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Denis O'Connor
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What would readers consider a good average number of weddings/funerals to play for each year at their own churches? I play about 12 weddings and perhaps 10 funerals per year at my small church in Gloucester.As a young man (1960/70) when marriage was more popular than co-habitation,I looked with envy at colleagues who seemed to have about 2 or 3 weddings each week in their church. One chap was so bored with the thought of having to play 4 or 5,he would pass them on to me. A welcome bonus for a young married school teacher!

NB If the topic seems a little sordid for some of our readers, I am allergic to cats and would rather read about something a little more germane to this forum!

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What would readers consider a good average number of weddings/funerals to play for each year at their own churches? I play about 12 weddings and perhaps 10 funerals per year at my  small church  in Gloucester.As a young man (1960/70) when marriage was more popular than co-habitation,I looked with envy at colleagues who seemed to have about 2 or 3 weddings each week in their church. One chap was so bored with the thought of having to play 4 or 5,he would pass them on to me. A welcome bonus for a  young married school teacher!

 

I remember fondly my days singing for weddings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 3 or 4 on a Saturday seemed not infrequent and there was certainly at least one 5-wedding day. Very useful money for the eight trebles. This was in a church on a 1950s council estate where the demographics were in our favour; most of the tenants had moved in as new parents so 20 years later most of the children were desperate to get married! I suspect there are fewer than 10 weddings a year in that church now.

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The decline in the number of brides electing to be married in church is likely to continue, partly due to the parallel decline in the numbers actually attending religious services regularly and partly due to the fact that there are many types of building which are now licenced to hold marriage services.

 

The factors of impresiveness and convenience probably account for this in equal measures. Given the choice between getting married in a grand country house with landscaped grounds and a reception on-site (and arranged by the same people who arranged the ceremony) and getting married in an old church with a further journey to the reception, many brides are opting for the former.

 

Therefore, it is unlikely that organists will be able to continue to finance the annual two-week stay in Antigua from the proceeds of the year's wedding fees....

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The decline in the number of brides electing to be married in church is likely to continue, partly due to the parallel decline in the numbers actually attending religious services regularly and partly due to the fact that there are many types of building which are now licenced to hold marriage services.

 

The factors of impresiveness and convenience probably account for this in equal measures. Given the choice between getting married in a grand country house with landscaped grounds and a reception on-site (and arranged by the same people who arranged the ceremony) and getting married in an old church with a further journey to the reception, many brides are opting for the former.

 

Therefore, it is unlikely that organists will be able to continue to finance the annual two-week stay in Antigua from the proceeds of the year's wedding fees....

 

Hi

 

Whilst a pretty building is a plus, it also depends on area - I played 3 weddings last year (not at my own church) - and none this. In N.W. Essex where we were previously I played for many weddings at the pretty churches (especially those that didn't have organists) - a very welcome additional income! (A good few funerals as well).

 

My own church here in Bradford hasn't seen a wedding for about 5-6 years, and in our previous one I only officiated at one in the 4 years we were there - and that was a major village family that had connections with the Baptist church.

 

As for funerals, I've taken quite a few - had 4 in 2 weeks last year, which is quite a strain when it's church families - but (so far) only 1 this year.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Whilst a pretty building is a plus, it also depends on area - I played 3 weddings last year (not at my own church) - and none this.  In N.W. Essex where we were previously I played for many weddings at the pretty churches (especially those that didn't have organists) - a very welcome additional income!  (A good few funerals as well).

 

There's a church near here where they they are practically beseiged by people wanting to hold weddings there. Virtually none come from the parish or area needless to say. The building is small, Victorian (quite nice actually) and situated on an idyllic island in a lake that forms part of a large estate including the 'big house' (also impressively Victorian) which is actively being marketed as a reception venue. There has been some friction about all this and even a BBC documentary! The organist there (and pumping assistant - there is no electricity - see below!) could just about work full time though the repertoire must be somewhat limited by the instrument. The income is a welcome one for the parish I would think.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=K00053

 

AJJ

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There's a church near here where the they are beseiged by people wanting to hold weddings there. Virtually none come from the parish or area needless to say. The building is small, Victorian (quite nice actually) and situated on an island in a lake that forms part of a large estate including the 'big house' (also impressive) which is actively being marketed as a reception venue. There has been quite a lot of friction about all this and even a BBC documentary! The organist there (and pumping assistant - see below!) could just about work full time.

 

AJJ

 

Ah - you refer to the Orchardleigh estate! It was on the Geo. Osmond's tuning round - a cone-tuned four stop William Hill with pull-down pedals as I remember it. A nice little instrument, well suited to the building but at that time (1982) somewhat in need of cleaning.

 

I remember that the churchwardens arrived 'en masse' and one of them took up his usual 'pumping' position. Problem was he was rather over-enthusiastic and until we got him to calm down, tuning was a bit hit-and-miss...

 

After I'd left organ-building and joined the world of broadcasting I did return to Orchardleigh when it was the location for one of the BBC's Miss Marple films - '4.50 from Paddington' I think. My abiding memory is of the by then quite elderly Joan Hickson eating her lunch sat in a haystack!

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Oops - egg on face time... I didn't click the link at the bottom of your message which would have made most of mine superfluous. At least my memory of the instrument was pretty acurate!

 

And I think perhaps Philip Baker - ex Osmond still looks after it - he has quite a tuning round in this area.

 

AJJ

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Guest Barry Oakley
I remember fondly my days singing for weddings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 3 or 4 on a Saturday seemed not infrequent and there was certainly at least one 5-wedding day. Very useful money for the eight trebles. This was in a church on a 1950s council estate where the demographics were in our favour; most of the tenants had moved in as new parents so 20 years later most of the children were desperate to get married! I suspect there are fewer than 10 weddings a year in that church now.

 

This topic immediately sets the bells of nostalgia ringing. It brought back memories of my days as a chorister at Holy Trinity, Hull, when weddings in the city's mother church around 1949/50'ish were held very regularly, particularly at a time when there were tax concessions to be had.

 

It was not uncommon for there to be four weddings on a Saturday, the first commencing about 10.30am. But I can remember on one occasion there were eight weddings (How on earth did they fit them in?) and as a senior chorister I was fortunate to be selected to sing at all of them - 8 x 2/6d = £1. What an absolute fortune in those days! I have no idea what the organist picked up.

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