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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceThe Business of Music(Moderator: BGuttman) Typical pay for church Easter service
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timothy42b
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« on: Apr 20, 2017, 08:00AM »

I know this varies a lot by area, but is there a standard range?

This Easter our music director "had the trumpet covered," until at the last minute he didn't and begged my help. 

I called the trumpet instructor at the university and he said all his players had been committed months ago.  Well, doh.  I figured that but it was worth a shot. 

But he added none of them would take the job for what we typically paid.  His students were getting four times that.  Okay, I was low, haven't raised rates in a while, and Easter is a special occasion. 

So, what do you think?  Typical Easter, one rehearsal, one service, but it's long, you're there from 0930 to 1230 or so. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 20, 2017, 08:49AM »

We're not a top quintet but we get $100 per man for the service.  I suspect that some more well-heeled churches can pay more, and I would think that $250 per man would not be a surprise.  It would be fair compensation for having to play "Jesus Christ is Ris'n Today" for the few dozen times we'd need to ;-)  Incidentally, our local church can't even pay us that much.  And the local Catholic Church, which used to have a quartet for Easter Vigil and Christmas, went to 2 trumpets and then to nobody because they ran out of money.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 20, 2017, 09:10AM »

In my experience, around $250 is the average.

But for the past 6 years I have played Christmas and Easter services (3 services each) at a Presbyterian church. And they are extremely appreciate of and generous with the musicians. Every year the check gets bigger. It is usually above $700. I pinch myself every year.

But they hire symphony players (Dallas and Ft Worth). Even though I was once in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra as a senior in high school, I feel like I am fooling them every year.
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MikeBMiller
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 20, 2017, 11:48AM »

I was lucky this year and got 2 gigs that payed $250 and $300 respectively. Each was for a rehearsal and one service, but the $250 on was an Episcopal service that lasted just slightly shorter than Gone With the Wind. In the past, my quintet has gotten $200 a person for 2 services at a different Episcopal church. But that has been the same for 10 years, so it's about time for a raise. 

I have found that you don't get a raise unless you ask for one. We do a local graduation ceremony that payed $1,000 (for 8 people) for 10 years. Last year I asked an received a 15% boost on that.
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:17PM »

I played this Easter in St Pete FL and received $200 for two services.

There's a church in Hilton Head that pays $850 per man and puts us up in a hotel. Played Christmas the last two years, but wasn't able to play Easter.  Three Christmas Eve services and two Christmas morning services.

$200 a man is a lot in St Pete

Jerry Walker
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MikeBMiller
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 20, 2017, 06:35PM »

I played this Easter in St Pete FL and received $200 for two services.

There's a church in Hilton Head that pays $850 per man and puts us up in a hotel. Played Christmas the last two years, but wasn't able to play Easter.  Three Christmas Eve services and two Christmas morning services.

$200 a man is a lot in St Pete

Jerry Walker

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Matt K

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« Reply #6 on: Apr 21, 2017, 09:44AM »

Heck, I'd drive down from WV for that price. Bet Christmas would be a little warmer in SC  :D
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 21, 2017, 11:37AM »

Heck, I'd drive down from WV for that price. Bet Christmas would be a little warmer in SC  :D

Yep, it is. I taught in Hundred for two years (1979-81),, and played a lot in Morgantown. It does get chilly there. I'm near Tampa Florida now, and I love wearing shorts and a T-Shirt all winter!

Jerry Walker
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« Reply #8 on: Apr 21, 2017, 11:44AM »

Yep, it is. I taught in Hundred for two years (1979-81),, and played a lot in Morgantown. It does get chilly there. I'm near Tampa Florida now, and I love wearing shorts and a T-Shirt all winter!

Jerry Walker


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I've been in Morgantown for over a decade now.  On the bright side, its only been below zero for a few dozen days in that span of time  :-0
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 21, 2017, 01:55PM »

I played Maundy Thursday. Direct deposit should be made on the 30th but should be $200 for one rehearsal (on Wednesday) and one one-hour service.
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« Reply #10 on: Apr 21, 2017, 02:28PM »

It doesn't matter to me what, if anything, they pay me. However, I have learned to take whatever they are willing to pay me so as not to depress the market for those to whom it does matter.

...Geezer
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« Reply #11 on: Apr 22, 2017, 09:32AM »

It doesn't matter to me what, if anything, they pay me. However, I have learned to take whatever they are willing to pay me so as not to depress the market for those to whom it does matter.

...Geezer

You can always sign the check right back to the church if that is your inclination. My father did that for years because he was a member of the church that hired him but also played professionally around town.  But yes, playing for free tends to support the already prevalent thought that people shouldn't have to pay for music -- that's not good for any of us.

When I'm not stuck working out of town, my Easter gig recently has been $550 for two very short (hour or less) rehearsals and one service of no more than 2hrs. That's NYC though, and mostly on baroque instruments (but the hymns are also the one time per year that I get to play modern in public  :D).

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« Reply #12 on: Apr 23, 2017, 06:18AM »

250.00 is the rate we get for Easter and Christmas in east Texas.    If it's a random service during the year we usually get 150.00 or so for a rehearsal and service.   
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« Reply #13 on: Apr 23, 2017, 06:32AM »

You can always sign the check right back to the church if that is your inclination. My father did that for years because he was a member of the church that hired him but also played professionally around town.  But yes, playing for free tends to support the already prevalent thought that people shouldn't have to pay for music -- that's not good for any of us.

When I'm not stuck working out of town, my Easter gig recently has been $550 for two very short (hour or less) rehearsals and one service of no more than 2hrs. That's NYC though, and mostly on baroque instruments (but the hymns are also the one time per year that I get to play modern in public  :D).


I gave that some thought. But it's a small and interconnected world. I'm afraid that tactic would get back to the other brass guys and make me unpopular. So I cash the check and use the money for donations a little at a time into the offering plate when it gets passed under my nose at various churches I haunt. Everyone wins in that scenario. I don't do paid gigs very much, so it works. If there should be a surplus accumulation, I can always find other outlets - such as paying too much for chicken dinners at the fire hall, girl scout cookies that I don't eat but feel compelled to buy, etc.

...Geezer
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