Reading PA

Last updated: June 13, 2018 at 15:37 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.

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Local Events

Calvary United Church of Christ, 640 Centre Avenue, Reading, presents organist Dr. Steven P. Katzenmoyer in a free organ recital on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at 3:00 p.m., featuring an eclectic mix of music, from J.S. Bach to the Muppets, Paul Hindemith to Michael Jackson, Georges Bizet to Queen, and more. The church is air-conditioned.

 

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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”

“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 Kansas City this summer. So, what will you be doing?

– Michael A. Baal, Editor

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Membership

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

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Placement

Zion United Church of Christ, 12 S. Second St., P. O. Box 97, Womelsdorf, PA 19567, is accepting applications for a part-time organist/adult choir director. There is one Sunday service at 10 a.m., plus occasional special services throughout the year, and weddings and funerals. The adult choir currently practices from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Sunday. Position is available beginning July 1, 2018. To inquire about the position, please contact Consistory President Cory Putt @ (610) 301-3335 or send your resume to the church at the address above.

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 301 W. Penn Ave., Robesonia, PA 19551, is looking for a part-time Organist/Pianist and Choir and Handbell Director. One service per week as well as Holiday services. Rehearsals for bells and adult choir once weekly. Those interested are invited to submit a resume via U. S. Postal Service to the church.

Schwarzwald United Church of Christ, 75 Church Lane Road, Reading, PA 19606, (610) 779-0850, is seeking a Part-Time Organist/Choir Director for Sunday Service at 10:30 a.m. (9:30 in summer) plus Holidays and Special Services. Instrument is a Moller pipe organ and there are both a children’s choir and an adult choir. Schwarzwald Church possesses bells for a bell choir. Mail resume to the church at address above or e-mail it to info@schwarzwalducc-pa.org. (Posted May, 2018.)

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 121 Church Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460, (610) 933-2195, seeks a part-time Music Director. Responsibilities include one Sunday morning service (Rite II) at 10:00 a.m., preceded by a choir rehearsal plus an additional choir rehearsal for youth members of the choir as needed; all other Holy Days in the Anglican Calendar (Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, The Easter Vigil, Ascension Thursday, and occasional services); Organist for Weddings – compensation $250; Organist for Funerals – compensation: $150. The work of the Music Director is under the supervision of the Rector. The instrument is a 1980 Austin Pipe Organ II/24; Annual salary is $20,000. The Music Director will work with the rector in planning worship. The ability to communicate effectively is an essential characteristic. Candidate should possess a strong knowledge of traditional Anglican liturgical and choral music. Gifts in teaching and creativity will help us to grow into our music vision. For more information about St. Peter’s please visit http://www.saintpeterschurch.net. Interested candidates should e-mail their resumes to musicatsaintpeters@gmail.com. Interviews will begin in May 2018. (Posted April, 2018.)

Holy Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church, 3121 Kutztown Rd., Reading, PA 19605, (610) 921-2729, is seeking an experienced organist for weekend masses, Thursday evening choir rehearsals, funerals, weddings, and special events. Resumes can be forwarded to novakangel@comcast.net. (Posted March, 2018.)

Community Evangelical Congregational Church, 51 Green Valley Rd., Sinking Spring, PA 19608, seeks a part-time organist for the 8 a.m. Sunday traditional service plus holidays/special services. Payment is per service, commensurate with experience; instrument is a 3-manual Allen Renaissance instrument; position will be available beginning in May. Visit the church website at www.communityec.org or call the church at (610) 670-1942 for more information. Applicants should submit resume with cover letter to Karen Blanchard, Director of Worship Arts, via U.S. mail to church address above, or via e-mail tokaren@communityec.org. (Posted February, 2018.)

Allegheny United Church of Christ, 1219 Kurtz Mill Rd., Mohnton, PA 19540, is seeking a part-time organist for Sunday services at 9:30 a.m., and to lead a choir for Easter and Christmas. Contact the Rev. Dr. Martha Smith, via e-mail at martismith419@gmail.com, or by telephone at (610) 401-0149. (Posted January, 2018.)

Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 421 Windsor St., Reading, PA 19601, seeks a part-time organist. Responsibilities include Sunday morning worship plus usual seasonal services. Instrument is a recently restored 36-rank E.M. Skinner organ. For additional information and/or to submit resume contact the church at the address above, or e-mail to holyspiritreading@gmail.com,, or contact the church office at (610) 376-0825. (Posted November, 2017.)

Wyomissing United Church of Christ, 2 Vermont Rd., (Gouglersville) 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 July, 2017.)

Bethany Lutheran Church, 1375 Friedensburg Rd., Reading, PA 19606, is seeking an organist (or pianist). There is one weekly Sunday morning service at 9 a.m. and a small choir. Submit resume via U. S. Postal Service to the church’s mailing address, or contact the church at (610) 779-4620. (Posted May, 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 wcotb2200@aol.com. (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 diane.fegely@live.kutztown.edu. (Posted June, 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 tpaa4@comcast.net, 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.

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Certification

 

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Contact Us

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

Mr. Lee Ferrier, Executive Committee – leecferrier@gmail.com
Member, Executive Committee – vacant
Mrs. Barbara F. Woods, Executive Committee – greenthumborganist66@gmail.com
Member, Executive Committee – vacant
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor – mb2al@verizon.net

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Links

AGO National website