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Choral Scholar/Section Leader at Congregational Ch. Grand Rapids MI

June 20 2014
Dear Patrick Coyle:
I think you've made a very good start on the agreement.  Some details to think about:
1.  You might include actual dates of service expected by the scholar; beginning and ending dates;  also pre-determined special service dates; holy days; etc.
2.  IF you are AGO or AGO-subscribing, you need to see what documents or online help they have on your project;  You may get some help without
being an AGO member; but you should be a member or with your denominational organization; if nothing else to get guidelines on your project.
3.  I'm wondering about the term "Choral Scholar";  I think Section Leader, Choral Assistant, Vocal Assitant,  "Part sung" (e.g. Bass - ) - "Leader" or "Principal" even "Coach".
   I think these tell the tale better.  "Scholar" is most often used for organists in my experience.
    At one time in the mid-1970's I did just what you are talking about minus any formal document.  I may have been termed a "Section Leader" - not sure.  At. I. U. while doing a doctoral degree I had 3 years at Univ. Presby. Chapel as Choral Assistant under a Director of Music and a separate organist.  Director was Don V Moses.  Again I had no prescribed document as I recall.  Both did carry a stipend however.
4.  On fee schedule if you have ONLY one choral assistant you are pretty safe; if you have 2 or more, you may have problems paying them different rates unless that is clearly needed because of person's
skill, background, your need of that voice.  I'd take pains to either be open about the pay as most singers will find out who gets what, or make it a point to NOT share such information and explain
to the assistants about the don't ask, don't tell pay schedule rule.   Could be a sensitive area.
5.  Your scholars are probably young or youngish -- up to 24-25.  They may give more and be more successful if they have some sort of "grading" or "rating" 1 or 2 times a season.  I suppose one could base
raises onthe grade or rating the person receives.
6.  Check the Internet, AGO, Or the UMC Musicians League for helping pamphlets, documents on Choral Scholars.  If not in those organizations, the Intewrnet must have some articles about this.  The ACDA through this great web site offers OTHER forums or personal messages, to get feedback from the members and readers.   If needed, go to the Anglican websites/blogs, etc. and pose our question.  In my experience the Episcopal/Anglophiles are heavily into Organ and Choral Scholars.
7.  Finallllly you are near the Reformed College/Seminary there as well as Calvin College, maybe Grand Valley (? unsure of its location), Central Mich. U., W. Mich., Kalamazoo College; perhaps you could advertise and audition students from some of these and link your work into their training as sort of a field work assignment and perhaps arrange for either a grade, or academic credit for their service to you.  Nice idea!
Stephen Klyce, D.Mus., AAGO Ch.M.
Dagsboro DE
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