Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What I Did With My Summer

As you can see, my office has not yet recovered from slow-moving Tropical Storm Joyce. By the end of August I had been swamped with sample music, demo CDs, reams of paper related somehow to worship planning, and a lot of cracker crumbs and coffee spills. If I thought FEMA would get here anytime soon, I would send out a plea for help, but I think I'm on my own for clean-up.

Since the choir doesn't meet in the summer, some folks wonder what I do with my time. Here's a little run down:

First off, I worked with 2 different organists, 3 pianists, 2 trumpeters, and 3 violinists in rotation for our musical team for the hymns. I also scheduled various soloists and ensembles for 14 weeks worth of music, using a total of 33 volunteers, ranging in age from 12 to 92. I made sure sound checks and rehearsals occurred for these people, found accompanists for some, music for others, and made something like 2 million phone calls. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it seemed liked 2 million! I also:

1.Created a list of accompanists which can be handed out to all the volunteers when they agree to sing. It includes instructions about sound checks, etc.
2. Listened to many promotional CDs of choral anthems and chose a few to order for the expansion of our music library.
3. Used the full year’s worth of sermon topics Pastor Randy gave me to work with, and selected all the music for the coming year. This involves looking up all the Scripture texts that he has chosen to base the sermons on, thinking about how best to support the theme he is using, and searching through the music library for appropriate pieces.
3. Attended weekly staff meetings, monthly music board meetings, monthly worship planning meetings.
4. Prepared at length for, and met with an individual who was upset about some music related issues
5. Kept board members apprised of various things via e-mail.
6. Spent much time on the phone, with the goal of recruiting some new instrumentalists for the worship team
7. Worked on all the details of the Huntley Brown event.
8. Rehearsed the instrumentalists on the hymns every Wednesday morning .
9. Did conducting preparation for the fall anthems.
10. Made sure that the worship order was forwarded to Jenny Noble each week so that the songs could be typed into the software correctly.
11. Proofed the bulletin weekly, and pushed to have it remain unchanged after Wednesday.
13. Wrote and sent out the recruiting letter and article for the newsletter and bulletin insert.
14. Developed the calendar for the upcoming year.

I also used the two vacation Sundays I had left from last fiscal year, and took two from this fiscal year.

Some years ago we didn't have a music director in the summer. The growth of the church has just made that old way of operating impossible. I find that August, in particular, is very heavy with preparation for the coming choir season. I think the church has been wise in recognizing the need to staff the position in the summer, not just because I have a job then, but because we get such a strong start to the fall this way.


JAM said...

Wow Joyce, that's pretty impressive. How big is your church? I'm guessing ours is tiny compared to yours - we have about 60 families, but maybe only 50 people come each Sunday. I think our pastor picks the hymns each week, so our choral director mostly practices with the choir (but not in summer) or occasionally gets soloists (usually his friends from music school). Of course there may be more that he does, but it's only a very part time position (maybe 10 hours per week). That would be amazing to have such a developed music program!

Joyce said...

jam-We have about 525 on Sunday morning, in three different services, two of which are contemporary. I work with the traditional one, which runs about 225 people. The choir is now up to 34 people, though on any given Sunday we put about 28 in the choir loft, because of absenses. It's kind of amazing, all the administrative things that are part of the job!

Lady Sterling said...

You have developed this ministry to be so much more robust. Awesome! It is a lot of work but I always loved this stuff! (Except for some of the appeasing of personalitites) Just think if you had to manage the contemporary services too?! It would be interesting to post this type of information in the next newsletter so the average person understands what goes into the planning of worship both summer and regular season. Not to toot your horn, but just so people understand that it doesn't just fall together, or totally rest on the pastor, or you, etc.

Joyce said...

K-It has really grown, hasn't it? Sometimes I forget that, until I look back a few years.

Nan said...

Whew! I'm all tuckered out just reading that list! I laughed right out loud at the start of your post. :<)

Rose said...

I've said it before, Joyce, but sometimes people have no understanding of what other people do. I wonder how many people sit during a church service and think about how much preparation went into that service. (Of course, I know that's NOT what we're supposed to be thinking about during church.) Many years ago, before my children were born, I played the organ occasionally for our church (much too rusty now!), and I know how many hours I spent practicing just for that small part. Your long list shows how much work goes into each service.

FEMA hasn't come to my aid, either; my computer desk is covered with cracker crumbs and coffee spills, too, though I did clean up the tea that spilled on the keyboard:)

Joyce said...

Rose, ideally, if I did a decent job with everything, people won't be thinking about how much preparation there was, although once in a while things fly loose, and then they must all wonder what in the world I do! It's interesting how much you and I are turning out to have in common. How cool the you used to play the organ! Not a skill I ever mastered.

CindyW said...

Are you kidding? Your office looks 5 times better than my office even after it has just been cleaned!

It seems that I spend half of life looking for things :)

Love the musical notes on your wall.

Joyce said...

Cindy-Ha! Somehow the camera didn't catch the chaos. Believe me, I'm having truble finding anything right now. I can't take credit (or blame) for the notes. A previous director put them up.