Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: October 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

Message from the Dean 


Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio, and to our local chapter of the American Guild of Organists web page. A chapter of 52 members, we serve Youngstown and its surrounding areas.

Our membership is not limited only to organists, but embraces all who enjoy and promote worship through music and song. Together we work to improve the quality of musical and liturgical performance within our community.

Annually, we provide a variety of educational programs to enrich our personal skills which are free to members and friends. These events include recitals, lectures, workshops, and choral presentations. Light refreshments follow the events for interaction among those in attendance. We have an exciting listing of upcoming events for March, April, and May. Please refer to our Events Section for details.

We encourage any musician from student to retiree to join us and enhance our endeavors towards achieving our motto: “Soli Deo Gloria.”


Local Events



2 Sun      STAMBAUGH CHORUS . . . 4:00 pm
Dr. Hae-Jong Lee, conductor
Westminster Presbyterian Church
119 Stadium Drive, Boardman
(joined by Chancel Choir of Westminster)
 Works of Handel, Mozart and Rutter

9 Sun      WARREN PHILHARMONIC . . . 3:00 pm
Susan Davenny Wyner, Conductor
 A Magic Bird – Family Concert
Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren

14 Fri      JONATHAN RUDY, Organ . . . 7:30 pm
NYACOP Organ Recital
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
1007 Superior -E. 9th, Cleveland

14 Fri      SIMON THOMAS JACOBS, Organ . . . 8:00 pm
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
50 N. Prospect, Akron

16 Sun SILENT FILM “STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.” . . . 7:00 pm
Clark Wilson, Organist
First United Methodist Church
200 West Fifth Street, East Liverpool

16 Sun    BOWLING GREEN MEN’S CHORUS . . . 4:00 pm
Fairlawn Lutheran Church
3415 W. Market Street, Akron

21 Fri      BACH BY CANDLELIGHT . . . 7:30 pm
Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Trinity Chamber Singers,   Trinity Cathedral Choir
and violinist Jinjoo Cho.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
2230 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
Tickets $25.00

1420 Oak Hill, Youngstown

Shadyside Presbyterian Church
5121 Westminster Place, Pittsburgh PA

St. Columba Cathedral
Dr. Daniel Laginya, Director of Music
159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown
Featuring motets of Poulenc


3 Wed    CAROLS & COCOA and DANA HOLIDAY CONCERT . . . 7:00 pm
Stambaugh Auditorium          $10 / $5
100 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

5 Fri        DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL CHOIR . . . 7:00 pm
(Boston, MA)
Cathedral of St. John
1007 Superior-E 9th, Cleveland

7 Sun      NATHAN LAUBE, Organ . . . 12:00 pm
St. Vitus Church
6019 Lausche, Cleveland
Holtkamp Restoration Project

7 Sun      MESSIAH – G.F. Handel . . .  4:00 & 7:00 pm
Warren Civic Chorus
Dr. Hae-Jong Lee, Director
Blessed Sacrament Church
3020 Reeves Road, Warren

7 Sun      WEST SHORE CHORALE . . . 7:30 pm
Fuller Sounds Bell Choir from Rocky River Methodist
Carmen Massaro, Director
John Drotleff, Musical Director
Carols and Choruses of Christmas
Magnificat Center for the Performing Arts
20770 Hilliard Boulevard, Rocky River

14 Sun    MASTER SINGERS, INC. . . . 4:00 pm
Christmas Concert
Fairlawn Lutheran Church
3415 W. Market Street, Akron

21 Sun    FESTIVAL OF LESSONS & CAROLS . . . 7:00 pm
Sung by the combined Episcopal Choirs of the area
Dr. Richard Konzen, Organ – Gary P. Richards, Director
Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street, Warren





November 2015

Al Fedak presents
Workshop for
Youngstown Chapter

Organist-composer Al Fedak will present a workshop for the Youngstown Chapter AGO on Monday, November 3 — 7:00 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Avenue, Youngstown.

Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, organist and composer Alfred V. Fedak attended the Pingry School and graduated from Hope College in 1975 with degrees in Organ Performance and Music History. He subsequently earned a Masters’ degree in Organ Performance from Montclair State University and has done additional study at Westminster Choir College (church music), Eastman School of Music (harpsichord continuo), the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria (music history), and in England at the first Cambridge Choral Studies Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge. His organ studies were with Prudence Curtis, Roger Davis, Roger Rietberg, and Jon Gillock. A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, Mr. Fedak also holds the Guild’s Choirmaster Certificate, and from 1995 to 2000 served as Director of the AGO’s national Professional Certification Committee. Since 1986 he has been a member of the guild’s national Board of Examiners: his own grade of 95% on the AGO’s Fellowship paperwork remains the highest score ever achieved on that demanding, seven-hour examination since the founding of the Guild in 1896.

A widely-published and well-known composer of church music, Mr. Fedak has over 200 choral and organ works in print, and more than 100 of his hymntunes appear in hymnals and collections throughout the US, Canada, England, Scotland, New Zealand, China and Japan. Four anthologies of his hymns have been published by Selah Publishing Company:The Alfred V. Fedak Hymnary (1990), Sing to the Lord No Threadbare Song (2001), God of the Future (2009), and Stones Unthrown (2014). A review of God of the Future in The Hymn (the  journal of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada) called Fedak “the finest composer of hymn tunes working today.”

Mr. Fedak has earned many awards in organ performance and composition, including the AGO’s prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award, as well as grants and prizes from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Hymn Society, and the John Ness Beck Foundation, and has received  ASCAP composition awards annually since 2001.

Recently called “one of the country’s leading church musicians” by The American Organist, Mr. Fedak has performed and lectured widely throughout the US, including at national and regional conferences of the AGO, the Organ Historical Society, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and the Hymn Society (of which he is a Life Member).

Mr. Fedak has served as organist and choir director for churches and synagogues in the East and Midwest. Since 1990 he has held the position of Minister of Music and Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, where he plays a recently-restored four-manual, 1929 E. M. Skinner pipe organ. In 2014 he was reappointed Organist/Choir Director of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, a position he had previously held from 1991 to 2001. He has taught organ and keyboard harmony at the College of St. Rose, and is now a member of the adjunct music faculty at Schenectady County Community College. Mr. Fedak is a Past Dean of the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and is Chapel Organist at Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, where he plays a 1970 two-manual tracker organ built and newly restored by Fritz Noack. He and his wife Susan are the parents of two grown sons: Peter and Benjamin.

The workshop is free and open to the public. For more information contact Adam Zagotti at


Sympathies are expressed to Frank Lynn and his wife Mary Ruth on the death of her mother, Virginia Williams, and to Karen Barr and her family on the death of her mother, Dorothy Barcikowski who died on Wednesday, October 15. Our prayers are with you and your families.



St. Patrick Parish to Host
Dedication Concert for donated organ

St. Patrick’s Church, 1420 Oak Hill., Youngstown will host a special concert on Sunday, November 23 at 2:00 pm to mark the dedication of the 86-year old organ donated to the parish last year by the congregation of John Knox Presbyterian, which closed last autumn.  The concert will be held at the church where attendees will experience the unique sound of the parish’s newly installed Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling organ, which was most recently rebuilt in the early 1990s.

The organ’s presence in Youngstown dates back to 1972, when South United Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Market Street and Delason Avenue, purchased it from the Cleveland-based Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling Organ Company. Built of oak and metal and featuring 28 ranks of pipes, the organ was first played on Christmas Eve 1927. Almost 30 years later, when South United Presbyterian Church merged with nearby Evergreen Presbyterian to form John Knox Presbyterian Church, the stately organ remained the centerpiece of the building’s interior.

Like many urban institutions, however, John Knox witnessed a period of decline starting in the 1960s—and by last November, it was apparent the church would close. At this point, Kris Harper, music director at St. Patrick Church, approached the task force charged with shutting down the edifice and inquired about the organ’s availability. Harper, who had served as an organist at John Knox in the early 1980s and 1990s was aware of the organ’s outstanding qualities; and he was overwhelmed when he learned that the congregation had agreed to donate the instrument to its South Side neighbor.

After John Knox’s final service the organ’s three heaviest components, which hold together its numerous pipes, were moved by Connell Incorporated, a local steel-erection company, to St. Patrick, where they were installed six months later. Jim Wakeford, project manager at Connell, recalled that the components ranged in weight from 700 to 900 pounds, and their placement in a balcony 20 feet above the main altar required the building of two scaffold towers and a trolley system.  “There were lots of volunteers on hand to help,” Wakeford recalled, adding that he was impressed by the parishioners’ participation.

Father Edward P. Noga, pastor at St. Patrick Church, described the organ’s arrival as the product of “a rather unbelievable series of events.” He noted that the organ is far superior to the parish’s former model, but added that “many adjustments and modifications had to be made to accommodate this beautiful instrument into our space.” Father Noga expressed appreciation to all of those involved in the project.

The concert on Sunday, November 23 will be free and open to the public. For further information, contact the parish office at 330.743.1109.



Monday 26th
An adult masterclass for local musicians
followed by a wine and cheese reception
Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren

First Presbyterian Church
201 Wick Avenue, Youngstown

Friday 27th  . . . TBA
Dr. Michael Bray, Director
St. Columba Cathedral
159 W. Rayen, Youngstown


with Akron & Canton Chapters
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown


Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
2230 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

Wednesdays at 12:10 pm

5              NEOVocE Vocal Ensemble,
Jennifer Cochran, Director

12            TOPS Big Band playing America’s songbook

19            Andrew Sords, Violin & Elizabeth DeMio, piano
                             In a program of encores & other musical bon-bons!

26            NO Concert – Thanksgiving Week


Sat., November 1 – 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Master Class with Dr. Roberta Gary
Master Class on body mapping.
Church of the Covenant
11205 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland


Saturday, November 8 – 10:30 am
Mark Thewes, presenter
St. Sebastian RC Church
476 Mull Avenue, Akron

Breakfast at the Eye Opener Restaurant
9:00 am
1688 W. Market Street, Akron
RSVP to Lynn Steward by Nov. 6



Organist CLARK WILSON will accompany the Buster Keaton silent film Steamboat Bill, Jr.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 7:00 pm
First United Methodist Church
200 West Fifth Street
East Liverpool, OH

Free Admission. Light refreshments served during intermission. Free-will offering.


Happy 350th Birthday, Johann Speth!

Johann (Johannes) Speth was born on November 9, 1664 in Speinshart, Upper Palatinate (Bavaria) to Heinrich and Margareta Speth. His father was a teacher. For a long time it was assumed that Johann studied music with Dominikus Lieblein, abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery in Speinshart; however, scholars now doubt that. Speth’s life remains a mystery until November 4, 1692 when he became organist at Augsburg Cathedral. In those days organists were also expected to be composers; the music that Speth submitted as part of the application for the cathedral position was later published as Ars magna Consoni et Dissoni. Johann Walther in 1732 asserted that Speth had compiled but not composed these pieces. Organist and musicologist Ingemar Melchersson contradicts Walther, concluding that Speth’s own reference to Italian and German masters “is probably only an expression of modesty. The highly unified musical facture clearly contradicts this claim.”

Speth left his position at the cathedral only two years after he began, and little is known about his further activities. Evidence exists that in 1705 he was employed in the office of the cathedral chapter. Further evidence shows that in 1719 he was still living in Augsburg with his wife and their maidservant. Johann Speth probably died in Augsburg circa 1720.

Speth’s only extant music is the Ars magna, originally published in 1650. A modern edition under the title Sämtliche Orgelwerke was published in two short volumes as part of the Doblngers Reihe Alter Musik (Doblinger’s Classical Music Series) in 2013. Ingemar Melchersson, editor, calls attention to the fact that the current edition is based on a 1693 engraving. Melchersson infers that the “sparse use or complete lack of rests” is “probably due to the original engraver simply overlooking them.” He concludes, “May this edition make another important work from southern German keyboard repertoire more widely available.” Amen.  (AG)

































2012-2013 Membership Fees

$97.00 Regular Member
$72.00 Special (Senior/Disabled,over 65)
$37.00 Student
$72.00 Partner/ Second Member
$38.00 Dual (indicate primary chapter)
$15.00 Student dual member
$15.00 Chapter Friend

A special feature that our chapter offers for first year members is a discounted membership fee of $57.

Contact Nancy Brescia at for a membership form.



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



The Youngstown Chapter AGO has a strong performance record when it comes to the guild exams: over one-third of the current membership holds at least one guild certificate. The requirements for professional certification appear in the July issue of “The American Organist.” The Service Playing exam can be taken in the Youngstown Chapter anytime before April 30, 2007; the Colleague exam can also be taken locally, on either May 11 or November 16, 2007. The Choir Master, Associate, and Fellowship exams are administered at nearby examination centers in Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Examination materials and repertoire are kept in the Cathedral Music Library and are available to chapter members. For further information, please contact Daniel Laginya, examination coordinator, at


Contact Us

Dean: Tim Elder
Sub-Dean: Adam Zagotti
Secretary: Gary P. Richards
Treasurer: Nancy Brescia

Newsletter editor: Gary Richards

Executive Board Members 
Bradley A. Bonam. .
Jeannine Morris. .
Mary Ann Bilas Bush. .
Susanne Mayerchak. .
Sean Baran. . .
Nancy McNeal



Hemry Pipe Organ Company
Kegg Organ Company
Schantz Organ Company
Youngstown State University Concert Series

AGO National website