Southwest New Jersey

Last updated: April 13, 2014 at 19:01 pm

Message from the Dean 

April, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

During the past six months, while I’ve served as Dean of our Chapter, many exciting and varied programs have been given by Chapter members. I have enjoyed and appreciated every program that I have been able to attend. On Sunday, March 2, the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, I was privileged to attend a program put together by former Chapter Dean Lawrence DePasquale at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Haddon Heights. The full title of the program was God is Our Refuge and Strength: A festival of hymns and eucharist. The purpose of the program was to raise money to benefit Philippine victims from the terribly destructive typhoon the island recently experienced.

This service brought joy to my heart for at least three reasons, the first being that its main purpose was to help people in desperate need who live half a world away. The second reason was the glorious music which was performed by the choir, organ, piano and brass. Choir members were drawn from St. Stephen’s Choir, Woodbury (Lawrence DePasquale, Director) and the First United Methodist Church of Moorestown (Glenn Rodgers, Director). The organ and piano were played by two former St. Mary’s organists, Larry DePasquale and Donna Banes, while local brass players added much to the majestic music performed in the service. The third reason the service brought so much joy is that St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, with its beautiful organ, is again going to host concerts, recitals and various types of services, after a period of years where it did not host any type of musical event. This news is indeed good!

Thanks also to The Rev. Dr. William Noble, Priest-in-Charge, Thomas O’Connor, Senior Warden of St. Mary’s, The Rev. John Sosnowski, Canon to the Ordinary, The Episcopal Diocese of NJ, and The Southwestern Mission Cluster of Parishes, NJ Synod Evangelical Church in America for their support of this event.

Charlene T. Cranmer – Dean

ORGAN AVAILABLE FREE- Allen Theater Organ, model 432C, 2 manuals and separate Leslie flute cabinet and Gyro cabinet, will be given to any church or individual who can transport from Bridgeton, NJ. For further info contact A. Bretnall at 856-455-4732.


Saturday, September 21, 8:30 am – Fall Workshops at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Cherry Hill

Sunday, October 27, 4 pm – Guild Service, followed by Annual Clergy-Musician Dinner, at Pitman Presbyterian Church

Saturday, November 23, 10 am – Master Class with Ken Cowan, at Haddonfield United Methodist Church

Sunday, November 24, 7 pm – Ken Cowan in Recital, at Haddonfield Methodist Church

Saturday, January 18, 8:30-4 – January Jump Start Workshops, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA

Friday, January 24 – Potluck Supper at Gail Gassaway’s home, West Deptford

Friday, February 21, 7 pm – Repertoire Workshop, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Merchantville

Sunday, March 9, 7 pm – Organ-Violin Concert by Sven-Ingvert Mikkelsen & Jochen Brusch, at First Presbyterian Church, Moorestown

Saturday, April 26 10 am- Pedals, Pipes and Pizza (Haddon Heights – St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and St. Rose of Lima)

Sunday, May 18, 4 pm – Annual Members’ Recital at St. Mary’s Episcopal, Haddon Heights

Sunday, July 13, 4 pm – Annual Picnic and Meeting, at The Parkhurst Family residence

NOTICE IN PERPETUITY Trinity Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, wrongfully terminated a member of the American Guild of Organists on November 23, 2010, for which no resolution has been reached. When an Institution is found to have wrongfully terminated a Member of the AGO, no Guild Member, individually or collectively, may serve that Institution as an employee or independent contractor, in an interim, temporary, substitute, regular or permanent capacity beyond a 90-day period following the date of this finding, that is, May 13, 2011.

CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE We have Chapter Scholarships available for persons interested in learning to play the organ. The Scholarship provides 14 free lessons for any pianist who is at an Intermediate level of pianistic ability. Members who teach piano may have a student who would be interested. For information contact Chair of Scholarship Committee Vernon Williams (856-235-0811;


Local Events

Wednesday, April 23rd, 7 pm – Villanova PA  Christopher Daly will play a recital on the Patrick J. Murphy organ at The Church of St. Thomas of Villanova on the campus of Villanova University.  (800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA).  Selections of the music of Buxtehude, J-A Guilain, Bach, Elgar, and Vierne will be performed.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome!

Sunday, April 27, 4 pm Swarthmore PA Southeastern PA AGO Chapter is offering an unusual and engaging program entitled “The Instruments Your Stop Knobs Are Named For.” We’re having three specialists come up from Virginia to demonstrate their renaissance instruments while the organ in Swarthmore will be used to show how the sounds have been imitated. At Swarthmore United Methodist Church in Swarthmore, PA, 129 Park Ave. The UMC instrument has a variety of stops that relate to the instruments that will be demonstrated, so it will be an ideal pairing.

Friday, May 2, 8 pm – Kennett Square, PA Longwood Gardens presents Benjamin Sheen, winner at age 23 of first prize in the first Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition in June 2013. Sheen is a student of Paul Jacobs at Juilliard School and a graduate of Oxford University. $25, at

Sunday, May 4th, 4:00PM – Deerfield: a virtuoso piano recital by Cuban American pianist, Erikson Rojas, at Deerfield Presbyterian Church, 530 Old Deerfield Pike, Deerfield Street, NJ. Free admission, Freewill offering, Meet-the-artist reception to follow. More information at

Sunday, May 4, 7:30 pm – Moorestown Great English Choral Works, including RutterRequiem, Whitburn Son of God Mass and Vaughan Williams The Old Hundredth. Choirs plus West Jersey Chamber Symphony, at First Presbyterian Church, 101 Bridgeboro Road. Freewill offering; 856-235-1688.

Sunday, May 18, 3 pm – Riverton Organ/Piano Recital by Mark Cole at Christ Church, Riverton, NJ, 305 Main Street, with guest cellist Stacey De Bernardo, and the Riverton Brass Group. Works for organ by: Phillips, Sweelinck, Lubeck, Langlais, Widor, Bedard, and Peeters. Works for piano by, Poulenc, Schumann, Lanz, Story, and Schmidt. Freewill offering; for more info call 717-343-2700.

Sunday, May 18, 3 pm – Woodstown “Music In Bloom” at the Woodstown Presbyterian Church, 46 Auburn Road, Woodstown NJ, featuring the choral ensembles with instrumentalists of Woodstown High School, under the direction of Kahlil Gunther. Sponsored by “Music Around the County”/Salem County Arts Alliance. Admission is free. Church is handicapped accessible. For further information contact Joanne Owen at 856-769-3212.

Sunday, May 18, 3 pm – Moorestown An Afternoon of Music with Ron Matthews, composer and performer, and Glenn Rodgers, organ and Piano; at First United Methodist Church, Camden Ave. & Pleasant Valley Road. A delightful program featuring organ, piano, trumpet and singing.

Sunday, May 18, 5 pm – Pitman Jazz Vespers: Pitman HS Jazz Ensemble – offering proceeds benefit the Pitman Food Pantry. We are delighted to welcome “Pitman’s Own” back for jazz vespers with us. Come and be captivated by these talented young players, under the direction of Phil Verespy, At First Presbyterian Church, free.



CHAPTER EMERGENCY FUNDOur Chapter has begun the sponsorship of a fund to provide short-term emergency aid to Chapter members who find themselves temporarily in need of assistance. No dues money will be used for this aid, but tax-deductible contributions will be welcome at any time, and the free-will offering from this year’s Members’ Recital has been dedicated to this fund. A committee of three, consisting of the Dean, the Chair of Professional Concerns, and another member of that committee, will award aid as the need arises. Any Chapter member may recommend a member in good standing who, for reasons such as illness or unemployment, deserves our help, by contacting the Dean or the Chair of Professional Concerns. All cases of course will be confidential. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send your tax-deductible donation (made out to SWJersey Chapter AGO) to our Treasurer Gail Gassaway, marked for “Musicians’ Emergency Fund.”

CHAPTER PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE– Our Professional Concerns Committee has published the first edition of the brochure SO YOU’RE THINKING OF HIRING A CHURCH MUSICIAN… Topics included are, Where to begin your search, the AGO Code of Ethics as applicable to hiring procedures, Formula for Determining Workload, as well as a Worksheet for Determining Workload, Job Description Form, Guidelines for the Interview and Audition, sample Working Agreements, and a copy of our latest edition of Guidelines for the Compensation of Church Musicians. These brochures will be sent by our Placement Director to all institutions listing positions in our publications and website; you may also request a copy from the Professional Concerns Committee Chairperson. Also available from the Professional Concerns Committee – “Guidelines for Compensation” (see below); Sample “Working Agreement for Church Musicians;” and “Copyright Law Simplified” (revised Sept. 2005).


Based on a response of 32% of the membership, the following recommendations represent reasonable expectations for compensation in our geographical area. (Topics of further interest, such as other forms of compensation, budgets, benefits, etc. will be posted in the coming weeks.) A printed version of the Guidelines is also available – please request your copy from The Professional Concerns Committee (see Contact Us below). The guidelines below are based on ONE SERVICE 52 weeks per year. For each additional Sunday service ADD 30% to the salary base. For weekday or Saturday services, and services of a different format, add $150 or more per service.

  • Organist only, no choir: (6 to 8 hours per week) With Private study – $7,200-7,800 With a Service Playing Certificate – $7,920-8,580 With Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $8,360-9,625 With Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $9,350-11,140 With Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $10,230-12,650
  • Organist OR Director, 1 choir: (7 to 15 hours per week) With private study – $8,750-11,100 With SPC – $9,625-11,210 Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $10,395-12,760 Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $12,210-14,410 Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $15,950-19,060
  • Organist OR Director, 2 choirs; OR Organist/Director, 1 choir: (14 to 22 hours per week) With private study – $10,400-14,500 With SPC – $11,440-15,950 Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $12,210-20,020 Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $13,200-21,560 Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $16,940-24,225
  • Organist OR Director, 3 choirs; OR Organist/Director, 2 choirs: (18 to 28 hours per week) $21,010-48,950 depending on nature of position and qualifications of musician.
  • Organist OR Director, 4 or more choirs; OR Organist/Director, 3 or more choirs: ( 40+ hours per week) $37,180-89,100; positions of this nature are full time and demand salary plus benefits, depending on the scope of the position and qualifications of the musician.

Pay for Substitutes: For a basic service consisting of one Sunday service and no choir rehearsal, the recommended fee is $150 per week. Additional contiguous services should command an additional $100 per service. Additional weekday or Saturday services should command an additional $150 per week. Non-contiguous rehearsals should command $75 per rehearsal. Long-term substitutes should be paid in accordance with the Guidelines above. When travel is a consideration, paying mileage is appropriate.

Pay for Weddings: The resident organist shall play for all weddings, memorial services and funerals in the employing institution. If the resident is unavailable, a substitute may be employed. If the resident organist is available but an outside organist is requested by the family, the church organist is entitled to the regular fee. Wedding service fee – $150 to $250, not including any rehearsals. Each rehearsal (whether with wedding party, soloist or instrumentalist) – $75 additional. A deposit of $50 paid in advance to reserve the wedding date is recommended. Funeral and memorial service fee: $150, or higher if local custom dictates.


Salary and Training by David Rhody, Member of the Professional Concerns Committee The survey elicited 35 responses, or 32% of our membership. The SWJAGO membership continues to include highly educated musicians with 71% possessing degrees in music. These degrees include SPC, CAGO, AAGO, ChM, FAGO, B.A., B.Mus., and M.Mus. According to the 2011-12 Membership Directory, professional certification numbers are the following: SPC-11, CAGO-5 (including 4 who list both CAGO and SPC), AAGO-3, FAGO-1. The 2012 survey shows a wide disparity of salaries, which range from zero to $83,000 per year. Approximately 10% choose to volunteer as organists and receive no compensation for their service. The trend appears to be that salaries are very gradually rising, although they are much below the compensation levels of other professions. Positions with the highest salaries are held by members with degrees in music. The results are as follows (gaps in the figures occur where no one reported a salary: Category…Salary…..Percent of answers A. 6-8 hours per week… $3,900-7,000……..17% B. 7-15 hours per week.. $10,555-30,000……11% C. 14-22 hours per week..$19,480-28,000……26% D. 18-28 hours per week..$21,000-40,641……14% E. 40+ hours per week….$26,520-83,000……14%

Benefits by David Rhody, Chair of Professional Concerns Committee Based on responses to our survey, four-fifths of our members (80%) now receive one or more fringe benefits in addition to salary as part of their compensation, the most common being paid vacation (80% of respondents)ranging from 2 to 6 1/2 weeks, the most common being 4 weeks; and compensation for continuing education (26%). Another 11% have professional dues paid by their employer, and almost a quarter also receive paid major medical insurance, dental plan and pension (23%). Most of those respondents with benefits are in salary categories B, C or D as listed above. Members should remember when negotiating with their employers that benefits are often an attractive alternative to a pay increase in the eyes of the employing institutions, since they may involve tax consequences favorable to the employer. Our Professional Concerns Committee offers a sample “Agreement between Musicians and Religious Institutions” which you are welcome to request from David Rhody, Chair (856-795-6735;

Weddings and Funerals; Demographics by Joyce Ann Routon, Member of Professional Concerns Committee

Wedding Fees- These fees have remained about the same as on our last survey four years ago, varying from $110 to $250, with the majority still receiving $150-200. $250 – 3 people $200 – 9 $175 – 3 $150 – 12 $100 – 21

Funeral Fees- These fees also remain about the same. Fifteen people receive $150 or more, while two donate their services. $200 – 1 person $175 – 1 $150 – 13 $125 – 5 $100 – 6 Services donated – 2

Rehearsals- Most of you who are paid for extra rehearsals still receive $50. $100 – 1 person $50 – 5 $40 – 1 $25 – 2

Substitute Fees- The lowest fees reported are at least $35 higher than four years ago, but the fees still vary widely, with most asking $150. $300 – 1 person $200 – 2 $175 – 2 $150 – 8 $130 – 1 $125 – 4 $100 – 4 $80 – 1

Extra Services- Only three reported being paid for extra services, the rest reporting that extra services are considered included in their annual salaries. $200 – 1 person $133 – 1 $50 – 1

Pay Increases- The majority either receive pay increases annually or not at any time recently.
Annually – 12 people
Every 2 years – 3
Every 5 years – 1
Varies with the Economy – 2
Not recently – 9

Job Description Changes- Most have remained the same; but of the ones who have changed, their duties have been expanded. One church has reduced the number of services from 2 to 1. Another person still plays the same number of services, but at two different churches that have merged.

Duties Expanded – 6
Duties Reduced – 1
Signed Contract or Working Agreement- The great majority have no contract or working agreement.
Contract – 8
Job Description – 7
Verbal Agreement – 1

Denominations- The survey showed six denominations responding, with the majority being Presbyterian or Episcopalian.
Presbyterian – 9
Episcopal – 8
Lutheran – 5
Catholic – 4
Methodist – 4
Baptist – 1

Size and Attendance of Churches- There is a huge variation in the sizes of the churches where you are employed. The churches range from 70 members to 3500, while the attendance shows 25 to 600. The average percentage of attendance ranges from about 13% to 95%, with most falling in the 30% to 50% range.

Type of Community Served- Most of you work in a suburban community.
Urban – 4 people
Suburban – 21
Semi-Rural – 1
Rural – 3

When asked about employment issues that could be addressed at a Chapter meeting which would benefit you, only two replied. One requested seasonal anthem-reading sessions. The other was a plea for a way to explain to clergy, lay people and non-musicians how much work is involved in preparation for services and rehearsals.



JOIN OUR CHAPTER TODAY — Regular Membership categories: Regular Voting Member – $92 Over 65, Under 21, Disabled – $67 Full-time Student – $37 Partner Voting Member (second member at same address) – $67 Dual Voting Member (Regular member of another chapter) – $36 Student Dual Member – $15 Chapter Friend (non-voting) – $36 Please contact our Registrar for further information (see Contact Us below)



POSITIONS AVAILABLE Reminder – although a position no longer appears, that does not necessarily mean it has been filled. You may reach Placement Director Peter Homon at 856-665-0149.

Salem NJ -Paid Soprano Chorister (section leader/soloist) wanted: St. John’s Episcopal Church 76 Market Street, Salem, NJ., to begin September 2014.  Sunday morning (9:00 AM) choir rehearsal and 10:30 AM Choral Eucharist liturgy.  Occasional extra rehearsals and liturgical services (Christmas Eve, Holy week, Evensongs, etc.)  Must be comfortable with and supportive of Episcopal liturgy and practice, and a “team player”.  Must be a very good sight-singer, with strong choral tone to which volunteer sopranos can blend; also capable of singing occasional solos.  For details and to schedule an audition contact Bill Clisham, Minister of Music, by phone (908-472-7597) or e-mail

Haddon Heights – First Presbyterian Church, organist/accompanist, 2 m Allen card-reader organ, position to begin in Jan. 2014, Thursday evening rehearsal, 1 Sunday service, 1 staff meeting, one Sunday off per month. Contact Leslie Clark at

The Cathedral Choir School of Delaware is seeking a skilled musician who will play the organ and assist with the accompaniment of the Cathedral Choir as led by the Artistic Director. This individual will work as a team member to build a nurturing choral community. The Cathedral Choir School of Delaware is a unique after-school program that combines professional choral training, piano and voice lessons, leadership development, academic tutoring, and one-on-one mentoring. Cathedral Choir School students sing as members of the Cathedral Choir where they perform alongside professional and semi-professional adult singers. Please send resume submissions to Arreon Harley, Artistic Director, via

Pitman – St. James Lutheran, O/D, 2m 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.)

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chews Landing, NJ is seeking a part time organist. Duties include one Sunday service at 10AM and Wednesday evening rehearsal with the choir. Additional services include Christmas Eve, the annual Ecumenical Choir service in January, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter. Four paid Sundays off during the summer. Weddings and Funerals are available at additional pay. 4-rank 2-manual organ. Contact Rev. Margaret Sterchi at 856-227-3588 or email Trinity “Old Swedes” Episcopal Church, Swedesboro – O,1 service 9:30am on Sundays, Prelude, Postlude, service music, 4 hymns and some improvisation during Communion. We will supply the music. Hymns are selected by the clergy well in advance so sight reading is kept at a minimum. We pay the AGO rate. There is no formal choir, 2 services on Christmas Eve. We would consider taking two people to share the position and “spell” each other on a schedule. We are willing to consider a student. Contact Rev. Anne Wrede at

SUBSTITUTE LIST This list is published as a courtesy to chapter members. The AGO assumes no responsibility for the musicianship or reliability of substitutes. Substitutes who have passed AGO certification exams are so noted. If there is an error in your listing, please notify us so we can correct it. You may reach the Chapter Hotline at 856-665-0149.

Note–This is the official Substitute List of SouthWest Jersey Chapter, American Guild of Organists. It is administered by Peter Homon. Former member Fred Astmann’s placement services are not authorized by, or in any way affiliated with, this Chapter. SouthWest Jersey Chapter does not accept placement fees for services.

These musicians are available on Sundays and also for weddings and funerals other days:

Miriam Bisbing 856-627-9434 (Sicklerville) April through November only
Marion Constable 609-324-7862 (Columbus)
John Dow 856-327-1739 (Millville)
Anthony Falatico 856-854-9373 (Collingswood)-
Sheila Huff 856-979-5513 (Mount Laurel)
Mary Johnson 856-332-8869 (Pine Hill)
Dr. Ted Kiefer 856-694-3693 (South Jersey area) Sunday services 8:00 or
Carol McDaniel 856-428-0911 (Haddonfield) substitute organist and director
Nancy McLoud 856-667-6127 (Maple Shade)
George Mitchell 856-795-0970 (Cherry Hill)
Irina Nenartovich, CAGO, SPC 856-321-3465 (Cherry Hill)
CathyO’Neill 856-589-0192 (Sewell and vicinity)
Joanne Owen 856-769-3212 (Woodstown)
Kathleen White 609-267-3349 (Hainesport)

These substitutes are available for weddings and funerals or Saturday work only:

Evelyn Larter, CAGO 856-358-1112 (Elmer)

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



Would you like to prepare for or take one of the exams for AGO certification?Contact Ruth Fink, education coordinator: (856)829-6604.

These members currently hold AGO certification, as listed in our Membership Directory:

Rae Ann Anderson, CAGO
Alice Brown, SPC
Helen C. Carrell, CAGO
Mark A. Cole, SPC
Charlene Cranmer, CAGO, SPC
Lawrence DePasquale, CAGO
Ruth O. Fink, AAGO, ChM
Ethel H. Geist, CAGO
Evelyn Larter, CAGO, SPC
Sister Emily McMullen, SPC
Irina Nenartovich, CAGO, SPC
Marilyn Rabbai, SPC
David L. Rhody, SPC
Glenn L. Rodgers, AAGO
Joyce Ann Routon, CAGO, SPC
Helen K. Taylor, AAGO
Dr. Harry Wilkinson, FAGO


Contact Us

DEAN: Charlene Cranmer, SPC 609-265-1601
SUB-DEAN and PROGRAM CHAIR: Jonathan Stark,
TREASURER and REGISTRAR: Gail A. Gassaway 856-848-6787
SECRETARY: Catherine O’Neill, 856-589-0192,
HISTORIAN: Miriam Bisbing 856-627-9434 CONCERT LISTINGS: fax (856)795-7166
PLACEMENT COORDINATOR: Peter Homon (856)665-0149
NOMINATIONS: Evelyn R. Larter, Chairperson
CARES & CONCERNS: Anthony Falatico (856-854-9373)
PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS: David Rhody, Chairperson
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Class of 2014 – Gae Finch, Joanne Owen, Ted Kiefer and Rob Hobgood Class of 2015 – William Clisham, Christopher Daly, Robert Parkhurst and David Rhody Class of 2016 – Robert E. Gladden Jr, Sr. Emily McMullen, William Mitchell, Stephen F. Obarski



Some of the world’s largest and most interesting organs are located in our area – here are a few of them:

Information concerning the Midmer-Losh organ in Atlantic City Convention Hall, including the newly published booklet “The Story of the World’s Largest Pipe Organ,” can be found at
For information on the large Hope-Jones Organ in the Ocean Grove Auditorium,
For the Wanamaker Organ at the Lord and Taylor Store in Philadelphia, see
The US Naval Academy Chapel, where our member Erik Meyer has been Assistant Organist, can be found at
And the Princeton University Chapel Mander Organ is featured at
Publications of the ORGAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY are available at
Compositions by ROBERT FARRELL for organ or choir are available free from the composer at

Links to other musical institutions in the area:

Westminster Choir College
The Philadelphia
The Curtis
The Bach Choir of
The Estey Pipe Organ (A Virtual Museum) is a new website devoted to the organs manufactured by the Estey Company in Brattleboro, VT, and may be found In addition to a listing of all opus numbers, the site includes hundreds of photographs of organs and the people connected with them. An on-going project, the site is always looking for additional materials about Estey pipe organs, especially those instruments which are still in existence. The site’s owner, Philip Stimmel, may be contacted by email at or by phone at 802-254-8470.

AGO National website