NJ Ocean County




            The following is a letter received from a member of the audience at our Choir Festival, January 31, 2016.  I know you will enjoy reading this beautiful letter.  BT

Dear One and All:
All we hear these days are negative tones of violence and hate. It was indeed “music to our ears” to hear instead such uplifting and inspirational tones and words as those sung and played at your Choir Festival.
Although I have had the pleasure of attending such events, held by your group over quite a few years, I think you outdid yourselves this year.  Bless you for that!
Perhaps the reason lay in the fact that you had missed one of your normal rehearsals so you put even more love (and oomph) into your efforts.  But LOVE poured from you from the beginning to the end and hugged your hungering audience through every note and word that came across.
The variations of music kept us yearning for more. For we who know little about “long-haired music”, or even jazz for that matter, it can be a bit boring to listen only to the same type of music. But, give us a single taste of each type, spirit it with a dash of “soul music”, and we delightfully savor each for its individual contribution.
Not only did we appreciate each type of music, but also each Director’s style of directing. Even a poor layperson is aware of the significance of such an important role.  Loud, soft; short note or long can soar us to Handel’s “Messiah” level or get our feet to tapping.
Along that note, may I make a suggestion…. During the piece “Soon and Very Soon”, I saw a lovely looking young lady with blond hair (toward the front and in the center of the Choir) swaying in time to the music.   It was DELIGHTFUL!  I think it would be just great if, the next time you have your Festival and a moving piece of music such as that one, the whole choir would do the same, such as choirs in Baptist churches are known to do.  And…. in the audience a few folks were clapping to the tune, and it would be fun if we were asked to do the same.
It’s similar to when we sang” Holy God We Praise Thy Name!” and had the joy of joining you all.  Not only did it give us a reprieve from sitting for a bit of time, but also, once we heard what ‘you’ could do with the music of the Masters, ‘we’ yearned to be a part of it all too, in our amateurish ways.
Speaking of “variations”… an organ solo, such as Donald McFarland,  Andrew VanBuskirk and later Karin Gargone played… a soloist such as the tenor Jonathan Yount, or meaningful spoken words such as Arnold Taranto spoke, Bell Ringers, who raise music to another heavenly level, and all ‘accompanists’ are each “another spice added to a most delicious stew of music at its highest level”!
I am sure that Barbara Taranto and Sara Hoey are already thinking about ‘next year’s festival’ (like organizers of the Rose Ball events).  It takes a lot of work, planning, purchasing the music and doing all else, but ladies and gentlemen…. we THANK YOU, AND ALL THE PARTICIPANTS FOR THIS YEAR’S “FESTIVAL OF MUSIC” and look forward with great anticipation to next year.  You have given us all the most needed “rest upon the way” and also another chance to praise our Lord.
Whether you were someone who took up the collection, set up the chairs, gave out the programs or did any other important job, please know your efforts were appreciated.  We had a day we will long remember with gratitude.  Now, we also have the joy of hearing it all over again and again on CD!  That is a plus!


ORGAN CONCERT: GORDON TURK IN CONCERT: At St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Sunday, Waretown, NJ, April 22nd at 4pm. Dr. Turk, a critically acclaimed concert organist, has performed throughout the US, Europe, Russia, the Ukraine and Japan. Turk is particularly well known as Resident Organist of the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ where he presides over one of the finest organs in the United States. Turk will perform on the new Johannes Organ.


Elsie Madsen Fischer was the founding dean of our chapter.   She was dedicated to church music, supported a number of community music organizations, and nurtured the talents of many organ and piano students. She is fondly remembered by all who knew her.
The purpose of this grant is to provide funds for organ studies which will build the skills of church organists. Some examples of the kind of organ studies suitable for receiving this grant are an organ course for credit at a college; an organ-centered workshop, conference, or seminar; preparation for an AGO certificate; and a defined number of private organ lessons.
                An applicant must be an Ocean County, NJ resident or a member of the ocean County Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
                To apply, submit the following information by February 1st to Dean Sara Hoey at saritavepoint@comcast.net :
What is the organ studies plan?
When do you expect to start and finish the plan?
What is the estimated cost of the plan?
What church music experience have you had?
What previous organ studies have you completed?
Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email address.
In addition, you will need to audition for the committee. Plan to play a hymn and an organ composition of your choosing.
You will also be required to submit 3 written references. Each reference must include the referring person’s name, address, phone number, and email address; it should include a statement explaining how the referring person knows you, as well as offer comments on your character and musical ability.
Amount of Grant
The amount of this grant will vary according to available funds. It should be no more than 10% of our chapter’s account balance on February 1st , plus any donations dedicated to this grant which have been received by the chapter.   The amount of this grant will not exceed the estimated cost of the proposed organ studies. More than one award may be given in a calendar year if enough funds are available.
world-class interest:

The first link below is to an article regarding NY Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert’s announcement that he will leave the NYPhil in 2017.  Of course there is much buzz regarding who will take his place.  But there is also much discussion of the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall, beginning in 2019, where the Phil performs.
The article references the importance of the acoustician, and additional musical considerations such as where pianos are stored, how long it takes to move a piano onstage, and… the inclusion of a pipe organ in the concert hall.

The next link is to an article from the New Yorker, which discusses the pipe organ in Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles) in regard to the general resurgence of organ music in the concert hall.   This pipe organ is a real visual and aural treat, reminding us how a pipe organ can set apart a concert hall from any other.  But it must be a part of the initial planning of the hall’s construction and acoustic considerations.

Kind regards,
Ocean County College (Toms River): Organ Instruction

OCC offers Applied Music instruction – individual instruction for all instruments and voice types.  Dr. Josh Melson is the organ instructor, and OCC organ lessons are taught from the Presbyterian Church of Toms River (1070 Hooper Avenue).  This may be of interest to beginner organists (including pianists who would like to learn the organ), or organists who would like to strengthen technique, musicality, refine service playing, or work toward AGO certification.  The student registers for MUSC-120 (Applied Music), and receives fifteen 30-minute lessons per semester (one 30-minute lesson per week).  Semesters run from September through December, and from end of January through mid-May.  For an Ocean County resident, the current cost of one OCC Applied Music organ lesson is $20 – for exact information please refer to the current tuition and fee schedule found at  www.ocean.edu.  Lesson times are scheduled individually and conveniently between instructor and student.  For more information please contact Karin Gargone (kgargone@ocean.edu or 732-255-0400 X2109), or Josh Melson (jmelson@ocean.edu or 732-349-1331).

Ocean County College (Toms River): Associate of Arts Degree in the Performing Arts
This is a two-year degree in music and/or dance and/or theater.  Students of this degree may take a combination of courses in all three areas, or focus on the area(s) of their own personal interest.  Of interest to musicians would be the opportunity to obtain a two-year Performing Arts degree with a focus on music courses (music theory, ear training, history, applied music, etc.).  For more information, please contact Karin Gargone (kgargone@ocean.edu or 732-255-400 X2109).



2018 OFFICERS                                   




MEMBERSHIP 2015-2016

Peggy Bendel                     Email
Timothy Brendler             Email
Naomi Capasso                 Email
Louis Castano                   Email
Barbara D’Ippolito          Email
Ruth Ann Diaz                 Email
Ellen Dondero                 Email
Karin Gargone                 Email
Esther Graham                Email
Ernest F. Hamilton Jr.   Email
Harold Hawkes                Email
Sara Hoey                          Email
Ron W. Howell                 no email address
Bernice Kephart               Email
Dee Lepley                         Email
Alfred Mangino                 Email
George Markey                  Email
Don McFarland                 Email
Andrea McGahan              Email
Timothy McGahan            Email
Josh Melson                        Email
Jan Mercadante                 Email
Jack (Ernest) Milkovitz     Email
Polly L. Moore                    Email
Phyllis Scardena                Email
William Shoppell              Email
Barbara Taranto               Email
Pamela Unger                  Email
Christine Urban               Email
Andrew VanBuskirk        Email
Barbara Wheeler            Email
Sara Wittekind                Email

Please contact these members directly via
the email addresses listed above
Peggy Bendel – Organist – Monday, Thursday, Saturday
Louis Castano – Vocal soloist – Sept-May
Ruth Ann Diaz – Organist
Karin Gargone – Organist – Saturdays only
Esther Graham – Organist
Polly Moore – Vocal Soloist, weddings and funerals
Bernice Kephart – Organist – weddings and funerals
Barbara Taranto – Choir director
Christine Urban – Organist and vocalist any time

Since Ocean County is one of the fastest growing counties in NJ, we know that there are many musicians who are moving into our communities. If you are an organist, conductor, pianist, singer or music minister, we invite you to join our chapter and participate in the planned activities of O.C. AGO.
To add information to our web site, contact Fred Mangino

The Music Ministry of St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale, NJ is looking for a  musician.  The position is Part Time and will remain open until filled. All interested parties should contact the Pastor, Fr. Angelito, or Deacon Dan Sakowski at the church.
 The clergy and staff at St. Catherine’s are a very warm and supportive bunch. All salary details will be discussed during the interview process.
 Contact http://www.sienachurch.org/scsf
Thank you!
Peter Isherwood



DEAN – Sara Hoey, Email
SUB DEAN – Bernice Kephart, Email
TREASURER – Barbara D’Ippolito, Email
FESTIVAL COORDINATORS – Barbara Taranto, Sara Hoey



www.cpdl.org (Choral Public Domain Library)
AGO National website