Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: May 24, 2014 at 6:06 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


JUNE  1  Sun    

Trinity United Methodist Church
100 W. Front Street, Youngstown

June 8 Sun  

St. Columba Cathedral
159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown




June, 2014

SUMMER – 2017

The Youngstown Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) will host the Great Lakes Region bi-annual convention in the summer of 2017. (The regional conventions of the AGO occur on odd numbered years, while the national conventions occur on the even numbered years.)The Great Lakes Region contains the states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, but members of the AGO are free to attend any regional convention and are not limited to their geographic region. These conventions are 4-day events that regularly draw 300-500 members.

The Youngstown Chapter, in conjunction with local churches, colleges and Stambaugh Auditorium will offer guests 4 days of concerts and workshops. Many of the concerts will be open to the public.These conventions are educational opportunities for members of the AGO to learn, perform, hear great music performed by masters of the instrument, and connect with other members. The national leadership of the AGO visited Youngstown this winter and was impressed by our large collection of world-class pipe organs and venues, the architecture of our downtown churches and our beautiful facility at Stambaugh Auditorium. The Councilor for the Great Lakes Region deemed Youngstown “a city that our members need to experience.” The news of Youngstown successful bid for this major convention in the area of sacred music was announced on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

The Youngstown Chapter has 2 years to finalize plans for the convention, book venues and hire artists and lecturers. A major fundraising campaign will be announced by the end of the summer. It is the goal of the Youngstown Chapter to keep the cost of attending this convention very low by seeking underwriters in an attempt to entice more members of the AGO to attend by having a very attractive, low-cost registration.

If you have any questions regarding this exciting opportunity for Youngstown, please contact the convention coordinator, Adam Zagotti at Mr.Zagotti is Organist and Music Director at Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Youngstown, as well the sub-dean of the local chapter,and convention coordinator for 2017.


It doesn’t seem possible that the 2013-2014 program year of our Guild is coming to a close. What a year it has been!  We were all mesmerized by Paul Jacobs’ teaching and performance, thrilled by Ricardo Ramirez’s program of the works of Duruflé and awed by Robert Page’s continued zest for musical accuracy and perfection! Our Musician-Clergy dinner gave us opportunity for fellowship with each other and our clergy counterparts and our Member’s Recital at Christ Church was simply a stunning tribute to our long-time member Marianne Speicher.  Truly, it has been a wonderful year.  My personal thanks to all of you who helped make this year the success it has been.  It takes all of us working together to be able to provide such rewarding programs and workshops.

Our Sub-Dean, Adam Zagotti, presented a slate of programs for the upcoming year at the Annual Meeting.  Keep watching your newsletters for more information on the 2014-2015 year.  In addition, please make sure that you read Adam’s exciting announcement in this month’s newsletter.  We are going to begin working on an incredible and exciting venture in our Guild’s history!

Our May Annual Meeting at Johnny’s Restaurant in Boardman was a wonderful evening of good food and fellowship.  We elected new executive officers and said thank you to outgoing Executive Member Anita Gorman. Thank you Anita for your many years of leadership on the executive committee.  We welcomed incoming Executive Committee members: Sean Baran and returning member Nancy McNeal, and installed our entire guild board at the meeting.  I am looking forward to working with each of these individuals next year on another exciting year here in the Mahoning Valley!

In closing, I hope you take these summer months to rest and relax a bit.  I know many of you are already planning upcoming events in your own church’s liturgical life. I hope you take advantage of a class or workshop, a convention or conference to continue to broaden your horizons.  If you do happen to do some continuing education, please consider jotting down a reflection or two and submitting an article to our August or September newsletter.  It is always a great thing to network new ideas together!I leave you with the words of verse one of the hymn We Walk By Faith (SHANTI)
We walk by faith and not by sight;
with gracious words draw near,
O Christ who spoke as none e’er spoke:
“My peace be with you here.”

Have a peaceful, relaxing and rewarding summer!
Tim L. Elder, CAGO

Youngstown Chapter

2014 Annual Meeting

On Tuesday evening, May 20, 2014 the Youngstown Chapter of the American Guild of Organists held their annual dinner/meeting at Johnny’s Restaurant, Boardman.  Fifteen members, 2 friends and a guest attended. Each enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Following dinner Dean, Tim Elder called the meeting to order.  Minutes of the 2013 Annual Meeting presented by Secretary Gary Richards were approved.  Treasurer, Nancy Brescia presented the financial report as follows:
Total Income for the year          $5870.68
Total Expenses for the year         5574.11|
Balance for the year                 296.57
Savings Account Balance          $3993.87
Checking Account Balance        $1267.49

Nancy also reminded members that Membership dues will be paid ONLINE thru the National ONCARD. You will be receiving information in the next few weeks. If you do not have computers, she will get the information to you thru regular mail.

Sub-Dean, Adam Zagotti presented projected programs for the upcoming 2014-15 year: September: Pittsburgh Organ Crawl; October: Yun Kim organ recital at Trinity UMC; January: Pedals, Pipes and Pinot (an adult pipe organ encounter) Christ Episcopal, Warren; February: Student Member Recital at First Presbyterian, Youngstown; March: Thiel College Choir at St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown; April: TBA and May: Annual Meeting.

Mr. Zagotti also gave a presentation on the 2017 AGO Regional Convention which the Youngstown Chapter will host.  This will require participation of EVERY member of the chapter.  “Interest sheets” will be included in the June SOR. Please get on board and show your support.

Results of the Executive Committee elections were announced:  Sean Baran and Nancy McNeal will serve on the 2017 Class (3-year term).  Thirty-two people out of a possible 50 voted.  Elder thanked all those who placed their name in nomination and also thanked Dr. Anita Gorman for her 6-years of service on the Executive Committee.

Officers and members of the Executive Committee were installed.
Gary P. Richards, Secretary


Friday, August 1, 2014
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Pepper Choplin, Clinician
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
777 Aten Road, Coraoplis, PA
Early Registration by July 5, $49.95
Registration after July 5 $54.95

Monday/Tuesday, August 4-5
8:30-9:00 Registration – Free!
Robert Hobby and Jeremy Bankson, Clinicians
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
35 E. Stanton Avenue, Columbus
Augsburgfortress/ summer2014 music clinics

Saturday, August 9, 2014
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Larry Shackley, Clinician
Batelle Fine Arts Center, Otterbein University
195 W. Park Street, Westerville OH
Cost $20.00 (No pre-registration required beginning at 8:30 am)

Sacred Piano Reading Session – Free
2:00-4:30 pm
Stanton’s Sheet Music
330 South 4th Street, Columbus


Upcoming dates for your calendar!

Sept 28 Sun     JONATHAN RYAN, Organ        4:00 pm

Oct. 19 Sun     TODD WILSON, Organ                   2:00 pm
Silent Film “Speedy”

Apr. 12 Sun    DAVID HIGGS, Organ                     4:00 pm
          (Tentative date)

May 1 Fri  PETER RICHARD CONTE, Organ   8:00 pm
Silent Film, “The Kid”


Sunday, June 1  — 2:00 pm
Trinity United Methodist Church
100 W. Front Street, Youngstown
Prelude: Heroic Polonaise  - Frédéric Chopin
——Sean Baran, Pianist
O Come, Ye Servants of the Lord  - Christopher Tye
If Ye Love Me –  Thomas Tallis
Locus Iste  - Anton Bruckner
Cantique de Jean Racine – Gabriel Fauré
The Lamb – John Tavener
Village Wedding –  John Tavener
Offertory: Le banquet Céleste – Olivier Messiaen
—–Sean Baran, Organist
Verleih uns Frieden-  Felix Mendelssohn
I Sat Down – Edward Bairstow
Bogoroditse Devo – Sergei Rachmaninoff
Psalm 23 – Paul Bassler
God’s Gonna Set this World on Fire – Moses Hogan
He Never Failed Me Yet – Robert Ray
Postlude: Te Deum  - Charles Tournemire
—–Sean Baran, Organist

This concert is free and open to the public. A free-will
offering will be received to help fund Music at Trinity.

Adam Zagotti, Director of Music
Sean Baran, Assistant  Director of Music


Sunday, June 8 – 6:00 pm
St. Columba Cathedral
159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown
6:00 – Evening Prayer with the Cathedral Choir
Dr. Daniel Laginya, Director
6:45 – Music for cello & harp with Fr. Vit Fiala and Kirk Kupensky
7:30 – Strawberry Social in Cathedral Hall



Maria Fesz, a library student and local cellist prepared a report for our members about the David Craighead memorial collection of organ music at Duquesne University. Mr. Craighead was an adjunct instructor of organ at Duquesne and upon his death he left his library of music, original manuscripts and correspondences to the university. The collection contains music from many major composers as well as some original manuscripts of his own transcriptions and works that were composed for him. To access this information contact the archivist, Thomas White at 412-396-4870 or The collection is part of the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University- 600 Forbes ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Remember to bring a photo ID when visiting. If you have questions about the collection please contact Terra Merkey at 412-396-1542 or


Happy 475th Birthday, William Byrd!

William Byrd was born in 1540 or perhaps in 1543; the year 1539 is also offered as a possibility, and that is the year we have decided to use, because a 1539 birth makes William Byrd 475 years old in 2014.

He was born in London to William and Margery Byrd. We know little about his musical training, but he may have studied under Thomas Tallis at the Chapel Royal. In 1563 Byrd was appointed organist and master of choristers at Lincoln Cathedral, a post he kept until 1572. During his tenure at Lincoln, Byrd was cited for “certain matters” and had his salary suspended for a time. He may have indulged in too much polyphony for the locals, who were strongly influenced by Puritanism. During this period William Byrd married Julian Birley (September 14, 1568); they were to have seven children during their long marriage.

Byrd composed Anglican church music during this period, as well as keyboard works. In 1572 Byrd became Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, an important post that enabled him to continue to play the organ and to compose music and to be part of the royal court. With his friend and fellow composer Thomas Tallis, Byrd secured a patent for the printing of music and ruled music paper. Together they produced a publication titled Cantiones quae ab argumento sacrae vocantur, motets dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I. When the two lost money on the Cantiones, they asked Queen Elizabeth for aid.

Beginning in the 1570s, we find Byrd in the company of Catholics, and by 1584 his name began showing up on lists of recusants, those who did not attend Anglican services. For a period of time Byrd was suspended from membership in the Chapel Royal, and his house appeared on a search list. Scholars assert that after 1580 Byrd’s motets increasingly emphasized persecution and deliverance from persecution, two concerns of English Catholics of the period. Nevertheless, he continued to compose music for both Anglican and Catholic services. He also wrote songs, fourteen fantasias, and many keyboard compositions. His keyboard pieces in My Lady Nevell’s Booke, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, and Parthenia were “epochal,” and he was “the greatest keyboard composer of his time,” according to E. D. Mackerness (University of Sheffield). A number of William Byrd’s compositions are available online at

Thomas Morley, Byrd’s most illustrious student, called his teacher a person “never without reverence to be named of the musicians.” The great William Byrd, organist and composer, lived successfully in both the Anglican and Catholic worlds of his day in spite of the conflict between them, perhaps because, as William Congreve wrote in The Mourning Bride (1697):

 Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.     (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. .
Anthony Ruggiero. . .
Sean Baran. . .
Nancy McNeal



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

AGO National website