July 14, 2004
NEW YORK CITY—The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is pleased to announce the results of its 2004 professional certification examinations. Fifty-three candidates were awarded the Service Playing Certificate; seven of these also received dual certification with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Forty-six candidates received the Colleague (CAGO) certificate. Fourteen candidates passed the upper-level academic examinations: one received the Choir Master (ChM) certificate, and thirteen received the Associateship (AAGO) certificate. There were no successful candidates in the Fellowship (FAGO) examination, the Guild’s highest-level examination. The prize award winners are:
John Ward, AAGO
Bangor (Maine) Chapter
CHOIR MASTER PRIZE
David Kelley, CHM
S. LEWIS ELMER AWARD
John Ward, AAGO
The S. LEWIS ELMER AWARD ($400) is for the highest overall score on any of the upper-level exams. The Fellowship ($500), Associateship ($400), and Choir Master ($400) prizes are for the highest scores in these examinations. In order to qualify for any of the examination awards, a candidate must take the complete examination at one time and achieve an overall score of at least 85%.
JOHN WARD, AAGO of Blue Hill, Maine, works extensively in many musical disciplines: as an organist, pianist, conductor, singer, composer, theater artist, and teacher. He is the organist at Blue Hill Congregational Church, and has held organist positions at St. Paul's Rock Creek Parish in Washington, D.C., and the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Arlington, Va. Ward earned the bachelor of music degree in piano from the Eastman School of Music, and the master of music degree in piano and a Ph.D. in music theory from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. He also holds a performer's diploma (ATCL) in piano from the Trinity College of Music, London, and diplomas of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (DipABRSM). He has pursued additional studies at Westminster Choir College and the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included, for piano, Josephine Ward, Helen Wilson, Eugene List, Arthur Balsam, Leon Kushner, William Masselos, and Bela Nagy; for conducting, Anton Coppola and Alan Crowell; for singing, W. Brad Stickley, Leslie Luxemburg, Rosemarie Houghton, Robert Baker, Ann Mills, and William Merrill; and for organ, Gerald Wheeler.
DAVID KELLEY, CHM is director of music at Concordia Lutheran Church, Wilmington, Del., where he directs the adult and children’s choirs, and plays the organ for all services. He is a member of the executive committee of the Delaware Chapter of the AGO, and is active both as a singer and as a member of the board of CoroAllegro, Delaware’s premier chamber choir. Kelley studied organ and composition as a scholarship student at Furman University, and graduated in 1994 with a bachelor of music degree in music theory. In October 1996 he completed a master’s degree in liturgical music, and in May 1997 he completed a master’s degree in composition, both at the Catholic University of America. During his academic career, Kelley studied organ with R. Benjamin Dobey, Charles Boyd Tompkins, and Robert Grogan, and composition with Mark Kilstofte and Steven Strunk. He resides in Wilmington with his wife, Kathleen, and sons, John and Drew.
The AGO PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM dates from 1896, when the Guild received its charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York to administer a comprehensive series of examinations for professional certification. The following certificates are offered under the auspices of the AGO Committee on Professional Certification: Service Playing Certificate (SPC), Colleague (CAGO), Choir Master (ChM), Associateship (AAGO), and Fellowship (FAGO). While the lower-level Guild examinations test competence in a number of skills that an organist uses regularly, such as hymn playing, accompanying, and sight-reading, the more advanced examinations also test the candidate’s literacy and musicianship at a higher level. For example, items such as writing counterpoint, accompanying from a figured bass, and essay questions in music history are included in the upper-level exams.
"An AGO certificate benefits the member, contributing to professional advancement and to an increase in confidence in performance, and it strengthens the Guild in its mission to maintain standards in organ playing, choral conducting, and worship music," notes Philip Gehring, PHD, FAGO, director of the AGO Committee on Professional Certification. "A Guild with a large number of certified members sends a message to the public that we are serious about quality in the practice of our profession." Approximately 13% of the AGO membership is certificated. Of those, 43% hold the Service Playing Certificate; 26% hold the Colleague; 7% hold the Choir Master; 17% hold the Associateship, and 6% hold the Fellowship.
The schedule for the 2005 professional certification examinations will be: Service Playing Test: October 1, 2004–April 30, 2005; Colleague: January 21 and June 1, 2005; Choir Master: June 1, 2005; Associateship: June 2–3, 2005; and Fellowship: June 2–3, 2005. A detailed list of examination requirements are available from AGO National Headquarters and online at www.agohq.org. Please call 212-870-2311, ext. 4303 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. #
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 email@example.com.