How to Charge for Ceremony of Carols

Posted In: Performing

  • Participant
    janna-bisceglia on #197223

    I’ve played Ceremony of Carols with my college choir, but I’m trying to figure out what to charge professionally. I’ve seen the Harp Column survey for how much to charge for Ceremony of Carols, but my questions is, what does that cover?


    Is it for one performance and one rehearsal? The more typical two performances and one rehearsal? Looking at the stats, it seems like people typically charge about $90 more than they do for a wedding. Is that true for you?

    carl-swanson on #197224

    Janna- It’s been years, no decades, since I hired myself out to play the Ceremony of Carols. But looking at this from a purely business perspective, I would say that your fee depends on a couple of things, and therefore would be different in different situations. The first two factors in coming up with the fee is the number of times you have to schlep the harp out and the distance you have to travel.  If the job involves one rehearsal on the day of the performance and the performance(in the same venue as the rehearsal), then that will be your cheapest fee.  If there are two rehearsals and therefore two round trip moves, plus the performance(a third round trip move) then the fee has to reflect that. In other words, the core of your fee is not how much you have to play but how much moving and driving you have to do.  You should discuss these issues with whoever is planning on hiring you to play so that they know that 1) the fee is based on those factors and 2) the fee could go higher or lower depending on what the person who hires you wants to do.

    janna-bisceglia on #197225

    I’ve played weddings for a number of years now, and I charge $275 per wedding which is the going rate for my area. I add on for mileage, attending rehearsal etc. I guess since Harp Column has a “going rate” for Ceremony of Carols for each region when they do their surveys, I’m wondering what that base rate represents.

    erin-wood on #197328

    I would say you should get at least $100 per service. But I usually just go with whatever I’m offered. Some churches don’t have a big budget for musicians.

    Andrea on #198363

    I charge $400 for the Ceremony of Carols.  That includes one rehearsal with the choir, preferably NOT on the same day as the performance, within my regular playing area (roughly a 50 mile radius around my house).  I charge additional for more than one rehearsal and for anything beyond my 50 mile radius. Most choral directors know that the Ceremony of Carols is a challenging piece for harp and that you need a very good harpist to play it well so I have never had a problem being paid my rate.  Frankly, you should be paid more for church choirs that are inadequate to the vocal parts because it will make it ten times harder for you to play well.

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