Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 8:14 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


22 Fri      PAUL JACOBS, Organ                                 7:30 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church
2040 Washington Rd, Pittsburgh, PA

13 Sat     CHRISTIAN LANE, Organ                         1:30 pm
Associate Organist, Harvard University
Ford Chapel, Allegheny College
Meadville, PA

21 Sun    NATHAN LAUBE, Organ                            4:00 pm
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
1361 W. Market Street, Akron

21Sun     ORGAN DUET PROGRAM                        4:00 pm
Mark Thewes & Chad Pittman
Church of the Savior United Methodist
120 Cleveland Avenue SW , Canton

28 Sun    JONATHAN RYAN, Organ                         4:00 pm
Stambaugh Organ Series
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

28 Sun    PHILLIP THOMSON, Piano                       5:00 pm
Five at Five Series
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1250 W. Exchange, Akron





August, 2014


I write this hoping that your summer has been restful and relaxing!  It does not seem possible that we will soon be back into the thick of things within our own parishes.

If anyone has attended a workshop, conference, convention etc., we would love to hear about it!  Jot down a few comments about your experience and forward them to our Stop-Open-Reed editor Gary Richards.  I’m sure he would welcome articles to include in our newsletter.

By this time, I’m sure most of you have heard that Youngstown has been selected to host the 2017 Regional Convention.  This is an exciting time for us as a Guild!  We will need all of your support and assistance to make this conference a huge success.  All of you should have received a mailing from our sub-dean (and conference chairman) Adam Zagotti asking for your assistance.  If you did not receive a survey sheet-please contact him as soon as possible.  If you did receive this form and have not yet returned it to him, please consider the areas you can help us make Regional 2017 one of the most remarkable ever!

The ONCARD process for membership collection is well under way.  If you haven’t renewed your membership through National headquarters, please do so.  With any new change brings unforeseen glitches.  Our membership directories may be delayed just a bit due to getting the needed information from National’s database. Please be patient with us as we continue to gather the needed information to produce our directories.

Our 2014-15 program year begins on Saturday, September 13 with an Organ Crawl of a number of Pittsburgh venues.    Mark your calendars now to join us that day.  Our September newsletter will have more concrete plans outlined.  Sub-Dean Adam Zagotti has planned a number of exciting recitals, programs and outings for us this year.  Please plan to attend as many of our meetings as you are able.

I leave you with the words of verse one from the hymn Alleluia! Voices Raise (PRINCETON) May the rest of your summer be happy!
Alleluia! Voices raise,
sounding God Almighty’s praise.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Hither bring in one consent
hear and voice and instrument.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Tim L. Elder, Dean

Executive Committee Update

Anthony Ruggiero has accepted the position as organist-director of music at Blessed Sacrament Church, Oakland Park, FL.  Susanne Mayerchak (who was next in line from the spring elections) has agreed to serve out the last two years of Anthony’s term on the Executive Committee.


Congratulations to Sean Baran who graduated with a Master of Music Degree from YSU in June. Sean was also selected to be a pianist at the Zodiac Music Festival in Verdeblore, France (the Riviera) in July.


The 2014 National Convention of the AGO in Boston, MA was, as always, a wonderful chance to renew the musical spirit within all of the attendees. Many wonderful performances highlighted the week, including: Evening Prayer at Church of the Advent, The National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance at Harvard Memorial Church, James David Christie with the Boston Landmark’s Orchestra and others. I was greatly impressed by the closing concert. The Saint Cecilia Series endowed by the late Marianne Webb. The technique and musicianship demonstrated by Stephan Tharp proved that he is among the very best of the best. The keyboard and pedal technique demonstrated in Mr. Tharp’s transcription of “The Rite Of Spring” would have been nothing more than a dog-and-pony-show if it were not for the incredible skill shown with sensitive registration changes to reflect the music of the orchestra he was imitating. This, to me, was one of the most exciting demonstrations of musical skills that I have ever experienced.

Having said all of that, this convention was not without issues. Compared to the previous two national and two regional conventions that I have attended, this one felt the most unsettled. A sense of disorganization pervaded the week. Directions from venue to venue were often unclear, the program book itself was divided into multiple volumes, one for each day with a separate volume for the venues and organs. I disliked the program book immensely. There was even one recitalist whose playing was falling apart so badly that I, and many others left. I have never heard a performance of such low caliber at a regional or national convention before.

Master classes conducted by Bruce Neswick and Craig Cramer were fantastic. Dr. Cramer is a wonderful teacher and an astute pedagogue. Many of workshops dotted the week, all-in-all the workshops were great. During the Annual Meeting of Region V (Great Lakes Region) I made a brief presentation on the planning of our 2017 convention. Many thanks to Kathy Miller for coming to the meeting!

Adam Zagotti, Sub-Dean

                           STAMBAUGH ORGAN SERIES
                           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

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


2014 Fall  Programs

Sat., Sept 13 Pittsburgh Organ Crawl    8:30 AM
St. Paul Cathedral, Heinz Chapel, East Liberty
Presbyterian and Calvary Episcopal.
Lunch during the Crawl

Sun., Oct. 26   Yun Kim, Organist            2:00 pm
Co-sponsored with Trinity Methodist Church
Trinity United Methodist Church, Youngstown

Mon., Nov. 3   Al Fedak Workshop           7:00 pm
          St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown

December             No Meeting


Happy 360th Birthday, Vincent Lübeck!

During the Baroque period, many musicians were born into families of musicians and continued the family vocation. Vincent Lübeck, born in Padingbuttel, north of Bremen, sometime in September 1654, had a father of the same name who worked as an organist. No doubt our Vincent Lübeck was taught by his father, and, probably, by Andreas Kneller. When he was twenty-one, Vincent became organist at Saints Cosmae et Damiani in Stade. Vincent followed the local custom of marrying the daughter of the previous organist; we hope that the arrangement was palatable to young Lübeck. In November 1693 Lübeck produced two cantatas commissioned by the Swedes in memory of Denmark’s Ulrike Eleonora. He worked hard and achieved considerable renown as a teacher, organist, and organ consultant; the reward for all his hard work came in 1702 with the position of organist St. Nikolai, Hamburg. Not surprisingly in this period when nepotism apparently did not have a bad name, Lübeck’s son then inherited his father’s previous position at Stade.

For a time Hamburg had been an exhilarating place to play the organ and compose; it was the city of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Heinrich Scheidemann, Matthias Weckmann, Jacob Praetorius, and Johann Adam Reincken. However, by Lübeck’s time, the city was no longer an important musical center. Still, Lübeck was able to play on one of the world’s largest organs, with four manuals and sixty-seven stops, built by Arp Schnitger.

Lübeck played this great organ at St. Nikolai until he died in 1740. His son (also Vincent) became his assistant in 1735 and assumed his father’s position after the elder Lübeck’s death. Though well-known and praised in his lifetime, Lübeck’s work was quickly forgotten. In 1921 a new edition of his work was published. Only nine of his organ works survive. Hugh McLean, writing in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, concludes, “Yet even these few [works] abundantly demonstrate the commanding position he occupied, together with Buxtehude and Bruhns, in north German organ music about 1700.”  (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