Eileen Guenther, a church music professor at Wesley Theological Seminary and music lecturer at George Washington University, said the top pulpits in the country that offer good salaries to organists still have applicants lining up for them.
“But the places where it’s trickier are smaller, (with) less dense population, whether it’s rural or suburban,” said Guenther, a past president of the American Guild of Organists. “It’s an aging population in terms of some places. I have students here at the seminary that will say, ‘This woman has been our organist for 72 years.’”
A 2014 survey by the AGO tells the story: More than half of members surveyed (58 percent) reported serving 31 or more years as organist at a religious organization, and most of the members were in their mid-50s to mid-70s.
“In the next two decades, current Boomer members will ‘age out’ of the AGO, with strikingly few younger members able to ‘take their place,’” the 97-page report warned.