Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter


Last updated: May 28, 2015 at 20:58 pm

Message from the Dean 

Welcome to the Metro New Jersey Chapter of the AGO!

We are celebrating our 94th year and are very excited about our upcoming programs and the new energy in our chapter. We have planned a variety of entertaining and informative events for the 2014-15 season, as listed below.

New members, both organists and organ aficionados, are always welcome. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Jim Little, Dean


Local Events



Friday, September 19 – 7:00 PM
Kickoff Potluck at Bruce Lockhart’s home
120 Sherman Avenue
Teaneck, NJ 07666
RSVP to Bev McGregor at

Monday, October 20 – 7:30 PM
Members’ Music Sharing Event
Also, BYO Music to Swap: proceeds benefit the
George Markey Scholarship Fund
United Methodist Church in Morristown
50 South Park Place
Morristown, NJ 07960

Monday, January 19, 9 AM – 4:00 PM
(Snowdate: Saturday, January 24)

First United Methodist Church
130 Ferris Place
Westfield, NJ 07090
Deborah Simpkin King, guest clinician
$15 admission No Admission Charge!

Friday, April 10 – 7 PM
Organ Recital by Jeffrey Brillhart
The Presbyterian Church in Morristown
57 E. Park Place
Morristown, NJ 07960

Saturday, April 11 – 10 AM to 12 Noon
Masterclass by Jeffrey Brillhart
The Presbyterian Church in Morristown
57 E. Park Place
Morristown, NJ 07960

Monday, April 27
Organ Crawl
Church of the Ascension, and First Presbyterian Church, NYC
More details to follow

Monday, May 11 – 12:00 PM Noon
Metro Mid-day Munch in May
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
119 Main Street
Millburn, NJ 07041
Joseph Arndt, organist
Lunch to follow


Sunday, May 3, 3:00 p.m.
Grace Episcopal Church
4 Madison Avenue, Madison

Light Opera of New Jersey’s Savoy Faire, a Gilbert & Sullivan review for all. Donation at the door.

Sunday, May 3, 4:00 p.m.
Grace Episcopal Church
950 Broad Street, Newark

Grace Church in downtown Newark celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Casavant organ with a recital by Jonathan Ryan. Mr. Ryan is on the music staff of Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, CT and is on the roster of Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc. Program includes Howells, Sweelinck, Bach, Hampton, Willan and Manz.

Monday, May 11, 12:00 noon *chapter event
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church
119 Main Street, Millburn

Sub-Dean Joe Arndt plays a recital on the Beckerath tracker organ. Lunch to follow.

Sunday, May 17, 3:00 p.m.
Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
716 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield

Program “Creatures Great and Small” with the Crescent Singers.

Sunday, May 31, 10:00 a.m.
Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church
271 Roseland Avenue, Essex Fells

Festival Eucharist with Choirs and Orchestra

Presenting Vaughan Williams Old Hundredth, Mozart Te Deum and Handel Let the Bright Seraphim John Pivarnik, organist/conductor.

Sunday, May 31, 3:00 p.m.
Saint John’s Lutheran Church
587 Springfield Avenue, Summit

Composer and Organist John Ferguson leads a Community Hymn Festival on the Holtkamp organ. A free-will offering will be received.

Saturday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, June 7, 7:30 p.m. 
Grace Episcopal Church
4 Madison Avenue, Madison

Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack, director, presents “Apocalypse Now:” Randall Thomson’s Peaceable Kingdom, and works about the end of times, both scary and comforting, by Stanford, Takach, Takemitsu, Walker, Vaughan Williams and the winner of the 18th annual High School Student Composition Contest.

Sunday, June 14, 3:00 p.m.
Saint Catherine of Siena Church
10 North Pocono Road, Mountain Lakes

Anthony Newman, described as the “High Priest of Bach” by Wynton Marsalis, is performing a concert of all-Bach music. Mr. Newman is a well-known organist, keyboardist, composer and recording artist whose career has continued for over 50 years. For further information please email

Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) 2015

Click Here for information

June 14-19
Wichita Chapter
Wichita, Kansas

July 5-10
Northwest Indiana Chapter
Valparaiso, Indiana

July 12-17
Columbus Chapter
Columbus, Georgia

July 26-31
Brooklyn Chapter
Brooklyn, New York

Southern Plains Chapter
Norman, Oklahoma




The chapter newsletter is The Metro Mixtures and the Newsletter Editor is Scott Ziegler. He can be reached at

* * * March/April 2015 METRO MIXTURES NEWSLETTER * * *

Notes from the Dean…

Greetings all, and welcome to what passes as Spring in New Jersey. Holy Week looms for many of us, but, in my advancing age, being in a part-time position with a wonderful Rector, it isn’t nearly the stress it could be. Shouldn’t making music always be a relatively stress-free occupation? I often wonder whose fault it is that it’s not usually so. “Us” or the great “Them”.   At any rate, with some wonderful events for the chapter coming up, and one lone hydrangea coming up alongside our house, there is hope in the air, even though most of our lawn is still snow covered.

I hope many of you have registered for the Mid-Atlantic Convention in Pittsburgh. It looks like a fine program, and will be, as AGO conventions generally are, a great time to refresh our minds and hear someone else play for once! Even as we baby-boomers age, (speaking for myself, you know) and try, often unsuccessfully, to retire (didn’t work for me!) it’s good for us all to learn some new techniques and repertoire, rather than always pulling out the same old stuff. My very first organ teacher, when I was 12 or 13, showed me how she always dated all her prelude and postlude pieces, and had a hard and fast rule to never, with very rare exceptions, repeat a work in less than a year. I’ve done it from my first church job, beginning in October of ’61, and kept at it ever since. Some of my students insist that my early organ scores must be handwritten on parchment. Cute.

I’m really looking forward to us all getting together in April!

–Jim Little, Dean

News from the Sub-Dean…

For many of us, Holy Week is the busiest week of the year. I wish you all the best in your work – and I look forward to seeing you on the other side!

I eagerly anticipate our next chapter events: a recital (April 10, 7:00 PM) and improvisation masterclass (April 11, 10:00-noon) by Jeffrey Brillhart. Thank you very much to Matthew Webb at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown for hosting this event. Improvisation is a lost art in much of the classical music world. However, as organists, this art is important for us who work in liturgical settings. Mr. Brillhart is a master improviser, and I hope we will all make a special effort to see him on April 10 and 11.

I also look forward to our organ crawl in New York City at the end of April. More information will be available Easter week. Check our chapter website for details.

Thank you all for your support, and see you in April!

–Joe Arndt, Sub-Dean

Membership and Directory

Our chapter membership is currently at 142. We have welcomed several new and returning members this winter. In January we welcomed Mr. Phillip Lamb as a Dual member. Phillip serves as Asst. Organist at St. Mary’s Abbey/Delbarton, working with Chris Hatcher. Welcome also to Ms. Sung-Hae Jung, who lives in Summit and would like to substitute. Joining us by chapter affiliation is Mr. Adam Waite of Morristown, whom we met at the January Mini-Convention. Welcome, Adam! Welcome back to long-time Metro member Bob Trokan, who has recently been an independent AGO member. Bob is very interested in substitute work. Thank you to renewing members since the last directory: Noel and Barbara Piercy and Joel Ramseyer.

Several members have changed positions and/or retired in recent months. Alison Siener Brown has accepted a position at All Saints Episcopal in Millington, NJ. Kristin Dabaghian is now at St. Paul in Ramsey, NJ. In April, Wayne Dietterick will take a new position at All Saints Episcopal in Scotch Plains, NJ. Mary Lou Stevens has retired from Basking Ridge Presbyterian after a long and full career! Mary Lou served several churches and was a two-term Dean of Metro NJ (and part of the reason I became an AGO member!) Easter will be the last service at Bishop Janes UMC in Basking Ridge for Connie Schmalz. Many changes at the “corner” in Basking Ridge! Congratulations and best wishes to everyone!

Believe it or not, it is almost time to renew your AGO membership! AGO headquarters will start sending renewal invoices to members in April (for those with an expiration date of July 1, 2015.)   This is our second year using the central ONCARD system for membership renewal and collection of dues. All members with email will receive an email reminder and invoice. (Members without email will receive mailed notices.) Please be reminded that dues collected in April are for the AGO membership year July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Last year’s renewals went fairly smoothly—thank you! One important request is to please log in and check/update the personal information on the first page, and answer my chapter-specific questions (sub lists, organ teaching, helping the chapter and electronic or paper newsletters and directories.) Many of you failed to update phone numbers, emails, work info and left the chapter questions blank. (“Membership” and ONCARD log- in screen are a drop-down at

As before, you may pay your dues online by credit card or print an invoice and mail a check to AGO headquarters in NYC (address on invoice, in the TAO or on the website.) If your church pays your dues, please make sure that this address is correct—the dues no longer come to me. I have electronic access to all membership info. Donations to our George Markey Organ Scholarship Fund or the AGO Annual Fund may be made at the same time as your dues!

Please make every effort to renew early/on time (by June 30)—it helps everyone. If you have any questions or have trouble renewing, please feel free to contact me.

– Scott Jones, Membership Chair & Treasurer

Memo from the Editor

Many of you might be surprised to see my name in this edition of Metro Mixtures, knowing I am in my first year of work towards a Master of Music from the University of Florida. I recently agreed to take over editing the newsletter from Chris Hatcher, who dedicated nine years to compiling concert listings and blurbs from the board as a means to communicate with the chapter. I am working in a similar capacity for the Gainesville chapter, updating the website and sending events out to chapter members. Although my primary chapter is Gainesville, I retain dual membership with Metro NJ, as it is an always will be my home chapter. After all, it was our very own George Markey Scholarship that sent me to the Worcester POE in 2008, sparking my interest in the instrument. For now, please send any concert or event listings directly to me. Continue to send paid advertising to Chris.

– Scott Ziegler




NEA Funding Will Support Educational Programming in 2015 and New Music Commissioned for the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston, Tex.

NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support educational programming in 2015 and new music commissioned for the AGO National Convention in Houston, Tex., June 19–23, 2016. The $20,000 NEA “Art Works” grant will support Pipe Organ Encounters for youth and adults, performances and workshops at all seven AGO Regional Conventions, the Guild’s professional certification program for organists and choral conductors, and new music commissions. While the Guild has benefitted from NEA support for the past five consecutive AGO National Conventions, the 2015 grant represents the first support the Guild has received for its educational programs and regional conventions.

“This grant covers the full breadth of the AGO’s educational activities for current and prospective members as well as our programs of outreach to the public,” stated AGO Executive Director James Thomashower. “The NEA’s funding sends an uplifting message to the entire organ community: our instrument and its music are vitally important to the American people. The award validates the AGO’s ongoing efforts to ensure that music for the organ is created by talented composers, performed by skilled musicians, and appreciated by the widest audience possible. It is an honor for the Guild to be recognized by the NEA, the most prestigious independent federal agency in the United States responsible for funding and promoting artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation.”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu added, “I am pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to the American Guild of Organists. The arts foster value, connection, creativity, and innovation for the American people. This grant demonstrates those attributes and affirms that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 were recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at For further information about the AGO’s educational programming, please visit the AGO website at



We can accept advertisements in the newsletter for goods and services which are for sale. Besides text ads, we can place business card-size ads for inclusion in the Metro Mixtures.Ads may be purchased for $10 (for Metro NJ AGO members), and $20 (for non-members) per issue of Metro Mixtures. Business card ads must be “camera-ready.” Memorial tributes and “best wishes” may also be placed by members for $10 per issue. To place a text ad, send your ad (or business card) along with a check (payable to Metro NJ AGO) to the newsletter editor. Please note that text ads may need to be edited due to space constraints. If you would like more information about placing an ad please contact



Past Dean, Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter



The Membership Chairperson is Scott Jones. You may contact him via e-mail at



The Placement Chairperson is Chris Hatcher. To submit a listing, please contact him via e-mail at

Saturday Organist: Assumption RC Church, 302 High Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840. 5:30 p.m. Mass and occasional Holy Days.  $150.00 per Mass. Contact: Bob VanDongen at  [5/4/15]

Substitute Organist needed: Sunday, 7/12 and 8/15. – St. Paul’s
Episcopal Church, 200 Main St., Chatham, NJ. 10 am service with a likely
9:15 warmup with either a soloist or a small pickup choir. Contact: Contact Jim Little:
908-403-5825, or  [5/28/15]

Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.



As a chapter, we are committed to the certification process, which can be found in the July Issue of our national ‘house organ’ The American Organist.

We have members who have achieved certification in all of the programs offered, including: Service Playing, Colleague, Choir Master, Associateship and Fellowship. With our location in Central New Jersey, we are sometimes asked to accomodate candidates from surrounding chapters, and do so gladly. Certification chairman is Dennis Dell, 732 750-2960, or via e-mail at


Contact Us

Dean: James Little –
Sub-Dean: Joseph Arndt –
Secretary: Eric Fahner –
Treasurer: Scott Jones –
Financial Advisor: Michael Newman
Membership: Scott Jones –
Hospitality: Yvonne Sonnenwald –
Placement: Chris Hatcher – chris.hatcher01[at]
Professional Concerns: Yvonne Sonnenwald –
Newsletter Editor: Scott Ziegler –
Publicity: Beverly McGregor –
Exam Coordinator: Dennis Dell –
TAO Events Reporter: Yvonne Sonnenwald –
Chapter Photographer: Beverly McGregor –
Markey Scholarship: Charles Banks
New Organist Committee – Vincent Carr –

Executive Board

Class of 2012-2016
Brian Harlow
Holland Jancaitis
Linda Loria

Class of 2014-2018
Gretchen Bilson
Kristin Dabaghian
Matthew Webb

Member ex officio
Yvonne Sonnenwald-Melin



AGO National website