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Interesting! I see one member quotes his Church fee as '£80 (or bottle of gin for friends)', a Portugese member's fee looks suspiciously like he prefers payment in wine or port and a JS Bach of Leipzig charges 60 Kr.

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Any thoughts I may have on this topic are probably - yea, almost certainly - unsuitable for voicing in public.

 

Malcolm

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Guest Hector5
Any thoughts I may have on this topic are probably - yea, almost certainly - unsuitable for voicing in public.

 

Malcolm

 

Well I will voice my thoughts. There are a number of websites run by individuals common to the Crem website. All give away hoods based such flimsy requirements, such as the fact that one needs to have a pulse. These individuals who found such organisations are a menace, and devalue such diplomas that the likes of members of this board have worked long and hard for. About ten years ago to my eternal shame, I nearly joined one such society in desperation in order to get a hood (I didn't have one). My wife pursuaded me to work for them, and a few years down the line I now have a degree and five diplomas - and yes I worked hard for these, and am very proud to display my bling on appropriate occasions. I personally would like to ban the presentation of academic hoods to people in return for cold hard cash. At the end of the day, it's sheer hard work that counts. The fact that you have a nice 'ash grey' and red hood doesn't make you a good organist..........................

 

In reading this through the steam coming out of my ears, I realise that the English language is quite appalling as I cannot deal with grammar when I'm seeing red.

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Well I will voice my thoughts. There are a number of websites run by individuals common to the Crem website. All give away hoods based such flimsy requirements, such as the fact that one needs to have a pulse. These individuals who found such organisations are a menace, and devalue such diplomas that the likes of members of this board have worked long and hard for. About ten years ago to my eternal shame, I nearly joined one such society in desperation in order to get a hood (I didn't have one). My wife pursuaded me to work for them, and a few years down the line I now have a degree and five diplomas - and yes I worked hard for these, and am very proud to display my bling on appropriate occasions. I personally would like to ban the presentation of academic hoods to people in return for cold hard cash. At the end of the day, it's sheer hard work that counts. The fact that you have a nice 'ash grey' and red hood doesn't make you a good organist..........................

 

In reading this through the steam coming out of my ears, I realise that the English language is quite appalling as I cannot deal with grammar when I'm seeing red.

I looked at this and signed up out of interest. I can now add the letters FSCO to my name - and all for the click of a proverbial mouse! (Not that I will be doing that BTW). There is an attached YahooGroup and I also signed up to that. On it there is all the usual crematorium humour, which most of us who have to work at crems will have heard a million times over - such as dubious hymn choices - "light up the fire and let the flame burn", "always look on the bright side of life" - etc. There is also talk of hoods, and the ash grey FSCO hood is a snip at a cool [or should that be sizzling hot] thirty quid. Whilst it may appear to be a groovy hood, I am not about to rush out and get one.

 

What I was a bit sorry about is that there are some really serious issues facing those who have to play (and conduct funerals) at crematoria. Organist-pay in many places is quite low, and the introduction of canned music and this new Wesley Music System which we are hearing about, seems to me quite a major threat to live crematorium organists. It occurs to me that if such a Society is needed it should be for tackling the issues that could put organists of work - and not be for dubious crematorium humour and talk of worthless hoods and other tat.

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What I was a bit sorry about is that there are some really serious issues facing those who have to play (and conduct funerals) at crematoria. Organist-pay in many places is quite low, and the introduction of canned music and this new Wesley Music System which we are hearing about, seems to me quite a major threat to live crematorium organists. It occurs to me that if such a Society is needed it should be for tackling the issues that could put organists of work - and not be for dubious crematorium humour and talk of worthless hoods and other tat.

 

It happened some time ago at Peterborough Crematorium - the Wesley System replaced live organists and I was out of a job. (A job which I mostly enjoyed.)

 

The clergy weren't keen, but nobody seems bothered any more. I'm sure it will happen everywhere. The system is very efficient and can do everything an organist can do on an electronic, except bring music at the beginning to a close rather than just fade it out. Hymn accompaniments work okay, although I don't think the system can encourage people to sing in the way that a live organist often can.

 

Of course the vast majority of people would prefer to listen to the deceased's favourite music ripped from a CD than a Bach Chorale Prelude or anything else played on an organ. Those who prefer the real thing are more likely to have a service in church, anyway.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

Our crematorium has an organist and the Wesley system. There was a fade-out facility in the pulpit for clergy to use, but they seem to have broken it and it's now taped over.

 

The problem I find with the Wesley system is that it's OK when set up in advance but last-minute changes, repeats or fadings out are not easy to do. If you arrive at the crematorium and find that they've set it up differently from the way you've agreed with the family it's hard to change things. From my point of view, this makes it hard to maintain whatever atmosphere I've planned in the preparation for the service, and since I plan carefully, this is very irritating. The organists, on the other hand, know what's going on, where the possible pitfalls are, and can play, fade and repaet CD tracks if required. They make a big difference.

 

One practice which seems to be creeping in is the idea that we sit all the way through a piece of the beloved dead's favourite music. This I can do without. I allow CDs (even in church, if I can't persuade them otherwise) out of compassion, but compassion can be pushed too far...

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Well I will voice my thoughts. There are a number of websites run by individuals common to the Crem website. All give away hoods based such flimsy requirements, such as the fact that one needs to have a pulse. These individuals who found such organisations are a menace, and devalue such diplomas that the likes of members of this board have worked long and hard for. About ten years ago to my eternal shame, I nearly joined one such society in desperation in order to get a hood (I didn't have one). My wife pursuaded me to work for them, and a few years down the line I now have a degree and five diplomas - and yes I worked hard for these, and am very proud to display my bling on appropriate occasions. I personally would like to ban the presentation of academic hoods to people in return for cold hard cash. At the end of the day, it's sheer hard work that counts. The fact that you have a nice 'ash grey' and red hood doesn't make you a good organist..........................

 

In reading this through the steam coming out of my ears, I realise that the English language is quite appalling as I cannot deal with grammar when I'm seeing red.

Isn't it interesting to note that all these places giving away dodgy 'diplomas' seem to have people at the helm who profess to have the degree of "DMus"?! As far as my understanding goes, whilst these 'organisations' are allowed to grant so-called diplomas, they're not allowed to give degrees. Where do these DMus degrees come from, then? I doubt they're genuine. The USA, perhaps? :blink:

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I play regularly at two crematoria - both ten minutes walk from my front door. The one owned by the City Council has two chapels, each with a decent enough Allen organ. CDs are operated in the vestry by the very efficient and sympathetic staff and the organists are treated extremely well, valued and frequently thanked by officiants and mourners for our contribution to a good service.

 

The other one is owned be Destiny. They cannot get a regular organist - or apparently keep other staff very long either - because the working conditions are so bad and word has got around. Organists will only play there if asked direct by the FD and a number of local FDs regularly approach me and pay me whatever I ask. They now have a Wesley system which might work well if the people in charge of setting it up remained in employment there long enough to become proficient at it. Last week the opening music played over the Wesleyt system was the wrong track and they had to stop it and start again.

 

I think it is agreed that frequently the music chosen is pretty inappropriate and appalling but, as Patrick rightly says, there are pastoral considerations and some of it is no worse than the Clapping Gloria or the music of Paul Inwood beloved of some churches.

 

Whilst I find the most of the music I am asked to play very undemanding musically and technically I am very mindful of the fact that with funerals the congregation is going to be upset and emotional anyway and you only have one chance to get it right. Because of this I take as much care as I would playing Liszt in a recital and I am sure all the other organists who play our our crematoir do also. Rather like Patrick obviously, and rightly, takes great care over the funerals that he conducts. It is a pastoral duty.

 

A closing anecdote. A few months ago I was playing for a funeral when the CD of "Stranger on the shore" wouldn't work. The officiant - a priest well known to Quentin and myself - readily said "Oh, I'm sure Malcolm can play it on the organ". Luckily they got the CD working in time!

 

Malcolm

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Isn't it interesting to note that all these places giving away dodgy 'diplomas' seem to have people at the helm who profess to have the degree of "DMus"?! As far as my understanding goes, whilst these 'organisations' are allowed to grant so-called diplomas, they're not allowed to give degrees. Where do these DMus degrees come from, then? I doubt they're genuine. The USA, perhaps? :blink:

 

Just curious, but what actually is to stop someone from dishing out doctorates? :unsure:

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Whilst I find the most of the music I am asked to play very undemanding musically and technically I am very mindful of the fact that with funerals the congregation is going to be upset and emotional anyway and you only have one chance to get it right. Because of this I take as much care as I would playing Liszt in a recital and I am sure all the other organists who play our our crematoir do also. Rather like Patrick obviously, and rightly, takes great care over the funerals that he conducts. It is a pastoral duty.

Malcolm

 

This is good to hear. My own mother's funeral is planned for next week and I fear the worst because a) it is difficult to broach the subject of music before the death happens and :blink: without knowing the organist's repertoire it is possible that a request might be made that cannot be fulfilled due to shortage of time to learn it.

 

I know of people who have carried out this duty for family members but don't think I could do this. I have at least tried to influence the hymn choice with remaining parent (always supposing there are hymns!) but expect to be sturdily ignored especially as I can't be there when it is planned.

 

There may not even be an organist, I suppose. If anything ghastly happens I may need to let off steam on here; apologies in advance.

 

Edit - I've no idea where that smilie came from; I did not ask for it and cannot seem to get rid of it!

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Guest Hector5

All this talk of death has left me in a somewhat thoughtful mood. I'm 50 on the 1st July, and more aware that I have a lot less time left, despite being what can be best described as a perpetual teenager. While this could start a whole new thread, I have pretty much decided that I don't want any music at my funeral at all. Why should I................, well the basic fact is that I would want to be playing for it! I don't want people to say such platitudes as "he would have loved the music........." - no he bl**dy wouldn't, as he didn't want to die in the first place!

 

While in rant mode - perhaps it's up to us to encourage people to better themselves by aspiring to take examinations. These tin-pot organisations who offer a fellowship for peanuts should be completely ignored or even closed down. There is something out there for everyone at every stage of their musical development. I started out with my Archbishops' Certificate in Church Music - and received this at Lambeth Palace from the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was about my level, and brimming with confidence went on to take the ABRSM organ performance diplomas, combining this with the new RSCM qualifications with the University of Wales, topping it all off with a BA(hons) degree in music from the OU. I was a late bloomer, and frankly I did it all for me. Despite a string of qualifications, I'm still organist of a village church, but very proud of what I have achieved in only four years. So, for those of you tempted, think again. The Guild of Church Musicians has now linked with Christchurch Canterbury, and the qualification now can score points towards a degree, as the does the RSCM qualifications.

 

Oh - and Holz, I agree with you about the proliferation of people with a DMus. Perhaps you can get one free with your coffee and burger from a well-known high street establishment!

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Quick question: What is the Wesley System?

 

I notice that the Fellow of the Society of Crematorium Organists hood is lined in flame red...

 

That smiley thing when you follow a letter "b" with a ")" is really annoying when you want to list your points...

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Quick question: What is the Wesley System?

 

That smiley thing when you follow a letter "b" with a ")" is really annoying when you want to list your points...

 

Ah - so it's a bug in the programme?

 

As to the Wesley System, I've a feeling I may be about to find out. Maybe it is a hologram of Wesley miming to a CD rather like a York Dungeon Museum interactive thingy.

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As to the Wesley System, I've a feeling I may be about to find out. Maybe it is a hologram of Wesley miming to a CD rather like a York Dungeon Museum interactive thingy.

 

It's the bee's knees: no difficult organists involved and no fees to pay. Nobody knows the difference. C'est la vie (no, wait a minute, it's the opposite, I suppose).

 

Don't know why it's called the "Wesley" system - definitely not S S., S, C or J.

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It's the bee's knees: no difficult organists involved and no fees to pay. Nobody knows the difference. C'est la vie (no, wait a minute, it's the opposite, I suppose).

 

Don't know why it's called the "Wesley" system - definitely not S S., S, C or J.

 

Hmmm... wasn't it John Wesley who talked of the only good organ being a silent organ? So perchance the spectre of Wesley is looming larger than you may think ......

 

:blink:

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Guest Patrick Coleman

There is further information on their website.

 

They say that the hymns and organ music supplied were recorded on a high quality pipe organ somewhere in Northamptonshire, with a 'classically trained and eminently qualified organist'. The hunt is on!

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There is further information on their website.

 

They say that the hymns and organ music supplied were recorded on a high quality pipe organ somewhere in Northamptonshire, with a 'classically trained and eminently qualified organist'. The hunt is on!

 

So even they couldn't do it without the real thing (both organ and organist!)

 

Jonathan

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This is what it says on their website:

 

Specialist Music & Media Services

 

Established in the mid 1990's, Wesley Music was set up to provide a highly specialised music service to the bereavement community. Using the resources of its mother company - The Yaboo Company Limted, a company of professional musicians, recording engineers and production managers, each having considerable experience in the music business (through ventures ranging from the recording of Gregorian chant to the promotion of pop and rock concerts) - Wesley Music provides a unique library of recordings specifically for use in crematoria.

 

From the very beginning the company made it its business to provide clients with exactly what they wanted, and to continue this on an on-going basis. The result has been a continuous development of our services culminating in the on-line computer-controlled music system provided today.

 

With our extensive knowledge of and access to all types of recorded music, we have become the one-stop music solution to our clients - "if it's available, we'll provide it"! At Wesley Music we take immense pride in the special relationship developed with each and every one of our customers, and we dedicate ourselves to the continued update and development of our services.

 

My thoughts:

 

Wesley Music was set up to provide a highly specialised music service to the bereavement community. - Isn't that what real organists do, well its what I do!

 

From the very beginning the company made it its business to provide clients with exactly what they wanted, and to continue this on an on-going basis. - Again, isn't that what real organists do. I provide a comprehensive service, including discussions with family, advice that if something isn't suitable on the organ it may be better to use a CD, and source that CD if necessary, but I charge them a reasonable fee for the service I provide.

 

With our extensive knowledge of and access to all types of recorded music, we have become the one-stop music solution to our clients - "if it's available, we'll provide it"! - Well, I can go one further, even if it isn't available, I go out of my way to make available, transcribing if necessary, and using my large network of contacts to find out of print music.

 

At Wesley Music we take immense pride in the special relationship developed with each and every one of our customers, and we dedicate ourselves to the continued update and development of our services. - I think it would be fair to say I don't take pride in the service I provide, in fact I find it incredibly humbling to be asked, and provide the highest standard of service, but I still believe pride goes before a fall!

 

Jonathan

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I once heard that the opposite of pride is not humility, but shame....

 

Arrogance is another matter, and surely it is that (and not pride) which comes before the fall. :blink:

 

You may be right, but th old adage is 'Pride comes before a fall'.

 

I still don't think pride is an appropriate thing to take when dealing with the bereaved.

 

Jonathan

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I still don't think pride is an appropriate thing to take when dealing with the bereaved.

 

I certainly take pride in doing the best job I can.

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