blog.sinden.org

Ordinary Time 2017

25 February 2008
McKinney, Texas - First United Methodist Church of, music director search

Performance Appraisals are an
integral part of church music

I've seen some weird church musician position descriptions in my day but the one that I saw today from First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas is particularly a doozy.

Now, let me just add here that I understand that churches all have their own way of operating, but some of them jump off of the deep end in terms of institutional language, and this seems to me to be an instance of that.

It's one thing to list "essential duties and responsibilities", but it's quite another to list the "Performance Appraisal measurements" by which said duties will be evaluated.

Take a deep breath:

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned. Performance Appraisal (PA) measurements are noted in brackets [ ]. 1. Plans and selects vocal, instrumental, and recorded music suitable to type of program and to musicians who are to render selections. [PA: Appropriate and complete presentations consistently produced.] 2. Supervises Organist and Associate Director of Music and recruits volunteer staff. Issues assignments and provides leadership in such areas as rehearsing, scoring, arranging and copying music, lyric writing, and vocal coaching. [PA: Tasks completed by incumbent, staff or volunteers in a timely and complete manner.] 3. Auditions and selects vocal and instrumental talent for musical presentations. May also perform as soloist or with group in musical presentations. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 4. Auditions and hires musicians or orchestra personnel for special events. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 5. Positions members within choirs or musical groups to obtain balance among sections. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 6. Directs vocal choirs and bell choirs and musicians at rehearsals and performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance, dynamics, rhythms, tempos, and shadings. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 7. Directs and/or supervises children’s and youth choirs including handbell choirs. Works with youth minister to coordinate youth music program. [PA: Activities conducted in an appropriate and professional manner consistent with church needs.] 8. Transcribes musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to or create particular style for choirs. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 9. Schedules performances and arranges for proper publicity. [PA: Performances complete and appropriate with publicity arranged as needed.] 10. Oversees care and appearance of the choir room, choir robes, musical instruments and other accessories. [PA: Choir supplies and other musical supplies maintained in a clean and orderly manner.] 11. Maintains music library in an organized manner, assuring adequate and appropriate musical selections are provided for all musicians and choir members. [PA: Library maintained at all times with sufficient musical supplies.] 12. Serves ex officio on Music Committee and Worship Committee. [PA: Attends and participates at meetings, completing assignments in a timely manner.] 13. Attends church-sponsored training programs. [PA: Satisfactory participation, retention and application of training program subjects.] 14. Develops work area budget and administers all area budget expenditures. [PA: Expenditures are within budget amounts and are appropriate for the work area.] 15. Consults with the Choir Council to foster communication between the choir and the director. [PA: Attendance and participation in meetings.] 16. Oversees the church arts program [PA: Additional specific Arts responsibilities will be defined along with PA measurements. Part of the job responsibilities will be to develop these specifics.] 17. Attends weekly staff meetings. [PA: Attendance and participation in meetings.] 18. Other duties as assigned as needed. [PA: Efficient completion of assigned duty, responsibility or task.] SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES Directly supervises the Director of Children’s Choir and Organist. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems. QUALIFICATIONS To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE Master's degree (M. A.) or equivalent; or four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

http://www.agohq.org/jobs/job_details.cgi?uid=5466&JobRegion=7, emphasis added

Aside from being one of the longer position descriptions I have ever read, this position description comes off as arrogant, disorganized and redundant. Of course the person hired will be expected to fulfill his essential duties and responsibilities. You have, in fact, already identified this with the word essential.

Putting in the performance assessments (or Per Asses, as I will refer to them here) raises the hood on what I can only assume is a bloated, numbers-based Sport Utility Church (SUC) atmosphere.

This wouldn't be all that surprising. MacTown, as McKinney is known, has doubled in population in the last six years, and the parish probably can't help but salivate at the rich fields of wheat springing up all around it.

Intrigued, I dug deeper via the web. The church's website boasts that "there are three Sunday morning [traditional] worship times to fit your life." And the adult choir is labeled as "outstanding" yet they are not given a page of their own on the site. In fact, given the description above, I found the dearth of music department information to be completely incongruent with their expectations.

The visitor's page is full of success expletives superlatives:

We have something for everyone and that’s what makes us unique!

visitors page

Yes, just like a shopping mall.

When you arrive, there are many opportunities to make you feel at home. If you have small children, we have a wonderful nursery where you can drop off your child with skilled workers who are doing what they love. You can also receive a pager when you drop off your little one to help you feel connected to your child while you worship.

Ah yes, the technicization of intimacy -- a cardinal Christian virtue.

We have exceptional programs for both our children and youth. Most recently, the youth program was nominated as the Best Youth Program in McKinney! We also offer a variety of adult Sunday school classes for all ages and walks of life! Outside of Sunday morning worship, we have a variety of exciting ministries, classes, opportunities for bible study, and fun-filled church events. The fellowship at First United is amazing, and there really is something for everyone! We truly want to welcome you to our church family, and would love to have you visit one of our worship services.

emphasis added

Did you catch all that? Exceptional! Variety! Amazing! Something for everyone! Love to have you visit!

I think we're only scratching the surface of what's going on with this church, but whatever it is, it has made its way to this hiring process. The part of the position description that said that one's ability "to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance, dynamics, rhythms, tempos, and shadings" would be appraised is extremely off-putting. One has to ask, who will do the appraising? The arm-chair music director?

Perhaps the music director's supervisor will ask that he wear a pager so that he can be notified mid-liturgy if the desired effects are not being achieved.

All of this makes me wonder, where is the gospel in all this? I am not sure that First United Methodist, McKinney and I understand church music to be the same thing. Whereas I understand it to be a imperfect yet thrilling and fluid exercise in creativity and grace, I think they see it as a more of a legalistic enterprise.

If the music director does wear a "pager", so to speak, he might then ask the choir members also to wear the device. (This is a nice thought, isn't it? During communion: "Altos: your entrance in m. 43 poor")

Ah yes. Pagers Per Asses.

Author's note: I am not actively looking for another job. I have always studied the American Guild of Organists position listings as a way of keeping abreast of the state of church music in this country. (Thanks Will!)

Labels:

 
 
Comments:

Post a Comment

The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org

©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet

Organ and church music, esoteric liturgics, and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.

Archetypes

Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?

Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption

Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida

The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

Infrequently Asked Questions

picture of a chicken

Questions? Problems? email the sexton.

Archon

The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.

about

contact

Archbishops

Anglicans Online
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
Brain Pickings
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Sed Angli
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Archenemies

Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Aphaeresis
Anne Timberlake
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musical Perceptions
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
Steven Rickards
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Wayward Sisters
Zachary Wadsworth | composer

Archenemies Aviary

@DanAhlgren
@dcrean
@ericthebell
@jwombat
@larrydeveney
@nmedley
@samanthaklein
@sopranist
@voxinferior

Arches

Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)

Auraling

BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong
New College (Oxford, England)
St John's College (Cambridge, England)
St Thomas (New York NY)

Argyle

Like the site? Buy the shirt.

Areyou . . .

selling diphthongs?
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.

the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.

interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.

Archives
this site used to be better:

March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017