Organist for the Ministry of Music (Cold Spring, NY)

Date Posted: 
October 7, 2021
Organization Name: 
St Mary in the Highlands
Salary Range: 
Job Description: 

We are a parish within the Episcopal Diocese of New York, known for our welcoming, affirming, and inclusive presence and hospitality in the community. Our worship style is considered “Broad” to “Anglo-Catholic.” Centrally located on 3 acres in the Village, we are a short, 10-minute walk to and from the Metro-North Train Station on the Hudson Line.

We believe that music and congregational singing should be joyful, spiritually uplifting, and participatory; all of which adds beauty to the complete worship experience for the congregation whom we serve.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

1) Provide enthusiastic musical leadership to the congregation, encouraging them to sing as a liturgical expression of worship and praise (as safety permits); this may sometimes include a few minutes of pre-service congregational rehearsal.

2) Working with the Rector, together you will select hymns and service music for the weekly Sunday services in the Episcopal tradition using approved musical resources, principally The Hymnal 1982 and its approved supplements. (The annual Episcopal Musician’s Handbook is employed as the preferred, useful resource, along with other musical indexes.) Selections are recorded in a shared spreadsheet for historical reference.

3) Currently, the Sunday Mass is held, in-person, in the sanctuary on the first, second, and third Sundays, with Morning Prayer on the fourth and fifth. The service begins promptly at 10:00 am, and typically last for 60 to 75 minutes. 

4) Your in-person presence and participation (with safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic) for Sunday worship is required, whether inside the sanctuary or outdoors on the lawn. 

5) The instrument (organ) we use indoors is a Copeman Hart & Company organ, manufactured in Irthlingborough, England. A Steinway Model B grand piano is also available. When outdoors, on the Great Lawn, we use a Yamaha 88 key electronic keyboard, with an outdoor amplification system. 

6) The organist will plan and play these additional holy day services as required, including, but not limited to: Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Thanksgiving. We are also considering regular Sung Evensong services, held Sunday’s at 4 pm, every other month.             

6) Attendance is required at regularly scheduled, weekly staff meetings with the Clergy, via Zoom or in person, not exceeding 90 minutes.

7) The usual and customary liturgical music, for the Eucharist (Mass) or Daily Office currently includes seasonally appropriate organ voluntaries for prelude and postlude, along with 3-5 hymns. A sung Psalm and sung liturgical service responses may be added, again, as safety guidelines permit. 

8) This is a part-time position, 8 to 10 hours per week, and includes your preparation, practice and performance, along with our weekly staff meeting.

9) Currently, there is no choir. The successful candidate will bring a willingness and positive energy to encourage, recruit and train members (whether parishioners or outside community) in order to build a volunteer choir. Salary will increase in tandem with the additional duties and responsibilities of the position, and rehearsal time with volunteers. 

10) The organist will assist the Rector and Vestry in promoting the church for other musical arts events and creative programs, both sacred and secular. Our worship space is ideal for chamber groups and baroque ensembles. 


•  Either a degree in music or current enrollment in studies toward such a degree, with a concentration in organ studies.

•  While previous experience as a Church Organist is preferred, students are also welcome to apply.

•  Knowledge of new technologies for collaborative recording for pre-recorded group performance is a great benefit, as well as a working knowledge of current safety protocols for singers as a choir or vocal ensemble is developed. 

•  A deep love and passion for sacred music, and a positive and engaging personality by which to involve others in worshipping God through liturgy and music.

•  A collaborative, collegial and flexible attitude and personality, with excellent interpersonal skills

•  There is an initial six-month probationary period.

•  Online Safe Church Training of 2 to 3 hours must be completed within two weeks of appointment to the position.

•  A full reference and background check are required after an offer is made and accepted by the candidate, and before appointment to the position.

•  The candidate must be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Compensation & Benefits:

•  Salary is negotiable, commensurate with experience for four regular worship services per month, and other occasional services during Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, and Thanksgiving.

•  Currently, in-person worship is three-times a month; with remote Zoom Morning Prayer on the fourth Sundays. This may change due to the COVID19 pandemic. Flexibility is key, regarding your in-person presence. Depending on the situation, music for MP can be pre-recorded. This will be discussed in the interview. Again, we’re flexible and adaptable as we respond rapidly to public worship in the days ahead.

• When a volunteer choir is recruited, rehearses, and performs at services at least twice a month, the salary is increased.

•  After one year of continuous service, four (4) weeks of paid vacation are provided, with one week earned every calendar quarter. Two weeks (and two Sundays) are to be taken during the summer months of July and August; preferably at the same time as the Rector (PIC, Vicar). 

•  As parish organist, you will have the right of first refusal for the special, public services which include weddings and funerals. This means you are compensated even if the family engages another musician. The honorarium for parishioners is currently $200 and $250 for non-parishioners, and is paid directly to you.

• The organist is paid twice monthly, the 15th and end of each month, via direct deposit, on the Diocesan payroll cycle.

The General Application Process: 

•  Submit a cover letter and CV (or resume) via email to:

•  Schedule a preliminary meeting and conversation with the Rector, in-person or via Zoom.

•  An invitation is extended to attend and play a service.

•  Meet with two Vestry members.

•  A preliminary, conditional offer is made, which is subject to successful reference verifications and background checks.

•  Detailed information is collected to process payroll, and a start date is established.