- November 2, 2018 at 10:46 am #581680
My community choir hired an accompanist who has since shown a high level of unprofessionalism and unpreparedness. We received a recommendation for him from a reputable source, listened to multiple recordings of him playing, and he has a music degree in piano from a university. We did not audition him in person, and this is something that we will surely be doing in the future with all prospective instrumentalists.
He received the sheet music for our December 9 concert on September 17. His first rehearsal with us was last night. He showed up completely unprepared, as if he had never even looked at the music before. He was shuffling through pages of his music throughout the entire rehearsal, and they were not compiled in a binder or taped together or anything. His music fell off the piano at multiple points during the rehearsal. He could not play the accompaniments to any of our pieces. He also had lots of problems following the simplest directions, such as, “Please roll up the choir’s pitches at the beginning of this song.” I had to spell out specific pitches and specific octaves for those pitches to him many times. He also has some hand/wrist problems right now, which I was unaware of until last night. When I asked what happened with his hands, he said, “I don’t know. Practicing just took a toll on them.” Regardless of this, he honestly had no idea what was going on most of the time during the rehearsal, and was not familiar with the music whatsoever.
He is also playing for another concert in this concert series, which is a vocal recital that I am singing. He told me last night that my recital music was “in about the same state.” Our first rehearsal for that recital is supposed to be November 17. I asked him if it would be ready by then, and his response was, “Well I’ll go through it once before then.” He followed up by saying that I “might want to find a back-up.”
My instinct is to relieve him of his duties for both concerts. He is being paid for rehearsals and performances, and this level of unprofessionalism is absolutely unacceptable. My choir members were troopers last night, and they did a great job of staying with me and were exceedingly patient. They deserve better than an accompanist who does not seem to care about this music.
Our problem is that in his Choir Accompanist Contract, there is no clause regarding contract termination. He is not a part-time employee of the choir – this is an independent contractor position. Any suggestions and advice for how to proceed is much appreciated. Thank you!November 6, 2018 at 8:23 am #581796
Craig Scott SymonsParticipant
You should absolutely relieve him of his duties, contract or not. Since there is no clause stating termination points, you’re justified in your decision based on the lack of preparation and his admitted “you might find a back up”. Learn from experience and point toward the future.
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