We recently finished all the Christmas/Advent services at my church for 2013. We did a wonderful piece by Shawn Kirchner (Behold, New Joy!) which was arranged for choir, brass octet, and organ. It was great having outside musicians add to our musical and spiritual experience this December. Now that we’re into the new year, I’m more resolved to have instrumentalists play regularly in our church services.
Having guest musicians play in church is a wonderful symbiotic relationship that we (as church musicians/staff and as freelance musicians) don’t take advantage of enough, in my opinion.
1) From the perspective of the church organist (of which I am one), it takes pressure off me by having a soloist or group of musicians, rather than just organ leading all of the service.
2) Given that it’s harder and harder to find good freelance work, instrumentalists can find an easy Sunday morning gig to earn a little extra cash. There is usually minimal preparation required and not much time involved to play a service or two (rather than sleep in!) on a Sunday.
3) The congregation is always very appreciative of any extra artistic or musical element that is added to the service. Even as an “every Sunday” musician, I always feel like I am helping the congregation worship and get more out of the service. So as a guest musician, you will always feel especially welcome and valued and may even find other gigs simply from playing a few times a year in a local church.
Do a search for the local churches in your area, send an email to the minister/director of music, and let them know you’re available to play special music when needed. Most directors won’t even require an audition!