Organist & Choir Master (Washington, CT)

Date Posted: 
June 2, 2021
Organization Name: 
St. John's Episcopal Church
Contact Email: 
Salary Range: 
Housing plus Salary up to $20,000
Job Description: 

Job Title:                                             Organist & Choir Master (OCM)



The St. John’s Choir sings the liturgies of Holy Eucharist each Sunday and an occasional Choral Evensong from September through early June, offering psalms, canticles, anthems, and motets from our rich Anglican musical heritage. Additionally, the Choir sings at special liturgies, including Christmas Eve and the Triduum of Holy Week. Our repertoire draws from a broad range of musical styles: plainsong, Renaissance polyphony, Baroque chorales, Classical choruses, Anglican Chant and English anthems from the 16th century to the present. The Choir is open to members of the Parish as well as the community.

The Music Program at St. John’s is a vital component of the life of the church. Music is an integral part of worship, and every member of the music program is committed to provide quality liturgical music. Music offers us an opportunity to come together in a community of creative spirit. The timeless sound of sacred music suggests another way of being, separate from the everyday. It combines both the sacred and human dimensions, and its sound world is a place where we can be made more apt for the Divine.

Classification: FLSA Status (Exempt or Non- Exempt)

Exempt: Salary employee


The Priest-in -Charge or Rector (the “Priest”) will serve as Supervisor for the Organist & Choir Master, and in the absence of a Priest, the Wardens of the Vestry (the “Wardens”). For all purposes of this Agreement, in the absence a Priest-in -Charge or Rector, the Wardens shall act in place of the Priest.  The OCM will select and provide supervision of paid Section Leaders.

Statement concerning unemployment for religious non-profit.

As a religious non-profit organization, Employer name does not participate in either state or federal unemployment compensation pools and therefore, should your employment in this position terminate for any reason, no benefits would be payable under those programs.

Term of Agreement

The term of the Agreement with the OCM shall be from September 1, 2021 through September 1, 2022. The Agreement shall be renewable for one or more one-year terms upon the agreement of the OCM and the Priest (or the wardens, in the absence of a priest). This Agreement shall be extended automatically for additional one-year terms unless one party hereto notifies the other in writing (which may be via email) of its desire not to extend this Agreement for an additional period, at least 30-days prior to the commencement of the respective extension term.  The OCM may resign at any time, upon providing the Priest with 90-days advance written notice. The Priest may terminate the Agreement at any time, by written notice (which may be via email) if the OCM is not performing their duties and responsibilities under the Agreement in an adequate manner, as determined by the Priest, in their sole discretion.

Employee Handbook or Parishes Policies

The Agreement is subject to the attached Employee Handbook.

Training Requirements and Background Check

The OCM must successfully complete required Episcopal Church in Connecticut:

  • Safe Church Training,
  • Sexual Harassment Training, and
  • Background Checks.


Duties and Responsibilities include the following:

  • Collaborate with the Priest in designing music for congregational worship.
  • Creatively choose, teach and lead appropriate music for worship.
  • Be proficient in playing the St. John’s pipe organ, a Wicks, 3 manual 47 ranks, built in 1999, and piano for rehearsals in the Music Room.
  • Select and oversee 4 paid Section leaders to aid in worship.
  • Lead, teach, and motivate a volunteer adult mixed voice choir.
  • Lead, teach, and motivate congregational participation in the joy of music.
  • Collaborate in creative music planning with the Priest and parishioners through a Music- Committee.
  • Manage administrative responsibilities including budgeting expenditures within music line items, arranging for maintenance of all parish instruments, (organ and piano), maintenance of the music library including new purchases, and obtaining music copyright permission as appropriate and needed.
  • Other music ministry-related tasks as needed.

Supervisory Responsibility the Organist & Choir Master supervises the paid Section Leaders and the volunteer choir, and works with the Priest in accordance with Canon 24, Section 1, which reads:

It shall be the duty of every Minister to see that the music used as an offering for the glory of God and as a help to the people in their worship in accordance with The Book of Common Prayer and as authorized by the rubrics or by the General Convention of this Church. To this end the Minister shall have final authority in the administration of matters pertaining to music. In fulfilling this responsibility the Ministry shall seek assistance from persons skilled in music. Together they shall see that music is appropriate to the context in which it is used. (24.1)

Position Type and Expected Hours of Work

  • This part time position will typically involve fifteen to twenty hours per week and will include:
  • Attendance at the weekly all-staff meeting is expected.
  • Planning and leading weekly adult choir rehearsals from late August through early June; including anthem preparation.
  • Potential planning and leading a future children’s/youth choir rehearsal.
  • Conducting choirs while providing organ or piano accompaniment on Sundays and other days during the church year including Ash Wednesday, Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve Vigil), Lessons and Carols, and Christmas Eve, as well as occasional musical offerings open to the community.
  • Recommending worship hymns and service music, for approval of the Priest; providing final music selection to the Parish Administrator for weekly and special service bulletins in a timely fashion, and assisting in reviewing bulletins prior to printing
  • Practice and research


Compensation includes housing and a salary up to $20,000 (gross) annually depending upon experience and education, and paid in two-week increments, with four weeks paid vacation and one week paid for continuing education (to be taken during the summer when the Choir is not in session), scheduled in advance with the Priest. The OCM will be provided the Cottage at St. John’s as a residence, during the term of this Agreement. The OCM is responsible for all utilities at the Cottage. The OCM will also arrange for a substitute musician to cover for vacation absences and other occasions as arranged with the Priest. Other benefits are not currently provided.


The OCM is considered an employee of the Church. Substitute musicians and Section Leaders are occasional work-independent contractors, who will be paid on the day of their scheduled commitment.


St. John’s will commit a line item in the budget for Music & Choir Supplies ($3,000 for 2022) that includes the cost of tuning the pipe organ three times of year, and purchase of materials and licenses.


The OCM will provide music for funerals and weddings. If not available, the OCM will be responsible for finding a musician to cover. Compensation for these services will be in addition to salary. The current rate for a funeral ranges from $250 up. Compensation for weddings is negotiated between the OCM and the bridal couple.


The OCM will attend the first available Diocesan Safe Church Training certification in the fall of 2021. He/she is expected to keep his/her certification current and attending recertification training will be considered part of his/her work week.


Changes, modifications, and corrections to the Agreement may be made in writing by mutual agreement, at any time.


The OCM may also use the church (including the organ) and Music Room to private teaching and instruction, as agreed upon.


  • May include computer skills, language abilities, and other desired qualities.

 Education/ Experience:

  • B.A. or B.S. degree, or in school, working on such.
  • Experience in nonprofit organizations is a plus but not required.