Southwest New Jersey

Last updated: November 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Message from the Dean 

November, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Have you ever felt that after playing the organ for many years (for some of us, many, many years!), you don’t have much energy left for new composers, new compositions and new interpretations for old compositions? I know that sometimes I feel that way! Last weekend, the Nathan Laube Master Class and Recital really gave me a jolt of inspiration and renewed commitment to the “art of the organ.” The Master Class, held at the First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield, featured four of our chapter members performing works by J.S. Bach, Fleury and Durufle. For each composition, Nathan Laube had fantastic ideas on registration and interpretation…..ideas that he backed up with detailed knowledge of the composers, the instruments for which the pieces were written, the compositions themselves, and a plethora of detail in order to evoke the right “flavor” of the piece.

The following evening Nathan played a recital at Haddonfield United Methodist Church, featuring a mixture of well-known and lesser-known works. Allegro from Symphonie pour Grand Orgue, Op. 42. No. 6 by Charles-Marie WIdor and Praeludium in e by Nicolas Bruhns in the first category and Concert Overture No. 1 in C minor by Alfred Hollins and Organ Sonata in C minor –Scherzetto by Percy Whitlock in the second. The latter two pieces were played as a tribute to Hollins and Whitlock-two organist/composers who had been very well known almost a century ago, but who are not as well-known today.

To conclude this column, I would like to publicly thank the all Chapter members and friends who made these events as successful as they were; Mary Johnson, Vicki Nichols, Jim Roman and Gregg Patruno for their fine performances at the Master Class, David Rhody and Ted Barr for hosting the Master Class at First Presbyterian Church, Joe Routon for his marvelous photographs, Wayne Richmond for hosting the recital at Haddonfield United Methodist Church, Cathy O’Neill and Anthony Falatico for the post-Master Class reception and Harriet Richmond and family for hosting the wonderful reception
after Nathan’s recital, and, of course, to all the members who attended the Master Class and Recital. Because of you, I am honored to serve as Dean of the SouthWest Jersey Chapter, American Guild of Organists!


Charlene T. Cranmer – Dean


Sunday, September 27, 4 pm – Guild Service and Organist-Clergy Dinner, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Cherry Hill

Saturday, October 18, 2 pm – Master Class by Nathan Laube at Haddonfield Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 19, 7 pm – Recital by Nathan Laube at Haddonfield Methodist Church

Friday, November 14, 7 pm – Choral Music Reading Session at Chews United Methodist Church, Glendora

Saturday, January 17, 8:30-4 – January Jump Start Workshops, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA

Friday, January 23, 6 pm – Potluck Supper at Gail Gassaway’s home, West Deptford

Sunday, March 1, 4 pm – Members’ Recital at First Presbyterian Church, Bridgeton

April, tba

Saturday, May 16 (time tba) – Using the Organ in a Blended Worship Style, Dr. Judy Congdon – Covenant Presbyterian Church, Cherry Hill

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

Thursday, November 6, 8 pm – Philadelphia Peter Richard Conte and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Buxtehude, Chaconne in E Minor and Symphonie Concertante, Jongen. Tickets from $30 at

Friday, November 7, 2 pm – Philadelphia Paul Jacobs and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Buxtehude, Chaconne in E Minor and Guilmant, Symphonie No. 1 for Organ and Orchestra. Tickets from $30 at

Saturday, November 8, 8 pm – Philadelphia Ken Cowan and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Buxtehude, Chaconne in E Minor, and Stephen Paulus, Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra. Tickets from $36.

Sunday, November 9 at 4:00 p.m. – Moorestown Choral Evensong, sung by The Trinity Choir, Vernon Williams, director; at Trinity Episcopal Church, 207 W. Main Street, Kevin O’Malia, organist. Music will include: Behold the Tabernacle of God ~ William Harris, Preces and Responses ~ Richard Ayleward, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B-flat ~ C. V. Stanford, And I Saw a New Heaven ~ Edgar Bainton, Stay With Us ~ Egil Hovland. Reception follows.

Saturday,November 15,7PM – Elmer MUSIC AROUND THE COUNTY PRESENTS Pictures & Pipes: The 1926 Silent Film Comedy “The General” starring Buster Keaton and featuring renowned theater organist Wayne Zimmerman. Elmer United Methodist Church, 21 South Main Street, Free Admission, Ample parking available.

Sunday, December 7, 4 pm – Burlington Candlelight Procession and Advent Lessons and Carols — The Choir of Saint Mary’s Church (Lee F. Milhous, Organist and Choirmaster) will sing Ord’s Adam Lay Ybounden, Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Oxley’s Linden Tree Carol, Adelmann’s Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, and Palestrina’s Matin and Vesper Responsory. The congregation will join in the singing of traditional Advent hymnody. Saint Mary’s peal of English Whitechapel tower bells will be rung beginning at 3:45 pm. At St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 145 West Broad Street; Reception Follows in the Guild House.

Sunday, January 11, 7:30 pm – Moorestown: Spirituals Concert, with Choristers, Chapel Choir, Adult Choir and soloists; at First Presbyterian Church, 101 Bridgeboro Road; freewill offering

Sunday, April 26, 7 pm – Moorestown: Youth Choir Concert, with Junior Choir, Choristers, Chapel Choir and West Jersey Chamber Symphony plus soloists, at First Presbyterian Church, 101 Bridgeboro Road; freewill offering

Sunday, May 17, 7:30 pm – Moorestown: J S Bach Festival Cantatas, featuring the West Jersey Symphony and Chorale and First Presbyterian Church Adult Choir; at First Presbyterian Church, 101 Bridgeboro Road; tickets $30, senior and student $15.



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.

Temple Lutheran, Pennsauken – O/D, 3m Rogers, 1service at 8:30, adult choir, contact Gary Milewski at 856-663-7783 or (7/14)

First Baptist, Moorestown, NJ – O/D, direct adult choir (18 voices) , coordinate several other ensembles, Thursday evening rehearsal, one 10:00 Sunday service, Rev. Linda Pepe, 856-235-1180. (7/14)

St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Camden – O/D, pipe instrument, adult choir rehearses Sunday mornings, 11:00 service. Contact Fr. E. Clements (6/14)

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)
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)
Lee F. Milhous 215-348-8872 (Burlington)

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