Reading PA

Last updated: June 14, 2019 at 21:02 pm

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.

gray-bar-1px

Local Events

Mid Atlantic Regional Convention, American Guild of Organists, takes place June 30, through July 3, 2019, hosted by the Southeast and Southwest Jersey Chapters.

Maidencreek Church, 261 Main St., Blandon, hosts the Reading Chapter “Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza!” program on Saturday, October 5, 2019.

 

gray-bar-1px

Newsletter

“2018 Young Organist Scholarship Winner”

Reid Simmons, Twin Valley High School, Grade 10, son of William & Barbara Simmons is the winner of the Reading Chapter, AGO, Young Organist Scholarship for 2018 – 2019. Reid’s organ teacher is Beverly Perella. 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 http://www.readingmusicalfoundation.org.

“From the Editor”

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, I served as one of the judges for the Reading Musical Foundation’s annual scholarship auditions. In addition to hearing piano auditions in two different age brackets, I would have been one of the judges for the Reading Chapter’s Young Organist Scholarship. Unfortunately, no one applied for our scholarship this year.

The Reading Eagle Religion section in the Saturday, February 23, 2019, edition featured an article that highlighted the challenges many churches, especially smaller churches, encounter when they need to find a new organist. Susan Peña’s article focused on St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Morgantown, which is now using their organ’s digital playback feature to provide pre-recorded service music and hymns for most regular worship services. A church leader explained, “We had a history of getting kids from Twin Valley who were musically inclined to play, but we ran out of organists; the kids weren’t interested anymore. And to get a [professional] organist, which costs $125 to $150 a week, wasn’t possible for a small congregation like us.”

Given the shortage of organists these days, Ms. Peña reported, “The Reading Musical Foundation, for the past few years, has been attempting to address the problem by offering the Lee G. and Marian M. Kachel Organ Scholarship as part of its scholarship program; this is for Berks County pianists in grade 9 through adults who are interested in learning organ to perform as a church organist.” After the article appeared, I e-mailed Ms. Peña to remind her that the RMF also offers our Reading Chapter scholarship as well as the Bruce Bengtson keyboard scholarship, which is a competitive award for more advanced keyboard players, including organists. I also noted that Jacob Leonowitz, a former St. Thomas Church organist who had returned to the church to help record the music for digital reproduction, had been our 2007 – 2008 Reading Chapter Young Organist Scholarship recipient. A few days later, the newspaper published a Letter to the Editor from Chapter Member Bruce Bengtson, in which he responded to the article and detailed the scholarship award that had been established in his honor.

Ever since the establishment of our Young Organist Scholarship Fund, when the Reading Chapter has presented Members’ Recitals they have served as fundraisers for the Scholarship. Thanks to a concerted appeal for donations several years ago, our scholarship fund has become largely self-sustaining. But raising funds was never the only reason for presenting our Member’s Recitals in churches across the length and breadth of our Chapter’s reach: each recital was an opportunity to inform an audience in another community of our Young Organist Scholarship, to celebrate organs and organists, and to remind the community of the need to encourage another generation to consider taking up the instrument.

– Michael A. Baal, Editor

gray-bar-1px

Membership

The Chapter Treasurer normally coordinates all membership matters for the Reading Chapter.

gray-bar-1px

Placement

Schwarzwald Lutheran Church, 250 Church Lane Rd., Reading, PA 19606, is seeking a part-time Organist and/or Director of Music. (Two positions, or may be combined into one.) Organist’s responsibilities include one Sunday morning service plus special services/holidays and accompanying choir(s) one evening per week. Part-time position is estimated to average 10 hours per week. Director of Music is responsible for 3+ choirs; hand bell choir; directing summer youth music and drama camp (one week); and coordinating, overseeing, maintaining, and growing musical aspects of the church. Part-time position is estimated to average 15 hours per week. Salary(s) commensurate with experience; all candidates will be considered regardless of their education status, experience, or current salary. 4 weeks vacation; annual raise. Send letters of interest and resumés to Church, 250 Church Lane Rd. Reading, PA 19606, or e-mail administrator@schwarzwaldlutheran.org. (Posted June, 2019.)

Frieden’s United Church of Christ, 337 Main St., Oley, PA 19547, is seeking a part-time Organist/Director of Music. Responsibilities include one Sunday worship service and one choir. Choral and worship experience is preferred. Resumes can be e-mailed to office@friedensuccoley.org. (Posted April, 2019.)

Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1327 Alleghenyville Rd., Mohnton, PA 19540, is seeking a part-time Music Director. Responsibilities include playing organ for weekly traditional worship services and leading adult and bell choirs, arranging for special music and musical events, and cooperating with the pastor, praise team leadership, and church staff in fostering the worship life of the congregation. Approximately 15 hrs./week; compensation based on experience. Contact Heidi Ramsbottom, Personnel Team, with any questions at (717) 468-5308. Resumes from interested persons can be e-mailed to the attention of the Personnel Team at office@aelc.org. (Posted April, 2019.)

Wyomissing United Church of Christ (Gouglersville), 2 Vermont Rd., Reading, PA 19608 is seeking a part-time organist/choir director. Responsibilities include Sunday morning worship plus usual seasonal services; adult, children’s, and bell choirs. Instrument is a new Rodgers 3-manual digital organ. Send resume with cover letter to wyomissingucc@verizon.net; call (610) 777-3772 with questions or for additional information. (Posted October, 2018.)

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.

gray-bar-1px

Certification

 

gray-bar-1px

Contact Us

Mr. John C. Brewster, Dean – jbrewster@adventonline.net
Sub-dean – vacant
Mr. David S. Wagner, Treasurer – dfwag3343@comcast.net
Mrs. JoAnne M. Lutz, Secretary – rnjsing@outlook.com

Mr. Lee C. Ferrier, Executive Committee – leecferrier@gmail.com
Ms. Joyce A. Maurer, SPC, Executive Committee – noelstar1225@gmail.com
Mr. Matthew D. Wary, Executive Committee – mdwary@dejazzd.com
Mrs. Barbara F. Woods, SPC, Executive Committee – greenthumborganist66@gmail.com
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor – mb2al@verizon.net

gray-bar-1px

Links

AGO National website