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Choir-singers and Salaries.

The tendency for the past few years in the majority of churches has been to economize on salaries paid church-singers. A short time ago a position in a New York choir was considered a sinecure, and the high salaries paid were heralded from Maine to California and from Canada to the gulf, with the result that capable singers, famous in their respective towns and cities, looked forward to New York as the Mecca where their special talents would be fittingly recognized.

The choir-singer is no longer paid at the rate that once prevailed. Notwithstanding this, employment in the choir is still sought for. The work is not exacting, and the regularity of the compensation is desirable in the uncertainties of any but the most successful professional careers. The emoluments secured by professional church-choir singers to-day are not at all in proportion to the cost of acquiring a musical education, nor can the value of choir-singing as a profession be judged from the occasional large salaries enjoyed by the few very prominent singers engaged in wealthy churches.

The mention of an annual salary of $1200 or $1500 per annum, if it means anything in forming an opinion of the value of church-choir work, simply indicates a peculiarly fortunate combination of circumstances serving some person of ability and influence; $200 or $500 a year can be fixed as the limit to the earnings of many very capable soloists. It would not be accurate to say that this salary is paid for a full year’s service, as eight months of the year is the utmost term required. Meanwhile the present tendency to cut down the appropriations for music in churches and to substitute volunteers for professionals is regrettable.

Why should not the growth of musical taste in this country be better illustrated by a higher standard in our church-choirs? In too many churches the minister’s salary has been increased at the expense of the choir, in accordance with a lack of appreciation of what music can do for a church. Good music wields a greater influence in bringing the mind in harmony with God than the flamboyant, though eloquent, generalizations of many ministers.—Music-Trade Review.

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