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Hendrickson's Helpful Hints for the Organ Committee

By Charles Hendrickson



In order to assist the organ committee in its deliberations I have set down a few ideas gleaned from my experiences.

1.  The committee should represent the broad needs of the church, not just a few select musicians or staff.

2.  When presenting its final recommendations for a vote, it is best if 3 - 6 different committee members speak briefly on the various topics (cost, placement, revisions to the church, musical values, warranty, etc.) rather than one person speak at length.  Make certain that all people who would vote "yes" are at this meeting.

3.  Most of the organ projects which I have been associated with raised more money than anticipated.  They were oversubscribed.  Money is the most frightening thing for the committee to contemplate, but most committees are relieved and inspired by how easy the money comes in once the project is approved.  Don't be overly concerned about the cost, but know your congregation. Each church has its own time frame for raising funds.

4.  The main job of the committee is to inform the congregation so that the project will be approved with a "yes" vote.  After that, everything is easy.

5.  There should be no surprises for the congregation.  They should know in advance (long in advance) what is proposed, the cost, the time frame, etc.  Thus the committee must excel at giving the congregation information, and putting a positive program together.  The committee must focus on PR and informing.

6.  Be prepared to answer congregation questions.  Designate committee members to deal with particular topics, and agree in advance what your answers will be to the probable questions.

7.  Don't evade, hedge, dodge, or try to otherwise get out of answering tough questions.  The simple, plain, straight-forward and firm answer is best.  Know what you believe and defend it calmly with gracious, but precise, answers.  Don't ever get angry.

8.  You may not be the fund raising committee, and some other group may do this.  A good liaison must be established between all groups involved in this project.  Know what you are about.

9.  It is not necessary that the committee have a unanimous agreement on everything, but try to agree not to issue a minority report.  The church should feel that the committee has done its job well, and will then agree to its recommendation.

10.  Bring one plan to vote on.  Do not offer options.

11.  A new pipe organ is an exciting and fun project.  Enjoy yourselves.  A fine instrument will reward your work.

12.  Your organbuilder has a large job to design and build a musical instrument which will inspire the congregation.  He needs your advice, support and trust.  He should also return the favor.


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