Southeast: The Cost of a Career

Hello from the Southeast! This month, I blog about the biggest source of stress for college students, and how to alleviate it while pursuing a field you love. ​As a graduate student nearly finished with this chapter of my education  at Mississippi College, I often consider the stark numbers published in a recent issue of The American Organist regarding the number of organ performance majors in the country. It will not shock anyone to hear that the numbers have dropped each year. This results from a variety of factors, but I hope to address the most stressful aspect of life as an American college student, according to a recent study by Ohio State University: money. Of 19,000 students surveyed, 70% voiced tuition costs and day-to-day … [Read more...]

North Central: Focus on German Organ Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO, This month we are focusing on German Organ Music! This post will briefly discuss both the North and South German organ schools. Along with recordings, a few composers from each school will also be highlighted. Photo: The Trost organ of Waltershausen, with its 47 stops and 6 transmissions, is the biggest baroque organ in Thuringia. It is largely preserved in its original state of 1730 (a good 70% of the pipe material was built by Trost) and therefore is an invaluable reference when performing organ music by J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. Today this organ is viewed as the most authentic "Bach organ". ( German Organ Schools North German - organ preludes and chorale … [Read more...]

Southwest: How to Prepare for Interviews and Auditions

Greetings, friends! As part of the Southwest Region’s ongoing theme of professional development, I wanted to post today about an issue that many may consider an awkward topic: how to know when it’s time to leave. This is a bit of a difficult topic for some of us and it’s one that we often don’t even consider until we’re starting to wonder why we haven’t left yet. My goal is to get you thinking *now* about these things so that, if/when the day comes, you’ll be ready. A few weeks ago, I was looking through Facebook and noticed a post by an older gentleman asking for opinions on how one should know when it is time to “hang up your shoes.” There were several great responses in the comments that followed, but I was concerned at the lack … [Read more...]

West: 500th Anniversary of Reformation. What was its significance to music history

Good evening, and greetings from far away in the West! As many of us are aware, this year marks the 500th year since the traditional beginning of the Reformation. Although we may not all be celebrating it in our congregations, we must acknowledge the role that Martin Luther played in sacred music. Many great compositions come from the Lutheran tradition, from J.S. Bach to Paul Manz, and many more. Are you celebrating Reformation Sunday this year? Are you going to sneak in some Bach? Go all out with choir and brass, or maybe your church is just going to pass? Tell us in the comments below. I’m certain some good ideas will surface.…/04/luthers-music-had-an-even-g reater-impact-than-his-words/ … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: Introduction to the Difficulties in Moving from Piano to Organ

Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic Region! We will talk this year about moving from playing the piano to playing the organ. It happens inevitably in the pianist’s career that he or she will, at some point in time, be asked to play the organ. The request comes most often from those who do not understand the niceties of technique, touch, and coordination associated with the various instruments in the keyboard family, and it is assumed that if one keyboard looks like another, than it will be an easy enough affair to transition from one to the other. Indeed, certain gifted artists within living memory have successfully attempted this feat. The majority, however, feel a lack of certainty upon hearing this request, and some have even reported … [Read more...]

AGO National Convention 2018: Explore Kansas City’s Rich Musical History

Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, Blue Room jazz club and Gem Theater. Since its inception in 1997, the Museum hosts thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans of the arts for over 200 performances, education programs, special exhibitions, community events and more each year, providing an opportunity to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the sounds of modern day jazz. American Jazz Museum … [Read more...]

November 2017 TAO Cover Feature

The Episcopal Church of SS. Andrew and Matthew Wilmington, Delaware Quimby Pipe Organs Inc. • Warrensburg, Missouri by T. Daniel Hancock Cover photo credit: Danny Schweers View the Stop List View an enlarged cover The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew (SsAM) is a vibrant faith community located on the southwestern edge of downtown Wilmington, Delaware, where the center city district gives way to the historic Quaker Hill neighborhood. Founded in 1996, SsAM is the result of a carefully considered and executed combination of two Episcopal parishes: St. Andrew’s Church, founded 1829, and St. Matthew’s Church, founded 1846. St. Andrew’s was primarily a white congregation, while St. Matthew’s was predominately black; … [Read more...]

Kansas City to Host 2018 AGO National Convention

AGO members will gather in Kansas City in 2018 for the AGO's biannual convention. Kansas City is currently experiencing a wonderful cultural rebirth. Energetic and attractive neighborhoods throughout the city are highlighted by world class performing arts venues, beautiful bars and restaurants, and a wide array of cultural hot spots such as museums, coffee shops, breweries, art galleries, and parks. Forbes named Kansas City one of “America’s Best Downtowns”; Huffington Post named it “Coolest City in America” in 2014; Time awarded KC “America’s Best City for BBQ”; and it was the first US city with access to Google’s ultra–high–speed internet service, Google Fiber. To keep up with news of the convention, bookmark the 2018 AGO National … [Read more...]

Important Deadlines

November 1 (Ongoing): Registration is open for AGO 2018 Convention in Kansas City. November 15: Editorial and advertising deadlines for the January issue of TAO. December 1: Applications for the May 11, 2018 CAGO exam are available. December 31: Deadline to claim a deduction for a charitable contribution made in 2017. January 1, 2018: Students applying for a scholarship award for the 2018-19 academic year can submit an online application from January 1 to February 15, 2018. More information. December 31: Supersaver Deadline for AGO Kansas City 2018 Convention Registration. March 31, 2018: Early Registration Deadline for AGO Kansas City 2018 Convention. May 31, 2018: Regular Registration Deadline for AGO Kansas City 2018 … [Read more...]

October 2017 TAO Cover Feature Article

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Auburn, New York 1890 Carl Barckhoff Pipe Organ Restored by Parsons Pipe Organ Builders by David McCleary View an enlarged cover View the Stop List The 1890 Carl Barckhoff organ at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Auburn, New York, is thought to be the builder’s largest extant organ, and unlike most of the organs of its period, survives in relatively unaltered and undamaged condition. These two factors, combined with Barckhoff’s exceptional tonal design and the fact that the organ continues today as the primary instrument of the parish, made it imperative that it receive the restorative attention necessary to continue its mission. When we approach any restoration project, we weigh the value of restoring … [Read more...]