Last updated: April 25, 2017 at 10:31 am
Message from the Dean
Welcome to the website of the Reading, Pennsylvania, Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Chapter membership includes organists and others from the Greater Reading area, encompassing Berks and Schuylkill Counties.
Please contact the chapter dean or one of the other chapter officers listed below for assistance with suggestions for organists available for Sunday substitute work or for a list of available organ teachers offering private instruction.
St. John’s (Hains) United Church of Christ, 591 N. Church Rd., Wernersville, presents Voices of the Valley (formerly the Alumni Chorale of Lebanon Valley College) in concert on Sunday, April 30, 2017, at 3 p.m. as part of the Annie M. Gaul Concert Series. A freewill offering is being received, and refreshments will be served following the program.
Immanuel United Church of Christ, 99 S. Waverly St., Shillington, presents The Belle Tones, a female trio singing classics of the 20th century, on Sunday, April 30, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Gifts of the Arts Series. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. For more information and to reserve tickets, please call the church at (610) 777-7107.
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 421 Windsor St., Reading, presents “Jesu, meine Freude,” a concert by the Opus One Chamber Choir, on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 4 p.m. To reserve tickets, please call (610) 334-1188.
St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ, 1320 Spruce St., Reading, presents organist Michael Baal in recital on Sunday, June 4, 2017, at 3 p.m. A freewill offering will be received, and a time of fellowship with refreshments follows the program.
“2016 Young Organist Scholarship Winner”
Jacqueline Wilson, daughter of James and Victoria Wilson, is the winner of the Reading Chapter, AGO, Young Organist Scholarship for 2016 – 2017. Jackie has completed Grade 9 in the Exeter Township School District. She is a student of Teresa Kissling. The Reading Chapter, AGO, partners with the Reading Musical Foundation in the administration of the Young Organist Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student from Berks or Schuylkill Counties in Grades 7 – 11, who is new to the organ (less than one year of organ lessons at the time of the audition). For complete information on the scholarship visit www.readingmusicalfoundation.org.
“From the Editor”
“Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the American Guild of Organists sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music.” That church music should be of the highest quality and that church musicians should be of the highest possible caliber were numbered among the primary goals of the founders of the Guild: To that end, the American Guild of Organists has established a certification program through which members can challenge themselves to hone their skills and grow as professionals. All of the programming offered by the Guild, nationally, regionally, and in the local chapters is intended in some way to support and nurture church musicians and church music.
So what might you be planning to do this year to stretch yourself as a church musician? Perhaps you might consider preparing for and taking an AGO certification examination. Among the benefits the Guild touts in its promotional materials is the possibility of increasing your earning power. That is a consideration (and a possibility), but rare is the church these days that offers an organist a pay raise just for earning the right to add a set of letters behind their name. On the other hand, enhancing your skill set may render you more marketable, and you might be able to attain a new church position with an improved salary. Moreover, the real worth in pursuing an AGO certificate is to challenge yourself: it’s the discipline of making yourself practice those transposition exercises every day until you master the skill. Truth be told, we all lead busy lives, and it’s so easy to let our practicing slide because we’re pressed for time, and, anyway, the prelude for Sunday is one I’ve already played at least a dozen times over the years–it will be okay.
Or maybe you’ll decide that it’s time to seek out a teacher and sign up for a few music lessons. When I began my graduate studies in music, people who took an interest in my plans were often surprised to hear that private organ study was a major part of the program. After all my previous study and all my years of practical experience, what on earth could I possibly glean from more organ lessons? Of course, the first benefit is the discipline: the fact that I’m paying someone to hear me play the organ on a regular, recurring basis provides a certain impetus for me to ensure that there is time in my busy schedule for practice, so that I will have something prepared when lesson time comes around again. Moreover, every one of us can benefit from submitting now and again to the guidance of a second pair of eyes and ears: eyes to observe elements of our technique that need correcting or that might benefit from a slight adjustment in our approach, and ears to determine whether what we think we’re trying to accomplish is what the listener out in the room is actually hearing.
Maybe you’ll make a concentrated effort to hear a few other organists in recital this year so that you can be inspired (please refer to our calendar of events), or maybe you’ll take advantage of some upcoming educational opportunities (perhaps you’ll try January JumpStart early in the new year), or maybe you’ll enjoy the fellowship and support of your colleagues at one of our social/networking events. And maybe you’ll start planning (and saving) now to attend the national convention in Houston this summer or the regional convention in Richmond in the summer of 2017. So, what will you be doing?
– Michael A. Baal, Editor
The Chapter Treasurer normally coordinates all membership matters for the Reading Chapter. Due to the death of Kevin Kline, please contact Reading Chapter Dean John Brewster regarding membership matters (see e-mail address below).
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 300 W. State St., Birdsboro, PA 19508, seeks a part-time organist (8-10 hours per week). Responsibilities include playing one weekly Sunday morning service plus the usual special services (e.g. Lent, Thanksgiving, Christmas). Compensation would be an annual salary of $9200 with 1 week’s vacation per calendar quarter. For a detailed job description and/or to submit a resume e-mail to email@example.com. (Posted April, 2017.)
St. John’s (Hain’s) United Church of Christ, 591 N. Church Rd, Wernersville, PA 19565, is seeking a part-time Director of Music (30 hrs. per week plus paid vacation) to provide musical leadership for congregational worship and music programs. The successful candidate will possess organ/piano proficiency as well as skills in directing vocal and handbell choirs. Responsibilities include weekly worship services, special services, three (3) vocal choirs, handbell and percussion ensembles, weddings and funerals. Salary commensurate with experience ($34,000-$38,000). If interested, e-mail resume with salary history to firstname.lastname@example.org or send via U.S. mail to St. John’s (Hain’s) United Church of Christ, Attn: Music Search Committee, 591 N. Church Road, Wernersville, PA 19565. (Posted April, 2017.)
Wyomissing Church of the Brethren, 2200 State Hill Rd., Wyomissing, PA 19610, is seeking a part-time Director of Music (20 – 30 hrs. per month) to develop and maintain the church’s music program. Music degree and/or church experience is a plus. Send resumes to email@example.com. (Posted July, 2016.)
Calvary Lutheran Church, 1009 Elizabeth Ave., Laureldale (Reading), PA 19605, is seeking a part-time organist. A candidate with a B.A. in church music or comparable experience is preferred; organ proficiency and sight reading ability are expected; responsibilities include accompanying choir rehearsals and worship services. Interested candidates may submit resumes via U. S. Postal Service to Anne Hain at 1760 Ramich Rd., Temple, PA 19560 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Posted July, 2016.)
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Mertztown, seeks someone to lead their Music Ministry program (10-15 hours per week). In addition to providing musical leadership for congregational worship and choir(s), the candidate should possess handbell experience. If interested, contact the Rev. Jeremiah Sassaman at (610) 657-0269. (Posted June, 2016.)
Becker’s St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Fleetwood, is seeking a part-time organist. Responsibilities include one weekly Sunday morning service at 9 a.m. to provide preludes, postludes, occasional offertory music, and lead the congregation in service music and hymns (selected by Worship and Music Committee), as well as occasional special worship services, weddings, and funerals. For more information and/or if interested please contact Diane Fegely, Worship and Music Committee Chair, at (610) 683-3897 or by e-mail at email@example.com. (Posted June, 2016.)
Frieden’s Church, 28 Wolf Creek Rd., Shartlesville, PA 19554, is seeking a part-time Minister of Music. The successful candidate will possess organ/piano proficiency as well as skills in directing vocal and handbell choirs. Responsibilities include weekly worship services, occasional special services, two vocal choirs, two handbell ensembles, and weddings and funerals. Salary commensurate with experience. Resumes with telephone contact information should be directed to Harmony Hix, Personnel Committee via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (484)772-5645 for more informtion. (Posted May, 2016.)
Zion Blue Mountain United Church of Christ, P. O. Box 98, Strausstown, PA 19559, is seeking a part-time Minister of Music (10-15 hours/week). Responsibilities include one weekly Sunday morning service plus special worship services (holidays, weddings, and funerals) and one choir. Experience directing choral groups and playing Sunday worship services preferred. For a more detailed job description, and/or if interested, please contact Mrs. Pat Moyer, Worship and Music Committee Chair via e-mail at email@example.com, or send a copy of your cover letter and resume to Pat Moyer, c/o of Zion Blue Mountain UCC, at the address above. (Posted March, 2016.)
Note: these listings reflect the best current information received by the chapter dean about area vacancies. We attempt to keep the list current, but notice of a vacancy being filled is not always reported to us in a timely fashion.
Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.
Mr. John C. Brewster, Dean – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jane K. Hagness, CAGO, Sub-dean – email@example.com
Treasurer (Acting) – please contact the dean, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Kimberly F. Ayrton, Secretary – email@example.com
Mr. Lee Ferrier, Executive Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. David S. Wagner, Executive Committee – email@example.com
Mrs. Barbara F. Woods, Executive Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Member, Executive Committee – vacant
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor – email@example.com