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of the
American Guild of Organists

Substitute Information

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Pittsburgh Chapter, American Guild of Organists, January 2000

1. About the church or temple

    a. Name
    b. Address
    c. Office telephone
    d. Date and time of services for which substitute is requested
    e. Name, position and telephone number of person requesting substitute
    f. Name and telephone number of officiating clergy
    g. Name and telephone number of regular organist
    h. Name and telephone number of soloist (if any)
    i. Time at which the organist can practice on the day of service
    j. Time at which the organist can practice on other days
    k. Which entrance will be open
    l. Directions to the organ from open entrance

2. Substitute’s Duties

    a. Negotiate fee at the time of engagement (see 7a and 7c)
    b. Provide information/titles (prelude, offertory, postlude)for the bulletin is requested and by
        the date requested
    c. Play the organ for R.C., Morning Prayer, spoken or sung Eucharist, non-liturgical service,
    d. Rehearse adult, children’s, bell choir; soloist; warm-up or full rehearsal
    e. Direct adult, children’s bell choir
    f. Accompany adult, children’s, bell choir, soloist
    g. Conduct Morning Prayer
    h. Serve as cantor or song leader
    i. Other: operate any audio-visual equipment, etc.

3. Church/temple responsibilities: at least two weeks in advance provide substitute with

    a. Information on: copies of solo/anthem/service music:composer, title working copies
    b. Hymn titles with copies from hymnal being used
    c. Sample current bulletin for a comparable service indicating order of worship

4. About the organ of other instruments

   a. Pipe or electronic; number of manuals, stops, pistons,digital functions, swell pedals
    b. Full pedal board (at least 25 notes)
    c. Anything non-functioning, blank, or mislabeled
    d. Who (and tel. #) in the church should be called in case of organ problems?
    e. Location of key to organ loft and/or console
    f. Location of blower or power switch; other switches; cancel button
    g. Location of organ loft light switches
    h. Pistons: which are set for service-playing; which are available for use by substitute; which
        may be changed but must be reset to original setting
    i. How pistons are changed; setter button
    j. Peculiarities of this organ; its little tricks and secrets
    k. "Owners manual" (especially for electronic organs)
    l. List of organ specifications
    m. Piano, if to be used; key, if locked

5. About the choir

   a. Approximate number of singers; typical vocal distribution
    b. Anthem; copy provided; location of copies for the choir
    c. Rehearsal before service: where, when, how long, what is covered (vocal warm-up, anthem,
        hymns, service music, responses,etc.)
    d. Hymns: choir sing unison/ harmonization on what verses/ as directed
    e. Processional, recessional: when, cues, time/ verses required
    f. Robes: organist/choir; where located, stole color
    g. Is there any extraordinary circumstance (musical or non-musical) to which the substitute
        organist should be particularly sensitive relating to the choir or other aspect of the music

6. About the Service and Service Music

   a. Liturgy: sung? Which setting, where found
    b. Communion this service? Pattern of distribution, what happens musically during distribution
    c. Restrictions on organ repertoire
    d. Any "mood" expected during prelude, offertory,postlude
    e. Prelude: when to begin, end; cues for beginning and ending
    f. Hymns: announced: never, sometimes, always; speed;interludes between verses; customary
        amount of introductions; amens;re-(or free) harmonizations and on what verses
    g. Traveling music: during children’s exit, silent prayer,baptisms, communion, extinguishing
        of candles, between Scripture readings, etc.
    h. Postlude: how long, cue to begin, does congregation leave or stay to listen
    i. Lights on organ used as cues for music

7. Financial Arrangements

    a. National guidelines are found in "Salary Guide",
        Note that in Pittsburgh compensation typically ranges from the mid to high range of the national standards.  
    b. Name and Tel. Number of person with whom substitute negotiates a fee
    c. Suggested written agreement: "After discussing the church’s expectations, we have mutually
        agreed upon the following remuneration: ______"
    d. Name and tel. Number of person responsible for paying the substitute

8. Further assistance and information

Nicholas Will
801 Clearview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15205-3203


Please click here for substitute service form.

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