Sept. 2, 2005
The AGO National Council and Headquarters staff extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In an effort to identify ways that we can help the dozens of AGO members and thousands of others who have been stricken by the devastating storm, Regional Councillors Sarah Hawbecker (Region IV) and Frances Nobert (Region IX) have volunteered to serve on a national AGO task force to consider how the AGO can respond to this crisis most effectively. If you wish to assist them, please contact Executive Director James Thomashower email@example.com tel. 212-870-2311 ext. 4300.
The National Council and staff have already discussed many potential ways to address the needs of those whose lives have been most profoundly disrupted. We are especially concerned about the 56 members of the New Orleans Chapter and the 17 members of the South Mississippi Chapter, since both chapters were in the direct path of the hurricane. We would welcome any news about the well-being of the members of those chapters.
Praying for those who have been dislocated or harmed by the storm and sending a monetary donation to a respected charitable organization such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or a denominational organization with a disaster relief program are the two actions that Council and staff recommend for those who wish to take part immediately in the relief effort. A detailed list of organizations accepting monetary donations can be found at this link:
We are also studying the possibility of accepting donations at AGO Headquarters on behalf of the New Orleans and South Mississippi Chapters, and having Headquarters contribute directly to one of the agencies referenced in the list above. In addition, the Membership Committee is reviewing a plan to waive the national portion of dues for the 2005–2006 fiscal year for members who were directly affected by the storm. Another suggestion we are evaluating is for the AGO to serve as a clearing house for donations of sheet music which, at some point in the future, can be distributed to those individuals and institutions whose music libraries were destroyed by the hurricane.
In the weeks ahead, the AGO will establish a formal response plan that will likely have many components. We will keep you apprised of our progress, and we will ask for your help in communicating the plan to your constituents, just as we ask now for your assistance in sharing this letter with the members of your chapter and district leadership.
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 understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.