Curious About Careers
Holding a part-time position in church music, I also work full-time in another profession. Is my situation unique, or does it have historical precedent?
- Curious about Careers
For several centuries organists have occupied part-time positions in church music in combination with other employment.
Dietrich Buxtehude was not only the organist but also the bookkeeper at St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck. The venerable Dr. Alec Wyton advised his students to hold more than one position, thereby being able to focus on the job which produces the greater joy and always to be happy! Among the multitude of illustrious American organists with multiple careers, here are three notable examples:
Ives, Charles (1874-1954)
Organist: church organist from 1888 (age 14) until 1902;
Athlete: Champion sprinter on the Yale Varsity Football Team
Life Insurance Executive: Ives & Myrick, 1899-1930
Composer: one of the first American composers of international significance
Philanthropist: great patron of twentieth century music, often supporting works that were written by other composers. He did this in secret.
Latrobe, Benjamin (1764-1820)
Organist: St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, DC
Architect: The Capitol Building, Washington, DC; The Baltimore Basilica (first cathedral in America)
Riess, Dorothy Young (b. 1931)
Organist: winner, National American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition;
Associate Organist, First Christian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada Composer: works for piano, organ, solo instruments.
Physician: Doctor of Medicine; private practice, Internal Medicine, Pasadena, CA; First female president of Pasadena Medical Society and founder of San Gabriel Valley Women in Medicine Association.
Writer/historian: multiple published articles on medical history and ethics.
Commercial photographer: medical/surgical photography plus scenic/nature
I hope that the example of these outstanding colleagues might inspire each of us to live to the fullest extent of our creative capacities.