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Appointments 2


sbarber49
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I’m no taxation expert, but I’m not sure that ‘rent free’ means ‘tax free’.  I hope it does for the sake of the successful applicant, but harbour doubts about HMRC’s possible view.

On another thread recently I quoted Walford Davies’ salary as organist of St George’s Chapel Windsor at £600 per annum plus a house in the Castle.  Alwyn Surplice was appointed his assistant at £100 pa, and no mention of a house.  These were the figures circa 1930 (I haven’t checked the exact dates), but the current day equivalents would be around £27,500 and £4,600 respectively.  

As Martin states, given the skills and qualifications (FRCO minimum specified in this case), professional church musicians are hardly over-rewarded.  Fortunately the differential isn’t as drastic as it was in 1930.

 

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Church musicians (at least on this side of the Pond) are rarely well-paid.

My first appointment, as "Pupil Assistant Organist" as a teenager in 1963, paid the princely sum of £15.0.0 per annum - less the cost of organ lessons!

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32 minutes ago, DHM said:

My first appointment, as "Pupil Assistant Organist" as a teenager in 1963, paid the princely sum of £15.0.0 per annum - less the cost of organ lessons!

That's fifteen times what I got as a choirboy—half a crown a quarter.  1963 was the year I gravitated from a mere (unofficial and unpaid) assistant to my first proper organist's job, in a tiny church, at the luxurious wage of £1 a week—which was pretty much the going rate, locally, at the time. Being not yet 14 years old, I was extremely grateful that the church was sufficiently principled to pay the full rate for the job and not take advantage of my youth by cutting its costs. Even better, a member of the congregation preferred to put his weekly collection into my pocket rather than the church's, thus doubling my income. Wealth untold! Most of it went on organ music and LPs.

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On 12/12/2020 at 22:43, Rowland Wateridge said:

I’m no taxation expert, but I’m not sure that ‘rent free’ means ‘tax free’.  I hope it does for the sake of the successful applicant, but harbour doubts about HMRC’s possible view.

Anything an employee gets given by employer for free is taxed as a benefit in kind in schedule D income tax. The usual mechanism is that the value of the benefit is decided and then taxed as if salary and recovered in PAYE by a reduction in personal allowance. There would also be a year end P11d form and a likely personal tax return. This area is most common with company cars or company funded health insurance but it is bound to apply to accommodation I fear.

It strikes me that being a paid choir member (eg lay clerk or choral scholar) is potentially a lot more lucrative, by the hour, than an organist. A lay clerk will rarely need to do a lot of prep outside contracted rehearsal time, an organist inevitably will. Fairly obviously, people don't take up these appointments with the money as the attraction. Coupled with a part time teaching post, perhaps some BBC "Daily Service" work, some big weddings and concert work I am sure it could look better, but all those are extra work too. We are all lucky that there is a queue of amazingly talented people wanting to take such posts.

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1 hour ago, OwenTurner said:

Anything an employee gets given by employer for free is taxed as a benefit in kind in schedule D income tax.

Except, I understand, accommodation in cases where it is an occupational requirement/condition of service that one lives in accommodation provided for the necessary fulfilment of duties, e.g. house parents in a school, a minister of religion living in a house specified for their role. 

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On 12/12/2020 at 19:12, mrbouffant said:

Not a lot of money in cathedral music making, is there? At least accommodation is provided (tax free) which I guess must be the equivalent of another 20K gross on the base, approximately.

I'm not sure that "equivalent" is a fair term to use here. Whilst one might benefit from provided accommodation in terms of immediately reduced outgoings on account of said accommodation, one potentially loses the longer term opportunity of investing in one's own estate. Whilst I it is fair to reckon to offset some expenses when accommodation is provided, it isn't fair to consider such an offset in terms of a 1:1 ratio. Moreover, whilst the use of a property within the cathedral's estate may seem like a privilege, for all that privilege, the occupant may have otherwise chosen to live elsewhere, and simply accepted that provision as a part of (or, indeed, condition of) the employment package.

My simple point is to agree with you that there is, indeed, "not a lot of money in cathedral music making" from the perspective of this role. And then there is the lot of lay clerks...

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In Victorian times it was common that both organists and lay clerks worked as music teachers, I suspect the demand for pianoforte instruction was quite high. A lay clerk might have a basic salary of £70 per annum in 1870, about £8,500 in today's money, a cathedral organist £180, today worth £21,000, so external work was probably desirable.

 

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16 minutes ago, michaelwilson said:

In Victorian times it was common that both organists and lay clerks worked as music teachers...

And more recently, I am sure some cathedral sub organists were expected to function as DoM at the Cathedral School is there was one. Actually, wasn't John Sanders Director of Music at King's School, Gloucester, whilst also DoM at the Cathedral? Harry Gabb, sub organist at St Paul's was also Organist, Conductor and Composer at HM Chapel Royal at St James. And John Scott was initially simultaneously sub organist at St Paul's and at Southwark Cathedral. 

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On 28/02/2020 at 08:16, Positif said:

Interesting juxtaposition of job adverts in Oxford.  St Peter's College - a 0.4 position for two services a week, £19k.  Worcester College - a 0.4 position for four services a week, £14k.  

Anyone know if Worcester were able to appoint mid-lockdown, as St Peter's was (Quentin Beer)? I think Professor Darlington is still holding the fort?

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  • 1 month later...

I hope this isn't too oblique but, with a possible change 'at the top' in the offing, (a certain person has just passed his 75th birthday) and the possibility of the new appointment being an ex RNCM scholar it might be more interesting than may first appear!!! 

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28 minutes ago, S_L said:

I hope this isn't too oblique but, with a possible change 'at the top' in the offing, (a certain person has just passed his 75th birthday) [...]

It is a matter of public record that “He wants me to stay in post, so I will stay because that’s where my orders come from, that’s where my mandate comes from. I’m going to stay and continue to work wholeheartedly at these matters.”

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1 hour ago, wolsey said:

It is a matter of public record that “He wants me to stay in post, so I will stay because that’s where my orders come from, that’s where my mandate comes from. I’m going to stay and continue to work wholeheartedly at these matters.”

Thank you for that - that titbit hadn't reached the depths of the South Charente! 

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2 hours ago, Dr Nigel H Day said:

Westminster.  “Accommodation near the Cathedral is provided on licence.”  Any idea what this means ?

It will be interesting to see who applies, if the shortlist ever leaks out.

It means that the accommodation is linked to the employment and the licence does not create a right to possession.  In simple terms more of a permission than a right to occupy the accommodation. It would almost certainly be limited to the period and performance of the employment, subject to reasonable notice to terminate the licence.  

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Thanks for the licence clarification.

The whole application seems be shrouded in some degree of secrecy.  You express an interest in 1000 words, and only if they think you are a viable candidate, do you get the full application pack.  This is unusual.

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16 hours ago, Dr Nigel H Day said:

Thanks for the licence clarification.

The whole application seems be shrouded in some degree of secrecy.  You express an interest in 1000 words, and only if they think you are a viable candidate, do you get the full application pack.  This is unusual.

It does seem a little strange. Having said that I remember applying for a Cathedral Director of the Music post some years ago. In truth I really didn't expect to be interviewed. I held major Diplomas but not in organ playing and a first and research degrees. I got to the last three and the interviews were, to say the least, rather strange and, at one point, slightly acrimonious!!!. At the end of the two days they told us that they couldn't make up their minds and needed the weekend to think about it! On the Monday they rang me up and offered me the post which, having had a weekend to think about it, I sent them back to think again and refused their offer.

At one point during the two day interview I was told how many applications they had received. It was a huge number. And the quality of the applications and musical standing of some of the potential candidates was, apparently, quite bizarre with all kinds of people making an application who were, simply, not up to the job - in either qualifications or experience!

Maybe the 1000 word letter is to weed out the chaff before it gets too far down the line!

As an aside, at that interview I was the only one of the three who didn't consider myself to be an organist (in those days I could play to ARCO standard!) - even though I did play the Cathedral organ as part of the interview! It was commented on by one of the interviewing panel and, had I accepted the Monday morning offer, I think I would have been the first Director of Music in a cathedral who was not, principally, an organist.

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31 minutes ago, iy45 said:

One eminent current Cathedral DOM claimed around the time of his appointment never to have played a note on the organ.

Ian

This is all part of the debate as to whether a DoM is actually better placed if s/he is a top class choir trainer rather than an ‘Organist and Choirmaster’. If there is a significant back-up of assistant organists to always provide cover,  then the ‘top choir trainer’ appointment can make sense.

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5 hours ago, S_L said:

At one point during the two day interview I was told how many applications they had received. It was a huge number. And the quality of the applications and musical standing of some of the potential candidates was, apparently, quite bizarre with all kinds of people making an application who were, simply, not up to the job - in either qualifications or experience!

I would be surprised if this were unusual. There are plenty of people out there who over-estimate their capabilities as much as they under-estimate the professional standards and organisational abilities required for the job. Many years ago a top (Anglican) assistant assured me, in all seriousness, that there were people who would actually offer to pay to have his job.  I still can't quite believe that, but he may perhaps have been thinking of the US, where he had worked for a while.

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I can't help wondering if a modified St Paul's model could work elsewhere. Aim for a DoM who is a singer/choralist rather than an organist, and then have two organists beneath, though I accept that St Paul's has three organists in addition to Andrew Carwood. I suppose having a DoM who is a very competent organist as well as a choralist makes for greater flexibility in terms of covering the work though. 

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28 minutes ago, Martin Cooke said:

I can't help wondering if a modified St Paul's model could work elsewhere. Aim for a DoM who is a singer/choralist rather than an organist, and then have two organists beneath, though I accept that St Paul's has three organists in addition to Andrew Carwood. I suppose having a DoM who is a very competent organist as well as a choralist makes for greater flexibility in terms of covering the work though. 

The ‘forward facing’ rôle of the DoM is mostly choir training.  The ADoM does most of the playing.  There are many highly talented (non-organist) choir trainers who could do a DoM job at least as good as our best DoMs.  Where there is substantial support in the ‘playing department’ it does not make sense to be over-restrictive in requiring FRCO standard DoMs.

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27 minutes ago, Dr Nigel H Day said:

The ‘forward facing’ rôle of the DoM is mostly choir training.  The ADoM does most of the playing.  There are many highly talented (non-organist) choir trainers who could do a DoM job at least as good as our best DoMs.  Where there is substantial support in the ‘playing department’ it does not make sense to be over-restrictive in requiring FRCO standard DoMs.

That's what I am thinking, Nigel. But, I suppose a certain amount of organ playing is essential and it depends on whether they can manage with just two organists. 40/50 years ago, it would have been most unusual to have two music staff at any service. I wonder if two staff are needed on dumb days when you would think it quite possible for one to manage with a pitch pipe. It seems awfully dull but also luxurious for an organist to just have to turn up to play a few chords and no voluntaries.

And speaking of pitch pipes (and tuning forks)... it is awfully irritating to see in some of even our most celebrated 'quires and places where they thing', the person intoning the responses using a tuning fork almost incessantly - not just at the beginning of the set, but before each and every intonation, and sometimes holding the wretched thing by their ear and banging it on their head whilst they actually sing!! 

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