First Congregational Church of North Attleborough, MA UCC—known as the “Oldtown Church”—is seeking a pianist/organist to share their talents with us and provide music for our worship services. Oldtown is a welcoming, family-oriented church, and music plays an important role in our worship experience. Our Sunday worship services usually include two “traditional” hymns from the Chalice Hymnal or Pilgrim Hymnal, an “anthem” played during the time of offering, and other music throughout the service. The anthem is sometimes a song from one of the hymnals, and sometimes it is a more contemporary song played on the piano, guitar, banjo, chimes, or other instruments by talented members of our congregation. We try to maintain a good balance between the traditional hymns that everyone knows and loves, and more contemporary music heard on Christian radio.
We have two instruments that are played by our pianist/organist. At the front of our sanctuary is a Boston baby grand piano made by the Steinway Piano Company. This beautiful instrument was donated new to the church in 2014 by the late Conrad Morel in memory of his wife, Dorothy. We have protected the piano with a Dampp Chaser humidity-control system to ensure it will be in excellent shape for years to come. It sounds wonderful when accompanying the choir or when being played by itself during worship.
In the balcony at the back of the sanctuary is our precious Tracker Organ. This wonderful instrument was installed in our sanctuary in 1865 by the George Stevens Organ Company of East Cambridge, MA. It was originally “powered” by manually pumping the bellows in the organ housing, but it was converted from manual pumping to electric in the 1920s. The organ is truly a wondrous instrument to play; the linkage of rods and levers between the keyboard and the pipe valves that make it operate can be readily seen inside the organ housing. It is meticulously cared for, and we receive comments from the company who tunes and maintains the organ for us that they are surprised at its excellent condition given its age.
At Oldtown, we worship once a week, starting at 10am on Sunday morning and lasting for about an hour. Unlike many churches, we do not have a separate rehearsal for our choir during the week. Instead, our choir and pianist gather at 9:30am to practice music for the upcoming services. There are a few other services throughout the year, such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Christmas Eve, for which we usually ask the pianist/organist to play, along with occasional weddings, funerals, and other opportunities. Usually, however, we are seeking a commitment of no more than two hours a week, on Sunday mornings.
The pianist/organist is expected to work with the Pastor and Choir Director to coordinate the selection of music. Songs are usually selected by the Pastor to coincide with the message of the day, but input is always welcomed and encouraged.
We are looking for someone who will fit into our open, relaxed, family-oriented style of worship, increasing our welcome to all with their musical talents. Following are our expectations and the responsibilities of the position:
- The pianist/organist should arrive at the church promptly by 9:30am on Sunday mornings and be prepared to run through music with the choir prior to the morning’s worship service. Apart from occasional “holiday” services or weddings, funerals or other services, there are no other obligations during the week.
- The music for a given Sunday’s worship service will be selected by the Pastor, with input from others, by the Tuesday afternoon prior. Arrangements will be made to ensure that the pianist/organist has copies of all the music for the upcoming Sunday.
- Playing the organ during worship at least once a month is preferred, but we will entertain candidates who do not currently play the organ but may be willing to learn.
- The pianist/organist should be available for most Sundays, excluding a few weeks each year for family obligations. He/she should provide at least two weeks notice when he/she will be unable to play for a Sunday morning service, whenever possible, so we can make other arrangements accordingly.
- He/she should keep the music ministry apprised of the condition of the instruments and make any recommendations to improve the experience.
- This is a paid contractor position, with no benefits provided. Payment will be made for each date of performance. We will issue a Form 1099-MISC at the end of the year summarizing payments made throughout the year. A completed Form W-9 is required from the pianist/organist before any payments can be made.
If you are interested in sharing your talents and becoming part of the Oldtown Family, we would love to talk with you. Feel free to join us for worship on a Sunday morning and talk with the Pastor or with Jim Fennell, Music Ministry leader, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Pastor at 508-294-9767.