Last updated: September 21, 2015 at 9:36 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.
Reading Chapter is organizing a trip to Longwood Gardens for Saturday, October 10, 2015. The itinerary for the day includes a private tour of the organ and free time to enjoy the gardens.
Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 69 W. Broad Street, Souderton, PA 18964, presents the a capella group LYRA in concert on Sunday, October 11, 2015, at 8 p.m. The group of five singers from St. Petersburg, Russia, presents music of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as traditional Russian folk music. Suggested donation is $5 per person.
Calvary Lutheran Church, 1009 Elizabeth Avenue, Laureldale, presents the annual Hunsicker Memorial Organ Concert on Sunday, October 18, 2015, at 4 p.m. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 38-rank Schantz pipe organ, the program features past and present Calvary Church organists Melinda Kelly, Diane Spohn, and Mark Reppert assisted by a brass ensemble. A reception with refreshments follows the program.
Frieden’s Church, 28 Wolf Creek Road, Shartlesville, presents organist Adam Dieffenbach in recital on the church’s 1891 Thomas Dieffenbach pipe organ on Friday, October 23, 2015, at 7 p.m. This event is the second annual installment in a series of benefit recitals and other community efforts to raise funds to repair and maintain the six historic Dieffenbach organs in Berks County. A freewill offering is being received, and a time of fellowship with refreshments will follow the program.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 W. Arch St., Pottsville, hosts the 11th annual city churches’ concert featuring organist Michael Kiehner and a combined choir under the direction of Catherine Zimmerman on Sunday, October 25, 2015, at 3 p.m.
Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, presents organist F. Allen Artz in recital on Sunday, November 1, 2015, at 3 p.m. A freewill offering will be received, and a reception with refreshments follows the program.
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, is the site for January JumpStart, to be held on Saturday, January 16, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reading Chapter is a co-sponsor of this event, featuring workshops and seminars, organized by the Philadelphia Chapter.
Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, presents organist Michael Krentz in recital on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at 3 p.m. A freewill offering is being received, and a reception with refreshments follows the program.
Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, presents organist Michael Baal in recital on Sunday, May 1, 2016, at 3 p.m. A freewill offering is being received, and a reception with refreshments follows the program.
“2014 Young Organist Scholarship Winner”
Jacqueline Wilson, daughter of James and Victoria Wilson, is the winner of the Reading Chapter, AGO, Young Organist Scholarship for 2015 – 2016. Jackie has completed Grade 8 at Exeter Junior High School. 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
Chapter Treasurer Mr. Kevin R. Kline coordinates all membership matters for the Reading Chapter. If you are considering joining our AGO Chapter, please contact him by mail: 1406 N. 14th St., Reading, PA 19604; by telephone: (610) 763-7393; or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1185 Summerhill Road, Auburn, PA 17922 is seeking a part-time Director of Music/Organist. Responsibilities (10-15 hours per week) include providing musical leadership for two Sunday services plus special worship services, directing adult choir, contemporary music group, and handbell choir. Resources include a 2-manual Moller pipe organ, piano, and keyboard; salary is commensurate with experience. Full position description available upon request. Interested musicians should submit cover letter and resume to church at the address above, or via e-mail to email@example.com. (Posted August, 2015.)
St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 396, Douglassville, PA 19518, is seeking a part-time Organist/Choirmaster for 10-12 hours per week. The person should be an experienced organist and choir director, and familiarity with the Episcopal liturgy and seasons of the Christian year is a plus. Regular responsibilities include planning and coordinating service music with the rector, working with a volunteer choir rehearsing one weeknight and on a Sunday morning, and providing music for the 10/10:30 Sunday morning service. For more information go to http:/www.stgabriels.us, click on the “WORSHIP” tab, then scroll down to the link under “MUSIC.” (Posted August, 2015.)
Grace Lutheran Church, 30 Liberty Street, Shillington, PA 19607, is seeking a part-time Organist. Position is 12-15 hrs./week. Responsibilities include two Sunday morning services plus occasional special services, weddings, funerals, and accompanying two choirs. Instrument is a 15-year old Allen console accessing 32 ranks of Moller organ pipes and 23 digital stops. For more information contact the church at (610) 777-7885; interested applicants should send a letter of intent and credentials by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Posted August, 2015.)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 5 Brooke Manor, Birdsboro, PA 19508, seeks a part-time organist. Responsibilities include one Sunday morning service at 9 a.m. plus occasional special services. Contact the church office at (610) 582-8167, if interested, and/or send resume and contact information to email@example.com, Attn: Organ Search. (Posted July, 2015.)
Schwarzwald United Church of Christ, 75 Church Lane Rd., Reading, PA 19606, seeks a part-time Director of Music. Responsibilities include one Sunday morning service plus the usual special services, one weeknight choir rehearsals for adult choir and one (possibly two) younger choir(s). Instruments include a Möller pipe organ, piano, and handbells. Interested candidates should direct inquiries and submit resumés to church address above, call (610) 779-0850, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Posted July, 2015.)
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 April, 2015.)
Reformation Lutheran Church, 3670 Perkiomen Avenue, Reading, PA 19606, is seeking a part-time Organist/Accompanist for Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings to assist with the church’s music program; salary is negotiable. Please send resume and contact information to the church via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (610) 779-0534. (Posted March, 2015.)
Bethany Lutheran Church, 1375 Friedensburg Road, Reading, PA 19606, is seeking an Organist or Pianist for one Sunday morning worship service with a small choir. Call (610) 779-4620 for more information; resumes can be sent to the church at the address above. (Posted January, 2015.)
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 January, 2015.)
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.
Mrs. Teresa A. Kissling, Dean – email@example.com
Mr. John C. Brewster, Sub-Dean – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Kevin R. Kline, Treasurer – email@example.com
Mrs. Miriam I. Borkert, Secretary – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Lee Ferrier, Executive Committee –email@example.com
Mrs. Marjorie Fitz, CAGO, Executive Committee –firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Annamae R. Loose, Executive Committee –ALoose1024@comcast.net
Mrs. Kimberly F. Ayrton, Executive Committee –email@example.com
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org