AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS
EXPANDS INDEPENDENT MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM
TO INCLUDE SPECIAL MEMBER CATEGORY
NEW YORK CITY The American Guild of Organists (AGO), has expanded its independent membership category to include a new sub-category of membershipSpecial Memberthat allows individuals age 65 or over, disabled, or under the age of 21 but who are not enrolled as full-time students to take advantage of a reduced membership rate. Like other categories of independent membership, special members are voting members of the AGO and receive all national membership benefits without joining a local chapter. For the 2004 membership year, dues are $84 for a regular independent membership, $60 for special members, and $32 for students.
We have seen a trend over the last three years of a growing number of special members in the Guild, while the number of regular members has been very gradually declining, notes AGO Executive Director James Thomashower. Many non-renewing members are in the special category each year, so this new category gives those folks another avenue to stay connected with the Guild.
The INDEPENDENT MEMBERSHIP type was recommended by the AGO Committee on Membership Development and Chapter Support and approved by the National Council in an effort to make AGO membership available to people in geographic areas where either a local chapter does not exist or is so distant that chapter participation is not practical. Independent members receive full membership benefits, including eligibility for all health and insurance plans offered through the AGO, national election voting privileges, a subscription to THE AMERICAN ORGANIST Magazine, and discounts on AGO convention registration fees and education resources from the AGO Bookstore. Although independent members have no chapter affiliation, they are served by their district convener, regional coordinators for education and professional development, and their regional councillor. It is the AGOs hope that individuals joining the Guild for the first time as independent members will soon discover the many additional benefits and programs available through chapter affiliation, and will choose to join an AGO chapter of their choice at the time of membership renewal, if not earlier, stated AGO Executive Director James Thomashower.
Individuals wishing to join the AGO as independent members can pay their dues using a major credit card online at <www.agohq.org> or by calling (212) 870-2310. Independent membership dues, payable by check to the American Guild of Organists, should be sent to AGO National Headquarters, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, New York, N.Y. 10115.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the under-standing and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The purpose of the AGO is to promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide a forum for mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members. The Guild currently serves more than 20,000 members in more than 340 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. THE AMERICAN ORGANIST Magazine, the official journal of the AGO, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 24,000 each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman at AGO National Headquarters. This press release is available on the Internet at <www.agohq.org/bulletin>.