Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter

Last updated October 11, 2020

Notes from the Dean 

Dear friends,

Through the uncertain times of the past few months, it was wonderful to see how the community of organists and our national AGO organization stepped up to keep organ music alive through virtual technology.  While many may have added an element of livestream to our positions, it has been so impressive to get a glimpse of what many are doing across the country.  In the middle of July, AGO OrganFest was presented virtually at no cost to members and provided fantastic performances that are still available for viewing at  The national organization has been so engaged with chapter leaders in providing innovative ways to move forward virtually through programming and webinars.  Our Metro NJ AGO chapter board and program committees have met virtually and are excited to provide our chapter with several event options for the coming year.

For those members of our chapter that are experiencing financial difficulties during this time, you are encouraged to go to and click on the  Responding to COVID-19 page for resources to help members.  As always, I am available to answer any questions you may have at

My thoughts are with all of you as we face many challenges in the coming months with resuming some means of normalcy.  I hope you will find peace and joy in keeping the organ alive and present in your lives.  What an amazing gift we have to place our hands and feet on such an impressive musical instrument. I look forward to seeing you either virtually or in person at one of our upcoming chapter events.

Kristin Dabaghian, MM, Dean

Notes from the Sub-Dean 

Greetings fellow organists,

We remain eager to join each other but still unable to do so.  Our initial thoughts for this Fall did at one time include one in-person event, but complications are going to push that off as well.  I again would ask that everyone avail themselves to the plethora of online recitals and workshops being provided by AGO HQ.  The links to each event can be found at: 

We remain in joyful hope before we again, in person!  Stay safe and keep practicing!

Preston Dibble, Sub-Dean •  724-316-2963 (cell)

Notes from the Secretary

The restoration of my church organ 1939 Aeolian Skinner Opus 988 at Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Jersey City, NJ. It is a 2/35 with 4 divisions. The work is being done by Nick Meyers who works on the organ at Wanamakers in Philadelphia, and Carl Hersom who works on the big organ in Atlantic City. So far Phase One – the Swell division – has just been completed. In the next few weeks the Positiv division will be started.  This past week we received the green light from the Diocese of Newark to do the Great, Pedal, and the Console. So far, the results have been spectacular.

It is very rare during this time that a pipe organ can be completely restored. This organ was completed on September 1, 1939, the day that war broke out in Europe.  It was a test bed for the famous G. Donald Harrison, who used ideas in later organs like that in the Germanic Museum in Harvard.  The organ was given a Citation by the Organ Historical Society, OHS, as an historic organ of great importance that needs to be preserved.  I have now been organist for 26 years.

Eric Fahner, Secretary
Organist, Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception


* * CHAPTER PROGRAMS 2020-2021 * *

Chapter events to be rescheduled pending COVID-19 Guideline updates.


Submit concert listings to Patricia Woolley, newsletter editor –

Sunday, October 18, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.
Organ Recital  ~ 
John J. Miller, Cathedral Organist
Program will include works of Bach, Langlais, Barber, Vierne & Widor.  

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ 07104 – 973-484-240
Suggested donation – $15.

Sunday, November 1, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.
A Musical Commemoration in Honor of the Faithful Departed

The Cathedral Choir with Kristin Dabaghian: organ,  John J. Miller: conductor.
The Cathedral Choir; Xin Zhao, Violinist; Andre Tarantiles, Harpist
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ 07104 – 973-484-240
Free-will offering

AGOYO Fridays at Noon EDT
November 13, 2020, Organ Crawl at Longwood Gardens
December 11, 2020, Organ Factory Tour at Austin Organ Company

Membership and Directory

I missed some member news last month and I apologize!  Chapter Friend Helen Raymaker has relocated from Madison to the Chicago area to be closer to family. Helen was very active in the NJ music scene and served as accompanist for the Harmonium Choral Society. Our best wishes to Helen and her family.

My only other news is a big “Thank You” from me, your membership chair. After my newsletter reminder, we are up to 94 chapter members. Ten people renewed in September. Six members missed July renewals and I will be reaching out to you!

It is easy to renew at “Membership.” Your membership expiration date and member ID # are found on the address label of your American Organist magazine.  With a rolling membership year, your renewal will be good for one year from the date of your payment. Let me know if you have questions or need help with AGO ONCARD.

If anyone has suffered financial hardship and loss of income as a result of the pandemic, the AGO has received donations to assist those who cannot afford to renew their memberships. Please let me know and I can put you in touch with Elizabeth George, our new AGO Director of Member Engagement and Chapter Development. They have asked that chapter leadership contact them, rather than members calling directly.

Scott Jones, Membership Chair & Treasurer •  973-338-0267


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

Metropolitan NJ Chapter American Guild of Organists
Executive Board 
 Dean  Kristin Dabaghian
 Sub-Dean Preston Dibble
 Secretary  Eric Fahner
 Treasurer  Scott Jones
 Newsletter Editor Patricia Woolley
 Publicity Coordinator Bev McGregor
Class of 2018-2022
Tiffany Chung
Carol Johnson
Richard Mack
 Class of 2020-2024
Wm. Kevin Davis
 Randall Svane
Roberta TenBroeck