The ISM calls on religious leaders to save the jobs of church and synagogue musicians

On Wednesday 8 July, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster, and the Chief Rabbi, calling on them to protect the jobs of musicians who work in churches and synagogues across the country.

The ISM has for many weeks been working behind the scenes to ensure that musicians who work in religious settings do not lose their jobs.

In the letters, ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts implores religious leaders to take ‘immediate, practical action to save jobs and support musicians’, and has criticised the ‘precipitate’ casting of ‘individuals into unemployment in the middle of a pandemic’.

The ISM is calling for an immediate halt to redundancies to secure the livelihoods of musicians working in religious settings and the maintenance of our ‘glorious choral tradition’.

Deborah Annetts said:


‘We are deeply dismayed that despite our efforts we are now seeing redundancies and even the disbandment of choirs that have been established for hundreds of years.

The UK’s great choral tradition is on the verge of disintegration because of short-sighted measures from some religious establishments.

Churches and synagogues are places of profound spiritual significance, and music is at the core of many people’s religious experience. Recorded music in no way is a substitute for glorious live choral music.

As we wait for further government guidance on the return of live performance, it is essential that religious institutions, as large employers, do not act hastily in making their wonderful and committed musicians unemployed at this time of crisis. This would be a less than charitable act.’

Read the letters to the religious leaders

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support approximately 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.For more information, please contact [email protected].