North Central: French Organ Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO! I hope everyone's new year is off to a great start. Here are some thoughts on organ music from France. The implications of the French Revolution and organ innovation by Cavaille-Coll are mentioned as two distinguishing forces that separate the earlier repertoire and instruments of the French Classic from their Romantic successors. A list of prominent composers from each period is also given. The French Classic instrument pictured is the 1714 Boizard organ at Abbaye Michel-en-Thierache, and the French Romantic instrument is the famous 1862 Cavaille-Coll organ at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Of all the national schools which comprise the organ’s literature, the contributions of France are among the … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Transitioning from Piano to Organ

Greetings from the Mid Atlantic AGOYO! Continuing in our series on transitioning from piano to organ, here is an article written by one of our board members, Peter Bayer, about pedal technique. The Pedal of the Organ is another keyboard like a manual, but instead of having two hands wherewith to play it, one has two feet. The two feet generally work best if they are treated as a unit, as if they were one hand with two fingers. The primary motion of the feet should be a pivoting motion from the heels, while the legs above the heels remain relaxed, only coming into motion in order to facilitate large movements. Therefore, good posture is of utmost importance for good pedal technique. The back must be straight, and one must sit … [Read more...]

West: Keeping up Skills During Less Busy Times of the Year

Hello from the West to all! I know we are all looking forward to the warm temperatures which summer brings. Have you stopped to consider, “What shall I do in the summer to keep up with my organ skills?” Well, here are a few options that may help you in your skill-keeping: There are summer conferences occurring which can help us in our upkeep. Of course, there is the AGO National Convention, being held in Kansas City, MO, from July 2 to July 6. Currently, until March 31, the price is $250.00. Visit http://www.agokc2018.com/ to find out more information. You could also compete in competitions, which should give you ample reason to practice. You can visit https://www.agohq.org/competitions-active/ to check out a listing of active … [Read more...]

January 2018 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region Waterbury, Conn. Oct. 14, the chapter held an anthem reading session. Several members brought some of their favorite choral anthems to share. They also accompanied and directed the choir, made up of the other participants plus some invited choir members from local churches. A wide variety of anthems was presented, and some were by local composers. Participants also received a listing of the anthems and ordering information. This event was held in the chancel of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Waterbury, where the grand piano, Austin chancel organ, and McManis gallery organ were all used. Registrar and Treasurer Michael Petruzzi coordinated the event. —William Degan Cape Cod and the Islands, Mass. The chapter held its … [Read more...]

February 2018 TAO Cover Feature

Shandon Presbyterian Church Columbia, South Carolina Lewtak Pipe Organ Builders by Tomasz Lewtak View an enlarged cover View the Stop List  Building a three-manual tracker instrument is exciting and challenging. In the case of Shandon Presbyterian Church, the greatest predicament stemmed from the limited space in which the sizable organ is placed. All 3,075 pipes, including the full-length 16'´reed and open 16' Contre Viole, had to be fitted within a 135- square-foot area. It nearly put us beyond our comfort zone, as we realize the importance of accessibility to all pipes and internal components. The solution came with many hours of creative design. The end result is tight, but comfortable. Rather than provide obvious … [Read more...]

AGO Announces Afffiliation with Vox Humana

The American Guild of Organists is pleased to announce their affiliation with Vox Humana, a new online journal that presents current ideas, trends, and research about the organ. Articles are published every two weeks by leading organists and scholars from around the globe. Visit Vox Humana. … [Read more...]

January 2018 TAO Cover Feature

Key to Pipe at the Speed of Light Grace Episcopal Church Hartford, Connecticut Schoenstein & Co. and Peterson Electro-Musical Products Inc. View an enlarged cover View the Stop List For generations, Grace Episcopal Church has held a well-deserved reputation for its traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgy and its fine music program headed by Kyle Swann, who is also lecturer in opera at Yale University. The church is quite small, seating only 112—a village church in the heart of a big city. It has a very pleasant, resonant acoustic; amid the grandeur of the ceremony, the setting seems spacious. However, space for the organ is another matter! Sixteen stops, 18 ranks was the absolute limit without encroaching upon already-tight space for … [Read more...]

Great Lakes: Managing Personal Finances as Freelancers/Part-timers

Hey everyone and Merry Christmas from the Great Lakes AGOYO Chapter! As wonderful (despite the stress of planning liturgies and extra concerts) as the season can be, it also has the potential to be a stressful mess financially with extra expenses like traveling home, gifts, and extra holiday parties - particularly if you earn your living as a freelance musician, which is at least partially the case with many organists. Despite its ominous title, this article has some interesting points (and very do-able, even on a limited budget) that not only can help you prevent finding yourself in financially tight spots, but also start planning for long terms goals, even if you aren't a freelance musician. Have a great Christmas everyone! The … [Read more...]

AGO Launches the American Guild of Organists Monograph Series

The American Guild of Organists is pleased to announce availability of J. Michael Barone and Pipedreams: The Organ and Public Radio. Barone created a unique presence for the organ on the airwaves, produced a trove of original and important recordings, and, 35 years ago, created the foremost organ-centered broadcast, Pipedreams. Future monographs in the series will include The Organ on Campus and The Making of a Virtuoso Organist. Download a free copy of this unique document or purchase a printed copy in the AGO online store. … [Read more...]

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO: Iberian Organ Music

This month we delve into the under-appreciated world of Iberian organ music from the late Renaissance and Baroque. The organs with their large arsenals of horizontal reeds provide a pleasing sight not only to our eyes, but to our ears as well. Composers also utilize the unique split keyboard design of Iberian organs to compose pieces that are not playable on other instruments of the same time. -Phillip Radtke Understudied and underappreciated, Iberian organ music and organs had the biggest impact during the 17th century while the Iberian Peninsula experienced a period of strong political power. Iberian organs were influenced by builders of France, the Netherlands and most of Europe. While the music was conservative it is distinctively … [Read more...]