AGO Honors Cherry Rhodes & Ladd Thomas at Glendale, California Gala

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) presented its twelfth annual Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist Award Recital and Gala Benefit Reception honoring Cherry Rhodes and Ladd Thomas on Friday, April 17, at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale, California where Dr. Thomas has served as organist for 55 years. An audience of more than 500 colleagues, students, friends, and loved ones came together to celebrate the lifetime achievements of this dynamic musical couple. View a slideshow of photos of the Gala The Gala was sponsored by the AGO National Council and its Development Committee in cooperation with the First United Methodist Church of Glendale. The event raised approximately $60,000 to be invested in the AGO Endowment … [Read more...]

Southern Plains Chapter (OK) to host Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced and Pipe Organ Encounter-Technical

The Southern Plains Chapter in Oklahoma is hosting this year’s Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced and Pipe Organ Encounter-Technical. Some interesting things you may not know about Oklahoma and this year’s POE events there: - Faculty members for the POEA and POETech represent some the nation's leading collegiate organ teachers. - The University of Oklahoma is the largest college in the state with nearly 31,000 students. - Through its American Organ Institute, OU is the only educational institution to offer degree emphases in organ technology, available at the baccalaureate and master’s level. - Instruments at the University include the 1999 CB Fisk in Gothic Hall (with nearly 5 seconds of reverberation) and "Mini Mo," a portion of the … [Read more...]

Meet the 2015 NCOI Semifinalists

In December, 2014, twelve organists entered the 2015 competition. Working with a proctor, each competitor created a CD recording in January which was returned to AGO Headquarters in accordance with the procedure outlined in the rules. A panel of three judges, Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, Emma Lou Diemer, and Jason Roberts, reviewed the recordings (which remained anonymous) and selected five semifinalists. The upcoming semifinal round will be held in conjunction with the 2015 Southeast AGO Regional Convention in Charlotte on July 1, 2015 at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. By showcasing the art of improvisation at a regional convention, the NCOI committee hopes to build interest throughout the Guild for this … [Read more...]

AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists are Underway

The first round of the 2015 AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists has now ended. The competition begins at the chapter level; competitors may compete in any chapter competition held within the AGO region of their home or school. This year 27 chapters had AGO/Quimby RCYO events and those events are now over. The winners from those chapter events advance in turn to the final round, held concurrent with the seven Regional Conventions. The seven regional winners, the 2016 Rising Stars,  will play next year at the  AGO National Convention in Houston, TX. Meet the 2015 chapter winners in the RCYO section! … [Read more...]

Wilbur Held Dead at Age 100

Wilbur Held, a resident of Claremont, California, passed into life everlasting on March 24, 2015, at age 100. The AGO remembers with gratitude his service as a National Councillor (1968–1971) and dean of the Columbus (Ohio) Chapter. A celebration of his lifetime of music composition resulted in a Centenary Edition of his organ works, published by MorningStar Music in 2014. Wilbur Held was born on August 20, 1914, in Des Plaines, Illinois. He enrolled at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, studying organ with Frank van Dusen and theory/composition with John Palmer, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees there. Midway through his studies, he became Leo Sowerby’s assistant at St. James Church—an association that lasted … [Read more...]

AGO Welcomes a New Chapter

AGO President John Walker welcomed the Indiana, Pennsylvania Chapter to the Guild during the intermission of his recital on the Pogorzelski-Yankee Organ on Sunday, March 16, 2015, at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Christine Clewell, Professor of Music and chapter Dean, and Jonathan Petty, chapter Secretary, joined him on stage to receive the chapter’s charter. The recital included “Voluntary on the Old 100th” by Henry Purcell; “Toccata und Fugue in E-Dur” by Johann Krebs; “Concerto del Sigr. Meck” by Johann Walther; “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam, BWV 684” and “Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541” by J.S. Bach; “Sonata VI in D Minor” by Felix Mendelssohn; “Canon in B Minor” by Robert Schumann; and “Voluntary for Trumpet … [Read more...]

March 2015 TAO Feature Article

St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA Buzard Pipe Organ Builders, Champaign, IL by John-Paul Buzard It has been a high honor to design and build this organ for the Basilica Church of St. Vincent Archabbey. The new gallery organ of 51 stops and 72 ranks of pipes was installed beginning in July 2014 and completed in October. St. Vincent is home to the oldest American Benedictine abbey, a parish, seminary, and St. Vincent College, a coeducational four-year institution. In 1998, I recommended replacement of the organ previously installed in the basilica. Mechanical failure spelled its demise; but it was only 30% as large as necessary to fill the building with sound and provide a generous variety of tone colors and volume levels to meet the … [Read more...]

February 2015 TAO Feature Article

Two-Manual Organs in Liturgical Settings By David C. Pike Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of The American Organist As 21st-century organbuilders we face the question of how to maintain our work as desirable, central, and perhaps imperative to our greatest patron—the Church. At the Fisk workshop, organbuilding is firmly rooted in proven building practices of the past, even as we strive to create instruments that will ensure the pipe organ’s continued role as a vital and relevant part of modern-day Christian worship. Our belief is that sensitive contextual visual design, deftly conceived mechanical key action, and attentive, historically informed voicing will best serve the requirements of sacred … [Read more...]

January 2015 TAO Chapter News North Central Region

Central Iowa  September 29, chapter members gathered at St. John’s Lutheran Church for the year’s kickoff event. Members of the church provided a delicious homemade dinner, which was followed by the AGO Commissioning Service of Church Musicians. The chapter’s new dean, Michael Stefanek, and the Rev. Dr. Jackie Thompson presided over the service. The St. John’s Adult Handbell Choir provided the prelude and service music. Newly installed Sub-dean Mark Shultz played the hymns, while outgoing dean Ann Gerdom played the postlude. —David Raymond Twin Cities, MN  October 18, several chapter members and friends enjoyed a West Metro Organ Crawl/Exploration Day. The daylong event took place in beautiful weather with exquisite fall … [Read more...]

Pipe Organ Encounter Summer 2015

The Pipe Organ Encounter (POE), an educational program of the American Guild of Organists, is an introduction to the pipe organ through instruction in organ playing, repertoire, history, design, and construction. These regional summer organ music institutes for teenage students (aged 13-18) provide private and group instruction in service playing and solo repertoire, opportunities to learn about the musical heritage of various religious denominations, and a chance for young musicians to meet others with similar interests. This summer three types of Pipe Organ Encounter events are offered: the traditional Pipe Organ Encounter, for the keyboard student who is relatively new to the organ the Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced, for organ … [Read more...]