Ask Aunt Wilma

Dr. Wilma Jensen has been heralded as an outstanding recitalist, church musician and teacher. As Professor of Organ at Indiana University, among other schools, she has helped shape a generation of outstanding organists. Wilma will be honored at the 2016 Recital and Gala Benefit Reception on April 8, 2016, where she will receive the AGO Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist Award. Learn more Aunt Wilma will answer user-submitted questions in her new monthly online column. Please enjoy the first installment below! Dear Aunt Wilma, In the Brahms Chorale #10 "My heart is filled with longing" in A Minor, how can the player keep the music interesting with the constant 8th note repetition in the left hand? Have further questions or … [Read more...]

November 2015 TAO Feature Article

Christ the King Catholic Church, Dallas, TX Juget-Sinclair Organbuilders, Montreal, Quebec By Stephen Sinclair An organ project is, by its nature, a long process—it can be helpful for organbuilders to reflect on the beginning once we’ve reached the end. We might forget, for example, that the project at Christ the King in Dallas was, for all intents and purposes, dead in the water for more than a year, for lack of a solution to the conundrum of how to successfully build a mechanical-action instrument out-of-chambers, without placing any weight on the balcony itself, or reducing space for the choir. It wasn’t an aha moment that led us to a solution. It was more a case of the elimination of doubt—as crazy as it seemed, we could see no … [Read more...]

Meet the 2016 AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition Winner

Michael Gilbertson has been awarded the 2016 AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition. The biennial award comes with a $2,000 cash award, publication by ECS Publishing, and a premiere performance at the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston, Texas. More information on the award is available here: AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition … [Read more...]

October 2015 TAO Feature Article

St. John's Seminary, Brighton, MA Andover Organ Company, Lawrence, MA By Matthew M. Bellocchio When renovating a historic building, it is often necessary to strike a balance between preserving the original fabric and updating it to suit modern needs. When renovating century-old American organs, similar choices must often be made. A conservative restoration is the logical decision for an exemplary work by an important builder or a small organ in a rural church with modest musical requirements. But an aging instrument with unreliable mechanisms and limited tonal resources, in an active church or institution with a professional music program, requires a careful assessment of each of its existing components. This was the case with the … [Read more...]

October 2015 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region Waterbury, CT June 7, the annual picnic and meeting was held at the home of Bill and Jean Degan in Bristol. Alan Rodi was thanked for his work as dean. • Aug. 1, the chapter sponsored a Pedals, Pipes, & Pizza pro­gram, beginning at Bristol Baptist Church (1895 Gilbert & Butler tracker organ) and ending at St. Joseph Church in Bristol (1925/
1988 and 2006 Austin organs). All six attending students played each organ. The event was led by Chris Davenport and Bill Degan, who played Burton’s Rex: The King of Instruments and Behn­ke’s Variations on Kum Ba Yah for the students. —William Degan Binghamton, NY July 12, mem­bers Richard and Evelyn Van Auken played a recital of solo and duo-organ works … [Read more...]

August 2015 TAO Chapter News

New London County, CT May 15, members and friends gathered at St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich. Stephen Buzard, assistant organist at St. Thomas Church in New York City, played a stirring recital of "Organ Music for the Ascension" on the splendid Aeolian-Skinner organ. --Elizabeth Limkemann   Binghamton, N.Y. May 5, eight chapter members concluded their sixth and final semester of a class on organ literature taught by Jonathan Biggers, Edwin Link Professor of Organ and Harpsichord at Binghamton University. The course was designed to be a chronological survey of music written for the organ, coupled with the advancement of technical and tonal capabilities of the organ over the many centuries of its development. Of … [Read more...]

September 2015 TAO Feature Article

First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC Holtkamp Organ Company, Cleveland, OH By Richard Parsons The Land of the Blue Smoke. That is the name the Cherokee Indians gave to the high plateau in western North Carolina. Lying at an altitude of roughly 3,000 feet, it is surrounded by six peaks, all of which have altitudes greater than 6,000 feet. The highest is Mount Mitchell, which at 6,683 feet is the highest peak in the eastern United States. The plateau itself covers nearly 1,000 square miles. At its center is the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers. Near this confluence is Asheville, North Carolina. The first European settlers in the area arrived in 1784. First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1794, was known as … [Read more...]

Northwest Indiana 2015 POE

The Northwest Indiana Chapter of AGO, along with the Valparaiso University Student AGO Chapter held its first Pipe Organ Encounter July 5-10, 2015, on the campus of Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.  Valparaiso’s campus, with 8 pipe organs on campus made for a good and accessible site.  During the week there were thirty-two students in attendance, sixteen faculty, six college counselors, five committee members, and ten volunteers.  Several students had never had an organ lesson before the POE, while one student was attending her fourth POE.  The students were from California, Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, as well as most Midwestern states.  Guest faculty included Craig Cramer from the University of Notre Dame, Janette … [Read more...]

Take the AGO Service Playing Exam & Boost Your Career

The Service Playing Certificate is recognized by many churches and employers as a guarantee of proficiency at the organ and brings organists many professional benefits. The test is entirely practical, and the required skills come into play at the worship service(s) you play each week. To help candidates prepare for the test, The AGO Certification Committee has developed the Service Playing Test Study Guide ($20) as an educational resource for service playing candidates. The study guide is almost 60 pages in length and comes with a CD containing musical examples. Ready to increase your expertise and skills at the organ? … [Read more...]

John Scott 1956 – 2015

The AGO joins St. Thomas Church and the world-wide organ community in mourning the sudden passing of John Scott. John had just completed a successful European tour. He died at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City on August 11. John served as Organist and Director of Music of Saint Thomas Church and Choir School since 2004. He previously served at Saint Paul’s Cathedral for 26 years. He was born in 1956 and is a graduate of Saint John’s College, Cambridge. In addition to his beloved wife, Lily, he is survived by two children, Emma and Alex, and two sisters, Judith and Helen. The Solemn Funeral Liturgy will be held on Saturday, September 12 at 11am at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and will be sung by the Saint Thomas Choir of Men … [Read more...]