Reading PA

Last updated: April 3, 2019 at 17:23 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.


Local Events

St. John’s (Hain’s) United Church of Christ, 591 N. Church Rd., Wernersville, presents Dr. George Kershner, piano, in recital on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at 3 p.m. as part of the Annie M. Gaul Concert Series. A freewill offering will be received, and a time of fellowship with refreshments follows the program.

Atonement Lutheran Church, 5 Wyomissing Blvd., Wyomissing, Pa. 19610, presents the Wheatland Chorale Concert, “The Unknown Region,” on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Ticketed event)

Atonement Lutheran Church, 5 Wyomissing Blvd., Wyomissing, PA 19610, presents Berks Youth Chorus’s Spring Concert, “Hear My Voice” on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $25/VIP, $15/adult, $10/student.

St. John the Baptist de la Salle Roman Catholic Church, Shillington, presents Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir in a concert, “Life,” on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15/adult, $5/student.

St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ, 1320 Spruce Street, Reading, presents organist Michael Baal in recital on Sunday, June 2, 2019, at 3 p.m. A freewill offering is being received, and a time of fellowship with refreshments will follow the program.




“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

“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 regional convention in southern New Jersey next summer. So, what will you be doing?

– Michael A. Baal, Editor



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



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 (Posted April, 2019.)

Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972, is seeking a part-time Music Director. Responsibilities include musical leadership of liturgy (two services most Sundays, Evening Prayer in Lent, etc.), directing a twenty-member adult choir, overseeing and working with praise team, fostering music with children – all with the purpose of leading the assembly in giving glory of God. Instruments include twenty-five-year-old, three-manual, 32-rank Schantz organ and a Boston grand piano in a setting with superb acoustics. 15 hours/week, salary based on musicianship and experience. For complete job description, follow the Music Director Position link at Send resumé with salary requirements to Jerusalem Lutheran Church at the address above. (Posted November, 2018.)

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; call (610) 777-3772 with questions or for additional information. (Posted October, 2018.)

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 (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 Interested candidates should e-mail their resumes to 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 (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 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 (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, or by telephone at (610) 401-0149. (Posted January, 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.





Contact Us

Mr. John C. Brewster, Dean –
Sub-dean – vacant
Mr. David S. Wagner, Treasurer –
Mrs. JoAnne M. Lutz, Secretary –

Mr. Lee C. Ferrier, Executive Committee –
Ms. Joyce A. Maurer, SPC, Executive Committee –
Mr. Matthew D. Wary, Executive Committee –
Mrs. Barbara F. Woods, SPC, Executive Committee –
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor –



AGO National website