I enjoyed the article “The Care and Keeping of Church Musicians” by Gregory Crowell (RW 49). Most of what he said was right on the mark, and his comments regarding the creation of a nurturing environment and compensation issues were greatly appreciated.

However I must take issue with his opinion concerning what he called focus. After serving as Director of Music in two different churches for over thirty years, I strongly disagree that one person can do the job best. On the contrary, one or two people who specialize in children’s choirs, another with handbell skills, a good organist, an adult choir director, and perhaps a person with instrumental experience, can all work very well together to successfully bring music to the church while concentrating on what each does best. Some of these positions might overlap, might take less time than others, and might be volunteer. This will vary from church to church. It is up to the Director of Music and the Minister(s) to see that the focus of the program is not lost. Playing the organ for a worship service takes full concentration. Choosing, rehearsing, and properly conducting the music for one or more choirs can also be a full-time job. Obviously unique skills are needed in working with children’s voices, handbells, choir, chimes, and other aspects of the music program.

There are seven people on the music staff of our approximately four-hundred-member church. Some are paid, others are volunteers. We meet each summer for an overnight retreat and, together with our two ministers, plan the year’s music. We meet again throughout the year as necessary.

I urge churches to look at every possible variation in the ways of meeting their music needs, and not to assume that the one-person-does-everything musician is the only answer.

Kenneth Nelson, Director of Music
First Reformed Church of Scotia
Scotia, New York

Reformed Worship 51 © March 1999 Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church. Used by permission.