September 2015 TAO Feature Article

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 the "church at the mouth of the Swannanoa River" and was incorporated in 1797. Its first worship space was a … [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...]

Houston to Host the AGO 2016 Convention

The 2016 AGO National Convention will take place in Houston, TX and showcase vibrant performances, world-class instruments, enlightening workshops, creative new music and inspiring worship. You will have many opportunities to meet fellow musicians and create dynamic connections. Convention dates are June 19-23, 2016. Registration begins in October, 2015. Bookmark the convention website to keep up to date with all the news: Houston Convention 2016. … [Read more...]

August 2015 TAO Feature Article

Trinity Episcopal Church, Mobile, AL Goulding & Wood Organ Builders, Indianapolis, IN By Jason Overall Mobile, Alabama, saw severe, unusual weather on Christmas Day 2012, culminating in a destructive tornado. This Gulf Coast town, more accustomed to dealing with hurricanes, suddenly faced dealing with the precision damage unique to tornados. The storm's path led straight to the front doors of Trinity Episcopal Church, and the winds lifted the entire roof of the historic church building completely off the walls, setting it back at an angle. In the weeks that followed, the congregation struggled to recover from the emotional impact of the damage while also finding solace in the fact that, given the time of the storm, no one was in the … [Read more...]

Twenty three young musicians attend Pipe Organ Encounter in Wichita, KS

Twenty three young musicians, ages 13 through 17, from seven states attended a Pipe Organ Encounter in Wichita, Kansas, on June 14-19, 2015. The event was centered at Wichita State University with housing in the new Shocker Hall residence facility with classes, performances and workshops at various locations around Wichita State. Each morning the campers traveled to area churches for their daily lessons and practice times on a variety of organs throughout the city. The afternoons were filled with faculty recitals and workshops, more practice time, tours and recreation. Each evening featured a performance by faculty members, including a hymn festival on Wednesday. Faculty members included Tate Addis, recent Yale University graduate; Dr. … [Read more...]

July 2015 TAO Feature Article

United Church, Canandaigua, NY Parsons Pipe Organ Builders, Canandaigua, NY By Richard Parsons History Located in Upstate New York’s picturesque Finger Lakes region, United Church is situated in the heart of Canandaigua’s downtown historic district. The church was built in 1871 and dedicated in 1872 to house the newly formed First Presbyterian Church of Canandaigua. Constructed in the eclectic style of religious architecture common to the latter part of the 19th century, the edifice features a charming blend of Romanesque and Gothic Revival influences. On December 13, 1942, the neighboring First Baptist Church of Canandaigua was totally destroyed by fire. In 1947, First Presbyterian suggested that the two churches worship jointly … [Read more...]

Call for Nominations for the 2016-2018 National Council

The AGO National Nominating Committee is responsible for preparing a slate of 14 candidates for the seven positions on the 2016-2018 National Council. In an effort to identify the most talented and dedicated leaders of the Guild, the committee seeks names of potential candidates from all Guild members. Please review the committee’s "Call for Nominations" below and take a few moments to assist the committee in its work either by offering to serve the Guild yourself or recommending one or more colleagues for Council positions. —James Thomashower, Executive Director American Guild of Organists … [Read more...]

2015 Spreckels Organ Society & AGO Competition Held

The annual San Diego AGO/Spreckels Organ Society scholarship auditions were held recently in San Diego. Congratulations to young organists Miranda Kaack, Reiley Fleischbein, John Yokoyama, Suzy Webster, Lauren A., Margaret Campbell, Alex Kramer, and Vincent Pham for presenting an excellent concert on May 31. Robert Lang’s photos of the concert can be seen here. … [Read more...]