Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: June 10, 2015 at 8:39 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
7  Sun     ZAGOTTI GRADUATE PROGRAM          2:00 pm
Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren



June 2015


Our annual meeting at Station Square Restaurant was simply delightful.  Great food…great fellowship…and many of us were able to walk out of the meeting with music literature from our dear departed friend and colleague Marianne Speicher.  We heard reports from various committees, got an update about our Regional Convention and elected and installed new officers for our Guild.  In addition, Gary Richards passed out to those attending a data base list of choral music he compiled of titles available from the choral libraries of Bethlehem Lutheran and John Knox Presbyterian. Members who not in attendance, should have received an email of this list. THANK YOU GARY!!!! (This was a huge project for Gary to undertake and I can’t imagine how many hours it took him to complete it.) It truly was a wonderful evening!  We even survived the storm that blew through Liberty that evening (although I did hear that a couple of our members came home to some storm damage-which I pray was not extensive).  My thanks to our new Dean, Adam Zagotti, for making the appropriate arrangements and to all the good people at Station Square for their warm welcome and hospitality.

Congratulations to all those elected to offices and executive committee chairs at this meeting: Adam Zagotti as Dean, Mary Ann Bilas-Bush our new Sub-Dean and to Executive Committee members (Class of 2018) Anita Gorman and Larry Harris. Frank Behne was elected to fill Mary Ann’s remaining year on the Executive Committee as she begins her term as Sub-Dean. You are all in excellent hands as we begin to prepare for our 2017 Regional Convention! Please support them in any way you are able.

With the conference in mind, I ask that you seriously consider volunteering your time and talents to the success of this convention.  Adam and the members of the various committees will not be able to do this on their own.  It will take ALL of us assisting in any way we can to make this one of the best Regional Conventions ever! We all want to show the regional members of our Guild the beauty and hospitality that the Mahoning Valley has to offer.  In other words…..WE NEED YOUR HELP!  It may be something as small as handing out programs to a concert or workshop. It could be more substantial like being willing to sponsor an artist concert, reception or just donating a monetary contribution to help offset costs.  Any assistance to the success of this convention will be greatly appreciated!  Please consider offering your assistance.  Contact Adam Zagotti, Regional Conference Chair and new Dean, for more information.

This will be my last newsletter article as your Dean.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who helped make my tenure in this position a positive one.  Thank you to Officers Adam Zagotti, Nancy Brescia and Gary Richards who willingly and ably assisted me when I had a question or concern.  My thanks also to all the Executive Committee members: Sean Baran, Brad Bonam, Mary Ann Bilas-Bush, Susanne Mayerchak, Jeannine Morris, and Nancy McNeal for their willingness to serve in these positions. They each brought talents to our meetings which benefited the Guild greatly. Finally, I wish to give a huge thank you to all of you who performed, presented, hosted and/or attended our monthly meetings!  Your presence and participation in our monthly meetings is greatly appreciated!

I hope you take this summer time to rest, relax and enjoy.  Remember, if you attend a conference or workshop don’t forget to write a little review and send it to our newsletter editor Gary Richards for inclusion in our Stop-Open-Reed.  I hope to see you all next year at one of our monthly gatherings!

In closing, I leave you with the words to verse one and the refrain of We Are Called (WE ARE CALLED). Blessings to each and every one of you as you continue your music ministry.

Come! Live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom, to live in the freedom of the city of God.
We are called to act with justice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another,
to walk humbly with God.

Tim L. Elder, Dean

Youngstown Chapter
American Guild of Organists
2015 Annual Meeting

On Monday evening, May 10, 2015 the Youngstown Chapter of the American Guild of Organists held their annual dinner/meeting at Station Square Restaurant, Liberty. Twenty members, 2 friends and 2 guests attended. Each enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Following the dinner, Dean Tim Elder called the meeting to order. Minutes from the 2014 Annual Meeting were presented by secretary Gary Richards and approved.  Treasurer, Nancy Brescia presented the financial report:

Total Members 50 and Friends 7

Total Income for the year             $3,803.15
Total Expenses for the year            3,839.71
                                                                ( 36.56)

Savings Account Balance          $8,762.95
Checking Account Balance              965.13

Members were reminded to renew their membership dues with the ONCARD service through the National AGO.

Sub-Dean Adam Zagotti presented projected programs for the upcoming 2015-16 year: (September) Choral Reading Session led by Adam Zagotti at St. Catherine’s on the Lake; (October) Sean Baran, piano recital in Bliss Hall YSU; (November) Mary Ann Bilas-Bush, organ and Chris Krummel, trumpet; (December) No meeting; (January) Social Gathering to celebrate the New Year; (February) Dr. Richard Konzen, organ recital at St. John’s Episcopal, Youngstown; (March) No Meeting – Easter; (April) Langlais Anniversary Concert featuring Dr. Daniel Laginya and St. Columba Cathedral Choir; (May) Annual Meeting/Dinner.

Zagotti also made comments on the upcoming 2017 Regional Convention.  The program committee has been hard at work. We all must begin contacting sponsors, businesses to help financially support the convention. This is a Youngstown Chapter venture, everyone is needed to help make it a successful convention.

Gary Richards presented a listing of over 360 choral anthems which were cataloged from two closed churches, Bethlehem Lutheran and John Knox Presbyterian.  This music is available FREE to any church that is interested.

Results of the elections were announced: Mary Ann Bilas-Bush was elected as Sub-Dean (2015-2017).  Anita Gorman and Larry Harris were elected to the Executive Committee (2018).  Frank Behne will serve the last year of Mary Ann Bilas Bush’s term on the Executive Committee. Elder thanked Jeannine Morris and Brad Bonam for their service to the Executive Committee.

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


Monday/Tuesday – August 3 & 4
8:30-9:00 Registration
Anton Armstrong & John Ferguson, Clinicians
Gethsemane Lutheran church
35 E. Stanton Avenue, Columbus
Augsburgfortress/summe2015 music clinics

Friday, August 7
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Jean Anne Shafferman, Clinician
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
777 Aten Road, Coraoplis, PA
$49.95 Early Registration by July 11
Registration after July 11 $54.95

Saturday, August 8
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Joel Raney, Clinician
Battelle Fine Arts Center
Otterbein University
195 W. Park Street, Westerville OH
Cost $20.00

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


Adam Zagotti’s Graduate Choral Program will be held on Sunday, June 7 at 2:00 pm at Christ Episcopal Church, 2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren.
The program will include works of Victoria, Handel, McGlynn, Brahms, Praino (World Premier), Sir John Tavener and Hogan.
Plan to enjoy this special afternoon with us! 


Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown OH

Sun., Sept 20         ISABELLE DEMERS                     4:00 pm
Head of Organ Dept. Baylor University, Houston TX
International Concert Organist

Sun., Oct. 25         TODD WILSON, Organ                 4:00 pm
Silent Film Charlie Chaplin “Gold Rush”
Organist-Director of Music Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland
Head of the Organ Dept. Cleveland Institute of Music

Sun., Nov. 22        DOUGLAS CLEVELAND               4:00 pm
John Delo Faculty Fellow in Organ
University of Washington School of Music,
Seattle, Washington
Music Director at Plymouth Congregational Church
Seattle, Washington

Artist and Date TBA

Happy 355th Birthday, Johann Kuhnau!

Born to a pious Lutheran family and baptized on April 6, 1660 in Geising, Johann Kuhnau studied at Dresden’s Kreuzschule and sang in the Dresdener Kreuzchor. His teachers included Barthold Hering and Vincenzo Albrici. When the plague surfaced in Dresden, Kuhnau escaped to Zittau where he found work. A polyglot, Kuhnau studied Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, and Italian. A polymath, he also studied and practiced law, wrote poetry, wrote books and, of course, composed music. From 1701 until 1722 Kuhnau served as cantor of Leipzig’s Thomaskirche; his successor was Johann Sebastian Bach. “As Thomaskantor he reached the pinnacle of his career. He was exceptionally well qualified for the post, not only as a musician and composer but also as scholar, linguist and philosopher, and he carried out its heavy musical and teaching demands with distinction” (New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians).

A number of years Kuhnau endured both physical illness and professional frustration. The frustration happened when he found it more and more difficult to attract competent young singers to the Thomaskirche choir, because they were being seduced by the glamour of Leipzig’s opera. To add to Kuhnau’s woes, when Georg Philipp Telemann arrived in Leipzig in 1701 (he too was a law student), he set up a collegium musicum that also took away some of Kuhnau’s students. More frustration: the Leipzig mayor allowed Telemann to write music for the Thomaskirche.  Kuhnau could not have been happy to see his authority challenged so blatantly. There is more: In 1703, nineteen years before Kuhnau died, the town council asked Telemann to be Kuhnau’s successor, just in case his illness at the time proved fatal. As they sometimes say in Regency novels, this is the outside of enough! It may also serve as an argument for the separation of church and state.

Known as the inventor of the keyboard sonata, Kuhnau’s “reputation rests almost entirely on the four printed sets of keyboard pieces, especially the last of them, the Biblische Historien. This consists of six multi-movement ‘sonatas’, each prefaced by a prose description of a particular incident from the Old Testament illustrated in the music . . . Kuhnau emphasized in a learned and valuable preface that this type of programme music was not new, and he referred to models by Froberger and ‘other excellent authors’” (New Grove Dictionary).

Kuhnau’s novel, Der musicalische Quack-Salber, based on Christian Weise’s Politische Quacksalber, describes the life of a musical fake, a poorly trained musician who is a “musical charlatan.” Did some of his contemporaries see themselves in Kuhnau’s fiction? Perhaps.

Johann Kuhnau—organist, composer, choir director, lawyer, polyglot, poet, and novelist—died on June 5, 1722. Many of his surviving works are online. An English translation of Der musicalische Quack-Salber is available via OhioLine. (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: Adam Zagotti. . .
Sub-Dean: Mary Ann Bilas Bush . . .
Secretary: Gary P. Richards . . . .
Treasurer: Nancy Brescia. . . .

Newsletter editor: Gary Richards . . .

Executive Board Members 
Frank Behne III . . .
Susanne Mayerchak. .
Sean Baran. . .
Nancy McNeal
Anita Gorman . . .
Larry Harris . .



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

AGO National website