians if they wish. They pay the organist, even if he/she turns up just to polish the console seat.

 

Incidentally, I don't allow piped music (even thought we have an excellent system) at weddings, though I grit my teeth and allow it at funerals - out of what I hope is compassion.

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Some years ago I had just finished my voluntary at our evening service, when a lady came over and started writing down the organ specification. Upon asking if she was a player, she told me her brother needed the information as he was playing for her wedding the following Saturday.

 

Needless to say no-one had bothered to ask me first, or, indeed, apologise for the oversight. I was sorely tempted to remove the main fuses from the rectifiers inside the organ.

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Some years ago I had just finished my voluntary at our evening service, when a lady came over and started writing down the organ specification. Upon asking if she was a player, she told me her brother needed the information as he was playing for her wedding the following Saturday.

 

Needless to say no-one had bothered to ask me first, or, indeed, apologise for the oversight. I was sorely tempted to remove the main fuses from the rectifiers inside the organ.

 

I hope that you were at least given the fee for this wedding.

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Even with a slightly gammy leg I still am irked....

 

Last week and today weddings have been and will be celebrated at the church where I play. "Guest" organists have been engaged for both, without my beiong involved. Indeed, I only found out about today's last Tuesday when I phoned the groom and said that I had not had norification of the music required. This cannot be considered satisfactory. Apart from the financial aspect, if I note that there is a wedding on a certain day I know to keep that day free - or if I cannot get out of another engagement I know can call upon other organists. Yet there seems little I can do about it.....

 

Has anybody else had these problems?

 

Peter

 

The ISM's information sheet on music for weddings says, "If you are getting married in a church, it is usual to ask the resident organist to play for you. Alternatively you may ask another organist to play. If you decide to engage another organist, you might also have to pay the resident organist (depending on your church’s contract with the organist)."

 

It all depends then on what it says in your contract with your church...

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Hmm, I don't play weddings anymore (besides, we don't have that many) - never liked it.

 

OT - there's a nice joke in Dutch language about the marital state;

 

The only words in Dutch that rhyme to 'huwelijk' (the dutch word for marriage) are: 'gruwelijk' and 'afschuwelijk" (horrible and afwul).

Makes you think ;)

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Hmmm!

 

Should be:

  • a fee for the resident organist (+audio recording fee +video recording fee)

otherwise (if other musician(s) substituted)

  • a fee for the resident organist, and,
  • a fee for the use of the organ

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My situation is little complicated and we rarely have weddings at my establishment anyway. However, last April, there was a wedding where the couple brought their own organist. It irked me that they never approached me first but what happened on the actual day was utterly amazing.

 

Visiting organists have 4 divisional channels and 20 channels for General pistons. This gives them 160 general combinations - more than enough for most recitals and certainly enough for a wedding. This particular visiting organist didn't read the instruction sheet explaining the piston arrangements which is prominently placed on the console and immediately started altering my divisional piston settings. At the end, he left a note saying sorry but he hadn't read the instructions first.

 

The visiting organist is an eminent organist who has I believe made many recordings, given many recitals and has a position at an important London church. Altering piston settings without permission is just an appalling breach of etiquette. Or am I just overreacting?

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I think it would be courteous for the organist to be notified if guest organists are to be playing for a wedding service at his church. In addition, the incumbant organist should be entitled to the organist fee. Well, that is how I have come to expect over the years. Or is this wrong nowadays?

 

Funnily enough, I have just come back from the midlands (10 mins ago) where I took my choir, and my own organist for a wedding - we were booked for this. I made it clear to the Vicar of the church that part of our terms were, that the resident organist should know about this, and be offered his usual fee whether or not he set foot in the place - this fee should be paid by the wedding couple on top of fees due to us.

I think Lee has it in a nutshell....and if I heard that an organist was coming to play for a wedding in my church and I (a) didn't know about it and (;) hadn't been offered a fee, I would certainly consider disabling the organ, but would probably not and end up fuming in silence through not wanting to spoil the bride's day!!!

 

Richard

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Altering piston settings without permission is just an appalling breach of etiquette. Or am I just overreacting?

 

Yes it is..............of course you are not!

 

AJJ

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Altering piston settings without permission is just an appalling breach of etiquette. Or am I just overreacting?

Considering that you had left instructions, but they were ignored, I think your indignation is fair enough. However, I also think this is something that works both ways. There have been one or two occasions when I've been on tour with DHM's choir when we have turned up at the church at the appointed rehearsal time to find no organist present nor any instructions about pistons. Given that DHM is meticulous about liaising with the musical staff beforehand, this cannot be due to a failure of communications. Personally I find this absence extremely discourteous and, given that rehearsal time is usually minimal, I have had no qualms about diving straight for the setter piston.

 

I guess the best solution is to have a multi-level capture system with lockable channels, backed up with an instruction sheet on the console.

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Guest Cynic
I think it would be courteous for the organist to be notified if guest organists are to be playing for a wedding service at his church. In addition, the incumbant organist should be entitled to the organist fee. Well, that is how I have come to expect over the years. Or is this wrong nowadays?

 

 

This is also my understanding of how it should work.

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I guess the best solution is to have a multi-level capture system with lockable channels, backed up with an instruction sheet on the console.

Recently an aquaintance turned up for recital at a local church to find 62 out of 64 channels locked (though the key was present). I have had the same experience at cathedrals where the 'visitor channels' are locked . In these circumstances I unlock them and try to return them to what they were. (Assuming I had time to write it down - not always possible given limited console time).

 

At 'home' we have a regular clean up in which all locked channels (other than the permanently allcoated ones) have to be reclaimed - its surprising how many are freed up each time (and no-one can remember using them!!!)

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Guest Barry Williams

It is easy to avoid all of the problems of fees and visiting organists, by having an appropriate paragraph included in the contract.

 

Whilst the use of the organ (in the Church of England, under Canon B20) is restricted to the decision of the minister (solely), an appropriate paragraph in the contract will ensure that the incumbent organist has the say in these matters.

 

It is regrettable that some organists do not see the need to follow the usual courtesies.

 

Barry Williams

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Recently an aquaintance turned up for recital at a local church to find 62 out of 64 channels locked (though the key was present). I have had the same experience at cathedrals where the 'visitor channels' are locked . In these circumstances I unlock them and try to return them to what they were. (Assuming I had time to write it down - not always possible given limited console time).

 

At 'home' we have a regular clean up in which all locked channels (other than the permanently allcoated ones) have to be reclaimed - its surprising how many are freed up each time (and no-one can remember using them!!!)

Given that more than a few of us, I would imagine, already carry around a small USB memory stick, it would be a small matter, I presume, to fit a USB socket into the combination system and then we could dispense with locking altogether. You always have your combinations with you, ready to plug into your own organ. The real advantage would come if there was some sort of combination standard, like GEDCOM for genealogy files, whereby plugging your combinations into a strange organ would render a first guess which could then be adjusted. I would imagine many of us have Clarinet on the highest numbered Choir piston, for example.

 

In case some of you have no idea what I'm talking about, a USB memory stick is about half the size of a disposable cigarette lighter and stores computer data, up to about 2-4000 times as much as could be stored on an old floppy disk. They cost about £20.

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Given that more than a few of us, I would imagine, already carry around a small USB memory stick, it would be a small matter, I presume, to fit a USB socket into the combination system and then we could dispense with locking altogether. You always have your combinations with you, ready to plug into your own organ. The real advantage would come if there was some sort of combination standard, like GEDCOM for genealogy files, whereby plugging your combinations into a strange organ would render a first guess which could then be adjusted. I would imagine many of us have Clarinet on the highest numbered Choir piston, for example.

 

In case some of you have no idea what I'm talking about, a USM memory stick is about half the size of a disposable cigarette lighter and stores computer data, up to about 2-4000 times as much as could be stored on an old floppy disk. They cost about £20.

 

Mind you when I think about what is on my memory stick I could really sabbotage someones system by feeding in a set of Year 10 reports. Goodness knows what would come up on Choir 1 then!

 

AJJ

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You are entitled to your 'bench fee' if you are able and willing to play for a wedding but the B&G prefer to engage some other organist. Your clergy should be sympathetic here, and furthermore, a bad organist can ruin your reputation. I can here it now......

 

"I went to a weddding at such-and-such chrurch the other day - the organist was absolutely CRAP!"

 

You have your reputation to protect, never mind your income, and the security of the instrument in your charge (whatever it may be) SO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN and insist on nothing less!

 

I have a situation coming up similar to the above. The only difference is that the ORGAN is owned by myself, and I have an agreement with the church in which it is situated about visiting organists for weddings etc.

 

Basically unless they pay for my time to vet the visiting organist and a fee for the use of the instument, they get the piano.

 

End of...

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You are entitled to your 'bench fee' if you are able and willing to play for a wedding but the B&G prefer to engage some other organist. Your clergy should be sympathetic here, and furthermore, a bad organist can ruin your reputation. I can here it now......

 

"I went to a weddding at such-and-such church the other day - the organist was absolutely CRAP!"

 

You have your reputation to protect, never mind your income, and the security of the instrument in your charge (whatever it may be) SO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN and insist on nothing less!

 

I have a situation coming up similar to the above. The only difference is that the ORGAN is owned by myself, and I have an agreement with the church in which it is situated about visiting organists for weddings etc.

 

Basically unless they pay for my time to vet the visiting organist and a fee for the use of the instument, they get the piano.

 

End of...

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Guest Lee Blick
"I went to a weddding at such-and-such church the other day - the organist was absolutely CRAP!"

 

For many organists it could be the opposite: "Wow, that organist is AWESOME!"

 

I wonder whether this fee situtation is actually included in many organists contracts, or is it more of a Gentleman's agreement, ie. an unwritten rule.

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