14 November 2010

Tough Times For Traditional Church Music

Tough Times For Traditional Church Music, by Teresa Lostroh (ABCNews, 13 November 2010)

No one has touched the organ at First United Methodist Church in Oakland, Neb., since last January. Small congregations find it difficult to pay well-trained organists. That's when 80-year-old Pat Anderson played her last note as the small-town church's volunteer organist, a post she held for 18 years. "It was time for me to retire," she said. When she did, there was nobody to step in. Two young women have taken over the musical duties for the 190-member congregation, but they play a digital piano – not the organ. "There are some people who wish we had the organ still, but they face the reality that it just isn't going to happen," said the Rev. Richard Karohl.

First United's struggle is indicative of a nationwide plight: There aren't enough organists to fill all of the open church positions. Many of the stay-at-home moms who once volunteered as organists are working now, and fewer young people are studying the organ. Those who are training to be professionals aren't interested in playing for small churches where the music program is limited to Sunday services and the pay is minimal – if there's pay at all.
Link: Tough Times For Traditional Church Music