A few days ago, I was pleased to see an increase in my NWUUC paycheck, reflecting my increased hours. It's not a huge amount of money, but when you're a freelance musician, every little bit helps. To me, this pay increase represents a new charge to the music ministry at NWUUC.
NWUUC has had a very basic music program for the past couple years. It's been a quarter time position (10 hours a week), which leaves just about enough time to run a choir, plan music for services, and practice music for the services in which I'm the lead musician. In the newest budget, the congregation voted to add 5 weekly hours to the job, with the understanding that much of that will be devoted to developing a children's music program.
Seeing that extra money in my account was a reminder that things are about to get real, and I'm highly motivated to raise NWUUC's music program to a new level. I'll spend most of the extra hours on children's music, but I also plan on forming a church band to rehearse once a month. I've occasionally asked musicians in the congregation to play with me when it's my Sunday to be the lead musician. With limited hours, we only had time to meet the morning of the service, and I would go into each service crossing my fingers that it would all turn out okay! My new hours will only allow for one rehearsal a month, but right now, that one rehearsal will seem like a luxury! We will rehearse music for upcoming services, but I also plan on rehearsing songs in general, gradually developing a band book. Just like the children's choir, it's not going to be something we can build overnight, but an accumulation of regular rehearsals will go a long way toward developing a deeper sense of ensemble and a solid repertoire.
After the recent UUMN conference, I purposefully did not think about my church's music program. I just wanted to let all the new information settle in my brain. Tomorrow, though, it all begins! I'll take out my notes and conference materials, meet with NWUUC staff, schedule children's choir and band rehearsals, schedule some piano tunings, order music, and get this new church year going!
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.