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November 19, 2006
Vol. VI, No. 11

"Thanksgiving? No Thanks!"
For perspective on this Rampage, please see my Rampage of October 18, 2006:
"What's a Poor Organist to Do?"

Last week I received an offer by email to play for a service on Thanksgiving morning. I emailed back that I was available and stated what my fee would be for the service. I'll admit that I set the fee high but I thought it should take into consideration that playing the service would interfere with my holiday plans. Plus, I assumed the church would try to negotiate the fee down. Not only didn't they try to negotiate; they came back with an offer that was about 1/3 of what I had asked. They said they hoped I could work with that because the church had a tight music budget. I'm sorry, I work too hard to give up my holiday for an honorarium. I emailed back that unfortunately I would have to pass on the offer and wished them well in their search.

Now I happen to know that the fee they offered was the exact amount they pay for a Sunday service. If I was the regular organist and they didn't offer to pay me a little extra for giving up my holiday, I think I'd make plans to be away, too.

But the part of their email that really got me was when they said the church had a tight "music" budget. They didn't say the "church" was on a tight budget; they made it sound like they just didn't want to pay a lot for their music. When will this penny-wise and pound-foolishness end? Of course, they'll just keep looking until they find someone who is desperate for money or someone who isn't concerned with money.

Speaking of which, some community members have emailed me to say that they don't mind if they aren't paid well because they love what they do and/or they are satisfied with the appreciation they receive from their congregation. All I can say is, Tell me your secret! I can just see me telling the landlord that next month I'm going to pay my rent with love and appreciation. Got any room on your couch for me?

Just because I love doing something is no reason I should do it for free. Appreciation? Nothing says "We appreciate you" like a big stack of dollar bills.

What will I be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day? I'll be thankful that I'm not being taken advantage of. Being able to play the organ: years of energy, expense, and sacrifice. Being able to say No: priceless!

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:

Updated Pages
Feedback page:
I had to take steps to prevent the malicious actions of spammers on the Feedback page, as well as the Community Links page. They were really giving me a hard time and the clean-up of the pages was very time-consuming. By the way, in my efforts to protect the Feedback page submission form, I broke it. Thanks to community member for bringing it to my attention. All is well now.

Organ Links:
Added is the Ruggles organ at St. Andrew's United Presbyterian Church, Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Also added is the van den Heuvel organ at Church of the Holy Apostles, New York, New York.

Featured Links:
Added is Introduction to the Pipe Voices of the Organ, a simple yet informative presentation by community member Ryan Hostler explaining how the unique sound of the pipe organ is created. This is a re-post as the files needed to be moved from the original location (see below).

RAMPAGE FLASHBACK (It was five years ago today, about)
"Choosing An Organ" November 2, 2001
"I am grateful to Jim Gladstone for bringing to my attention a web presentation by his former student Ryan Hostler. Ryan's presentation introduces non-organists to the basics of sound generation on the pipe organ. Originally I only intended to add a link to his presentation from the Featured Links page but it occurred to me that a collection of informative links like Ryan's could be a valuable resource. Thus was born the "Choosing an Organ" resource page." Click the following link for more:


Have a great week!

Dan Long

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