Assistant Organist and Choirmaster (Nashville, Tennessee)

Date Posted: 
March 9, 2020
Organization Name: 
Christ Church Cathedral
Job Description: 

Christ Church Cathedral

Nashville, TENNESSEE

Christ Church Cathedral, a historic downtown cathedral parish nestled in the heart of one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant cities in America, is seeking a Full-time Assistant Organist/Choirmaster to join the Cathedral Music Staff and help lead its dynamic music program, long known for its tradition of outstanding excellence.

We look for an individual demonstrating a superior degree of proficiency in the performance of organ literature and choral accompaniments as well as in leading hymns in corporate worship. Significant experience in choral conducting and accompanying is a prerequisite, as is proficiency in liturgical improvisation. Excellent skills in oral and written communication, strong interpersonal skills, and general organizational skills are a requirement for this position.

While we value top-level performance on the organ and as a leader of choral ensembles, we are also committed to the training and development of someone who wishes to grow into a leader in the world of church music. This position offers both performance and practicum. We seek a gifted individual who is looking not only to employ the skills so carefully honed during years of academic study, but also desires to develop practical skills used in the daily management of a music department that is vitally important to the ministry of a very active Cathedral.

The Cathedral Chorister training program is one of the key components of the Cathedral’s Music program. The ideal candidate will be a person who relates easily with children and who either already has experience training young singers or who has the strong desire to acquire the knowledge and tools necessary for their vocal education.

We look for a candidate with a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Organ Performance or an equivalent degree in Sacred Music and/or conducting, and we will be drawn to a candidate who demonstrates good interpersonal and communications skills. It is important to us that the Assistant Organist and Choirmaster be someone who relates to musicians and non-musicians alike. We place a high value on the musician’s role as a pastoral presence for the singers under his/her charge, as a friendly and open contact to members of our parish, and as a welcoming face to guests of the Cathedral.

The Assistant Organist/Choirmaster will participate  in all aspects of the Music Program, which comprises: 

  • the Cathedral Choir (a semi-professional, 30-voice, mixed adult, auditioned ensemble employing 10 paid section leaders)

  • the Cathedral Choristers (two groups of young singers trained using an adapted Royal School of Church Music curriculum)

  • the Parish Choir (a volunteer choir which sings three times a year)

The Assistant Organist/Choirmaster will share responsibilities with the Canon for Music in the following areas:

  • organ playing and choral conducting for all rehearsals and Cathedral liturgies, including weddings, funerals, and Diocesan events. (Extra compensation included for weddings, funerals and several Diocesan events.)

  • assist with accompanying/directing the Senior Choristers (4th grade and above) in rehearsal and performance, as well as with the overall administration of the RSCM program

  • planning, budgeting, and implementation of the annual Chorister retreat 

  • planning, budgeting for, and implementation of the Cathedral Chorister Festival, now entering its 22nd year

  • planning, budgeting for, and implementation of a short domestic Cathedral Choir and Chorister tour

  • participating in meetings of the Cathedral’s Cultural Arts Committee and visibly supporting its mission through attendance at planning meetings and programs sponsored by the Committee

  • representing the Music Department in the meetings and work of the Cathedral Liturgy Committee

Under supervision of the Canon for Music, the Assistant Organist/Choirmaster will bear primary responsibility for the following: 

  • covering conducting and organ playing duties in the absence of the Canon for Music

  • being in charge of training the Junior Choristers (2nd and 3rd grade) 

  • managing the Cathedral’s extensive music library, including maintaining organization of the existing digital database and overseeing volunteer music librarians

  • tracking attendance, payroll, and financial remuneration for staff singers and extra singers for festivals and Diocesan events

  • assisting with the production of choir books for joint choral services with the Cathedral Choir and Choristers

  • being the principal liaison to and maintaining close communication with Cathedral Chorister parents

  • engaging with Cathedral families having young children in an effort to recruit Cathedral Choristers

  • preparation of documents requiring skills in musical notation software

The Cathedral’s musical liturgies are Holy Eucharist Rite II as well as several Choral Evensongs per season, the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, the annual Cathedral Chorister Festival, and several Diocesan events. The Cathedral possesses a magnificent 2003 Lively/Fulcher III/61 pipe organ which may be used by the Assistant Organist/Choirmaster for teaching purposes. 

The Assistant Organist/Choirmaster will report directly to the Canon for Music in daily responsibilities, but is ultimately responsible to the Dean of the Cathedral. 

It is the policy of Christ Church Cathedral to provide equal employment opportunity consistent with the 

Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. The successful candidate will be required to submit to  a background check and to complete all modules of Safe Church required by the Diocese of Tennessee.

Salary will be commensurate with skill level and experience. Benefits include medical, optical, and dental insurance, pension benefits, four weeks of vacation, two weeks of education leave (including continuing education budget).

Position to begin summer of 2020. Please send cover letter, resume, and names and contact information of three references to:

Dr. Michael Velting

Canon for Music

Christ Church Cathedral 

Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.