Southeastern New Jersey

Last updated: September 8, 2014 at 10:01 am

Message from the Dean 


Welcome to the SouthEast Jersey Chapter.

For more than a century, the American Guild of Organists has been the largest, unified voice in the world dedicated to supporting the organ and those who play it. In recent years, the Guild has rededicated its energies toward broadening the appreciation and understanding of organ music, and to restoring the glory of the King of Instruments throughout our society.

With over 18,000 Members, the Guild has a headquarters in New York and over 340 local chapters in the United States and internationally. The SouthEast Jersey Chapter serves Atlantic County, Cape May County, and the southern Delaware Bay portion of Cumberland County.

First and foremost, we welcome you to our musical events. We enjoy making music. We invite you to be part of the experience. We also provide educational programs such as registration workshops, accompaniment classes, and organ “crawls,” to name a few. At times, we participate in ventures with other Chapters. We also participate in events for young people.

If you are not a Member or Chapter Friend, please consider joining us. We welcome your participation. All who are interested in the organ and choral music fields are invited to join. Membership is open to everyone, regardless of religion, denomination, or musical ability. Students, amateurs, hobbyists, professionals, virtuosos, and others make up our ranks.

My thanks to all in our Chapter who volunteer and help out in so many ways. If you have any questions or if our Chapter can be of help to you, please do not hesitate to get in touch. My appreciation, too, to all our Chapter Members and Friends. Without your continued support, our work is not possible.

As Charles Marie Widor states, “Organ playing is the manifestation of a will filled with the vision of eternity.” And according to Honore de Balzac, “The organ is the grandest, the most daring, the most magnificent of all instruments invented by human genius.”

God bless.


Dennis E. Cook, Dean


Local Events

LYRA, Vocal Ensemble from Saint Petersburg, Russia – Sacred chants and Russian folk songs: September 12, 2014, Friday, 5:30 PM, Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church, 1409 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ

 St. Nicholas of Tolentine Presents in Concert, The Suspicious Cheese Lords, All-Male Vocal Ensemble Specializing in Early Music & Polyphony, Saturday, October 18 at 7:00 PM, Free Admission, 1409 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401,Additional Information; (609) 344-1040 (Ask for Eric Dolch)

Organ Recital by Gordon Turk: October 12, 2014, Sunday, 4 PM, Episcopal Church of The Advent, 686 Washington Street (Franklin and Washington Streets), Cape May, NJ; $10 admission.






Student singers of all ages available for church solo and ensemble work.  Trained and prepared by Fox Vocal Arts instructors.  Seeking singing opportunities as part of their musical and vocal education in sacred music.

Congratulations to the Cape Shore Chorale on the celebration of its tenth anniversary in 2014.

Boardwalk Hall organ to be part of Miss America 2013

On July 1, 2013 Steven Ball Ph.D., began work at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall as organist and development director. A Fulbright Scholar leaving the University of Michigan as professor in the music department to move here, Steve is an active member of the AGO, a recitalist, carilloneur, classic and theatre performer, recording artist, and silent film accompanist. He started playing church music on the organ at age 9. He will be assisting at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. His web site

Congratulations to John Gottschall on the publication of his work, Bach Chorales Proclaiming the Gospel:





Why Join?

The SouthEast Jersey Chapter welcomes all interested in the organ, choral activities, and related music. Membership is open to everyone, regardless of religion, denominational affiliation, or musical ability. The Southeast Jersey Chapter serves Atlantic County. Cape May County, and the southern Delaware Bay section of Cumberland County.

Why join the SouthEast Jersey Chapter?
Joining the Chapter benefits you, others like you (musicians and non-musicians alike), those for whom you perform or sponsor musical events, and, in general, all who love organ music.

Must I be an organist or a musician to join?

If I am an organist, must I be a seasoned performer to join?
No. Students, amateurs, hobbyists, professionals, virtuosos, and others make up our ranks.

In what ways can I join?
Two ways: as a Voting Member or as a Chapter Friend. Those who are not organists may join either as a Voting Member or Chapter Friend. Joining as a Chapter Friend does not include all benefits of Voting Membership (e.g. receiving The American Organist).

How are dues used?
Part stays with the SouthEast Jersey Chapter for work we do. Part covers your subscription to The American Organist (if joining as a Member). Part supports the work of national headquarters.

What are the benefits of being a Chapter Member?

    • Networking and communication with others like yourself in a friendly group
    • Opportunities to interact with those who have concerns and interests similar to yours
    • Participation in educational events to assist you as a musician
    • Programs for young people
    • Promotion of musical performances you present or host
    • Access to scholarship funds for Members who want to pursue organ studies
    • Assistance locating positions
    • Participation in SouthEast Jersey Chapter socials
      • A subscription to The American Organist if joining as a Chapter Voting Member

Voting Member or Chapter Friend?

Voting Member:Voting Membership is available to organists, choral conductors, and anyone who supports the mission of the Guild. Voting membership includes participation in all national activities, elections, eligibility for certification examinations and for all insurance plans, and a one-year subscription to The American Organist. Voting Membership is available at reduced rates to those age 65 or older, under 21, the disabled, and full-time students. Dual Voting Membership is available for Members who want to be involved with more than one Chapter. You need not be an organist, choral conductor, singer, or musician to join as a Voting Member.

        • Regular Voting Member
        • Special Voting Member: 65 and over, under 21, or disabled
        • Student Voting Member: full-time student with valid school ID
        • Partner Voting Member: must be affiliated with a Regular, Special, or Student Voting Member at same household; one copy The American Organist per household
        • Regular or Special Dual Voting Member: paid to second Chapter; Regular or Special voting membership with a primary Chapter required
      • Student Dual Voting Member: paid to second Chapter; Student voting membership with primary Chapter required

Chapter Friend:

Another way to be affiliated with our Chapter is to join as a Chapter Friend. Chapter Friends support the local Chapter, receive Chapter newsletters, and participate in Chapter events. A Chapter Friend membership does not include national voting privileges, membership benefits, or a subscription to The American Organist.


Dues / How to Join or Renew Membership

For current dues information and any current special promotions, and for membership applications and membership renewal forms, please contact the Southeast Jersey Chapter Treasurer:

George H. Grover
220 North New Hampshire Avenue – #1411
Atlantic City, NJ 08401-5554

phone: 609-344-7770





+ Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Ocean City, NJ, seeks a part-time Music Director (Organist and Choir Director) to lead our music program.  Responsibilities include playing the organ for Sunday morning worship, choir rehearsal and seasonal holy days. Directing a volunteer adult choir, fostering congregational singing, and encouraging people of all ages to participate in the music ministry.  Instruments include a 3 manual Allen digital Renaissance with midi. This a part time position(10-12hrs a week) and compensation range is $12,000.00-$18,000.00 per year (depending on experience) Job description posted on our website @ See music tab.Please submit letter and resume to the Music Committee preferably by email: Candidate should possess strong organ and choir skills to lead the congregation in singing of hymns, Service Music, and provide the choir anthem. Knowledge of Liturgical Music is a plus and demonstrate energy, creativity, flexibility, and being a team player.

+ Organist or Pianist/Choir Director. Margate Trinity United Methodist Church. 9500 Ventnor Ave. (corner of Jefferson and Ventnor Avenues), Margate, NJ 08402. Small choir. Electronic organ. Also, a piano. In need of someone who would want a part time small job without many hours. The church uses the Methodist Hymnal (old one) and has much choir music. Contact  Pam Cielinski. 609-823-1711. Pam Cielinski, 221 N. Clarendon Avenue, Margate, NJ 08402.

+ The Margate Community Church, Margate, New Jersey, is looking for a Music Director / Organist who will play for our worship services (Sundays and yearly special services), direct our adult choir of 15 – 18 voices, supervise our paid soloists, invite and coordinate with guest instrumentals, help develop our Youth and Children’s choirs, play for funerals and weddings, and work to provide and invite special concerts and recitals during the year.  The Music Director will have access to two Allen organs, a grand piano, an upright piano, a carillon bell system, and an extensive choral music library.  16 – 20 hours per week.  A salary range of $23,000 – $26,000 is being offered, dependent upon experience, credentials, and availability

+ Saint James Lutheran Church, Pitman NJ, Organist and Choir Director, 2 manual Wicks organ, 8:30 & 11:00 services, adult and youth choirs. Contact Pastor Daniel Leslie at (856-589-1180) or Joan Gebhart at (856-589-1963.)

+ Saint Michael Roman Catholic Church
Atlantic City, NJ
Organist and Choir Director

To list a post, contact Dennis E. Cook 609-345-7686,


Substitute Organists

Helena Bew
609-884-7068 (H), 609-425-8112 (C),

Dennis E. Cook
609-641-2330, 609-345-7686, 609-641-6555(F),

John Curtis
609-536-8379 (H),

John K. Gottschall
609-701-0091 (H),

Sallie B. Mellem
609-884-8625 (H), 609-884-3065 (W)

Jean C. Ridgway
609-399-7186 (H), 609-398-3155 (2nd), 609-399-1833 (W)

Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.




Education and certification are at the heart of the Guild’s mission and have been since it originally was chartered over a century ago. The Guild’s certification program “is comparable to license and accreditation board standards in other fields, such as medicine, accounting, law, [and] education…

“Preparation for the exams strengthens you in areas that you use all the time: sight-reading, transposition, modulation, improvisation, accompaniment, and hymn-playing. Preparation is completely flexible. You can study on your own; you can work with a teacher; you can prepare as a group.

“The certification process is anonymous and it is fair. No one needs to know anything about it except the one chapter member who makes the arrangements. The examiners never see you and don’t know who you are. You could be a high school student or a college professor.

“You will know exactly what will happen at the exam. There are no surprises. All the procedures are spelled out in detail for all participants…

“The most important reason to become certified, of course, is that you will be a better organist and a better musician. The preparation will make you more skilled and confident. And the certificate will give you the respect of your employer and your peers, and a justified feeling of accomplishment.” (from the Guild’s Certification document)

To pursue certification, please contact Dennis E. Cook, Dean, at 609-345-7686 or


SouthEast Jersey Chapter Scholarship Program, and Musical Instruction and Services

Students who want to pursue organ studies as part of their college education may apply for a scholarship from the SouthEast Jersey Chapter. In addition, the Chapter provides scholarships for Members who wish to pursue organ studies with a Member instructor. For information on scholarship programs, please contact Dennis E. Cook, Dean, 609-345-7686,

The following SouthEast Jersey Chapter Members provide musical services and/or instruction.

John Gregory Bate: piano and organ

Helena Bew: piano

JoAnne G. Blackwelder: organ and piano
609-399-7767 (H, F), 917-626-0322,

Scott J. Breiner: organ, piano, and voice
609-399-6476, 917-822-8036,

Dennis E. Cook: organ instruction, pipe organ restoration and service

John Curtis: piano and voice


Contact Us

SouthEast Jersey Chapter Mailing Address

SouthEast Jersey Chapter AGO
Dennis E. Cook, Dean
54 South La Clede Place
Atlantic City, NJ 08401-5806


Chapter Board
– Dean: Dennis E. Cook 609-641-2330, 609-345-7686, 609-641-6555(F), (term expires July 2014)
– Sub-Dean: Eric Dolch 609-214-5818, 609-344-1040 ext 29, (term expires July 2014)
– Secretary: Joanne Blackwelder  609-399-7767 (term expires July 2014)
– Treasurer: George H. Grover 609-344-7770 (term expires July 2014)

Committee Chairpersons
– Professional Concerns: Richard Bew 609-884-7068,
– Education: Mary K. Snyder 609-425-4084,
– Placement: Helena Bew 609-884-7068, 609-425-8112 (C)

– Joseph Rohr  609-965-4098 (term expires July 2016)

– Chaplain: The Reverend Father C. Thomas Myers


Boardwalk Pipes (Atlantic City)

AGO National website