[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Church Services - Redux.

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Fri Jan 7 10:58:02 PST 2005

In a message dated 1/7/05 7:51:16 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> We have played in Presbyterian (several), Episcopal, Catholic, Lutheran, Non
> Denominational, Methodist and Unitarian churches at jazz services/vespers
> over the past couple of years.
> Yes, churches are a great place to play. Acoustics are usually excellent and
> the congregants respond to the music.
> We charge $100 a man, no leader fee. Usual time 1 hour. This is below our
> usual band fee and viewed as part contribution to a worthy cause.
> Cheers,
> Steve
> Hi Steve and all:

Having been involved with Booking and promoting Gospel Music for many years I 
have had substantial experience dealing with Churches, which is not always an 
easy thing to do.

Please allow me to jump in here with a couple of suggestions you all might 
find helpful.

1.  The above Church denominations, without a doubt are the best sources to 
pursue this kind of gig, and depending upon where they are and how large their 
congregation and membership is will determine how much money you may be able 
to charge.

1.   The Presbyterian churches generally do not listen to Christian or Gospel 
music every day of the week or even often as compared to the Baptist and 
other Evangelical sects.   They do however like it on Sunday when they go to 
Church and once or twice a month they tend to have a Christian or Inspirational 
Concert at their church and will pay very well for same.   However do not expect 
to sell many CDs as they just don't seem interested most of the time, at least 
in my experiences.  A couple of years back I booked a concert in a big church 
in a Moraga, California where I live, and the congregation is very well 
heeled financially.  The church is situated right across the road from the 6th Hole 
on the golf course with a beautiful view of the valley.  About 1500 members.  
Attendance approximately 800 at the event.

I had very fine four piece Gospel vocal group with a pianist perform there 
for one hour, and they performed old Spirituals and original Contemporary 
Christian songs and received an encore and a standing ovation, but only sold TWO 
recordings after the event.  They had however been paid an honorarium of 
$3,500.00 so they were obviously happy campers.

I had also booked them for a concert that evening over in a nearby city at a 
Baptist Church with over 3000 members, where the Preacher would only offer 
them a "LOVE" offering, There were at least 2000 people in attendance, they had 
the same response as they had at the Presbyterian Church earlier.  I watched 
the love offering pour into the baskets in very substantial numbers with lots of 
Ten and twenty dollar bills hitting the baskets row after row.  At the 
conclusion of the evening after the social period with the congregation where we 
sold about $2,000.00 worth of CDs and cassettes, the preacher's wife slipped us a 
sealed envelope with the "LOVE" offering in it, a check for $500.00.

Now I have booked the same act and similar acts into Baptist Churches with 
only 200 people in the audience or ones with four or five hundred and 
mysteriously the "Envelope"
has always contained $500.00 give or take $50.00 at the end.  It is a good 
thing the audiences like the music and buy the cassettes and CDs or the acts 
could not afford to travel around and play for them.   

Many churches have unwritten attitudes which they will of course deny, that 
discourages their members from participating at other Churches activities 
unless they are directly connected Pastor to Pastor and are in on the split of any 
Money being taken in.
One would certainly not think this would be the case, but I have seen it 
enough times to make a point out of it, particularly in the Evangelical churches.  
They are however not shy about inviting other church members to come over and 
worship with them and of course contribute to the Love Offerings and do 
everything they can to woo them into switching churches to increase their flock.  
Many of them also have requirements that any musical act have signed letters of 
endorsements from their own Pastors and at least three other sect affiliated 
churches to endorse their Christianity and worthiness to be able to MINISTER 
to their congregation.  But enough on this, I could write a book, and probably 
should on this subject. :))

On the other hand the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, non-denominational and 
Unitarians seem to have a much broader sense of appreciation for the music and 
the artist and experience the event for what it is rather than some life 
changing Religious experience in the same way as a regular Hell Fire and Brimstone 
Church service, or what they term as a Praise and Worship Service.

That being said, folks, there are 350,000 + churches in the USA, many of them 
in close proximity to liquor stores and nightclubs, so you should not have 
too much trouble getting some bookings if you go work the market and Sell 
yourselves.  ( Hint,  they are not going to come into the nightclub to find you and 
book you in 99% of the cases) so once a gain you have to get off the couch and 
go beat the streets to find the work and the money.  Remember a Church is a 
BUSINESS too and unlike most of you, Tax exempt, so when you do reduced fee 
performances, be smart enough to get a signed contract for your full fee amount 
with the stipulation clause that says you will DONATE back to the organization 
what ever amount you fell obliged to do so and get a signed receipt for the 
contribution and deduct it on your income tax returns.  Either as a direct 
contribution or Promotion and Advertising expenses.  Try to negotiate other 
bookings at the event and PROMOTE your self and your music to anybody who will listen 
and it is certainly tax deductible.  Check with your tax accountant, and if 
he/she tells you other wise, get another accountant.  Money makes the World Go 
Round and without it things stop spinning pretty fast even for the Churches.  
Everybody NEEDS money especially Musicians.

Now Praise the Lord and pass the Love Offering baskets and when you get 
successful send a little Love offering to OLE:

Rev. Tom-Bob Wiggins.     so I can continue my good work as well.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list