gazman Posted December 12, 2007 Share Posted December 12, 2007 RANT ALERT! I've just returned home after playing for a carol concert for a certain organization who have an annual concert/service (I'm not sure which it was!) at one of my churches. I was asked to play for this event a couple of months ago, but was unable at that stage to play for it due to another booking and arranged for my assistant to play. However, a few days later they asked me if I could get a choir together as they were unable to find a choir to sing at the event. I said that I would arrange a choir for that evening taken from members of three of my choirs and rearrange my other booking in order to be available to play for this service. This was received with gratitude. A couple of weeks ago I had a message on my answerphone telling me that they had now found a "proper" choir, so there was no need for me to provide a choir! I was a bit miffed as you can imagine. It was a choir that I'd never heard of. I asked if they would send me the scores of what they were singing. Well, yesterday evening I found an envelope on my doorstep. Inside it was a pile of badly photocopied sheets of various carols (some single-sided, some double-sided, some short carols, others sprawling over a number of sheets, all loose) with illegible instructions written all over them, repeats crossed out and others drawn in, arrows drawn to different sections, and many of the scores greatly reduced in size to get two pages to fit on an A4 page, changes to notation, scribbled bits of manuscript inserted, loads of notes in red pen and crossings out &c with the result that a lot of it was barely readable. Due to a rehearsal last night, and a busy day today, I only had about ten minutes after dinner this evening to try and sort out what went where. I met the choir's conductor (a woman with no obvious self-doubt) shortly before the service/concert this evening. She had come armed with additional photocopied sheets and instructions for me. She seemed to take offence at me gently pointing out that, had I received the scores earlier, I'd have had a chance to learn the accompaniments rather than sight reading! I went through the scores with her, and we found that some of her instructions were wrong! Now, as for the choir, don't get me started on that one....! Suffice to say that all the items which are normally unaccompanied (including easy things like CFC arrangement of Silent Night) she asked me to play along with them to keep them together. I spent the whole evening trying to find what sheet we were on next, playing the organ with one hand and pedals whilst trying with my other hand variously to stop the loose sheets falling off the console, trying to turn the loose pages, or to find where the Dickens the next page was. It was an absolute nightmare and really rather nerve-wracking. Had anything gone awry, the organist would have looked as if he was to blame! I had to rescue the choir repeatedly. Had I provided a choir as originally agreed, everything would have gone smoothly. Just before the last carol, the president of the organization got up to thank various people. Of course, he lavished excessive and vomit-worthy praise on the choir, and there was a huge amount of applause for them. Why? Don't people use their ears? I don't normally swear in church, but heard myself spontaneously come out with a naughty word. Well, I had to either curse or vomit. He then went on to thank everybody and anybody who had contributed (and, it seemed, anybody who hadn't) at great length. And guess who he forgot (or couldn't be bothered) to thank? I don't normally like to have accolades for just doing my job, but I'd had a nerve-wracking 70 minutes and things had gone without a hitch purely because of my hard work and, dare I say, expertise. Well, I was so miffed that I made a silly little slip in the play-over to the last carol, which didn't help my mood at all! At the end of the event there was no mention of a fee, and no fee was forthcoming. I wondered why I had bothered. I went home via the off-licence, and am soothing myself with a glass of malt! Folks, are we organists and musicians regarded as second-class citizens or just items of church furniture? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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