Last updated: July 1, 2016 at 10:41 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.
First Presbyterian Church, 140 E. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17602, presents organist Ken Cowan in recital on Sunday, September 11, 2016, at 4 p.m. Mr. Cowan will perform on the church’s recently refurbished Aeolian-Skinner instrument. A freewill offering is being received.
Advent Lutheran Church, 16 Telford Ave., West Lawn, hosts the Reading Chapter, AGO, Choral Festival on Sunday, November 6, 2016, at 7 p.m. Chapter member F. Allen Artz, III, will conduct a combined choir of interested volunteers from across the area.
“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?
“2016 Chapter Elections”
Thank you to all those chapter members who participated in our recent election process. The results are as follows: Teresa Kissling was re-elected as Chapter Dean, and John Brewster was re-elected Sub-Dean, both of these are for two-year terms. Jane Hagness, D.M.A., AAGO, and David Wagner were elected to four-year terms as members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee. Congratulations, Teresa, John, Jane, and Dave, and thank you for your willingness to serve!
– Michael A. Baal, Editor
The Chapter Treasurer normally coordinates all membership matters for the Reading Chapter. Due to the recent death of Kevin Kline, please contact Reading Chapter Sub-Dean John Brewster regarding membership matters (see e-mail address below).
St. John Baptist de La Salle Roman Catholic Church, 420 Holland St., Shillington, PA 19607, is seeking a part-time Organist/Music Director for the parish. Contact Fr. Rich Clement if interested at 610-777-1697 (Office), Rectory: 610-777-1365, or Pastor’s Cell Phone: 610-451-8157. (Posted June, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (Posted June, 2016.)
Frieden’s United Church of Christ, 337 Main Street, Oley, PA 19547, is seeking a part-time Organist/Music Director. Responsibilities include one Sunday morning worship service, plus occasional special services, weddings, funerals, and adult choir, with the possibility of an additional youth choir. Resources include a 1927 Moller 2-manual 12-rank pipe organ and an electronic keyboard. Experience directing choral groups and playing Sunday worship services preferred. Salary is commensurate with experience. Submit resume to church at address above (attn: Music Committee) or via e-mail to email@example.com. (Posted May, 2016.)
Schwarzwald United Church of Christ, 75 Church Lane Rd., Reading, PA 19606, is seeking a part-time Organist/Choir Director. Responsibilities include playing organ and piano for worship services and directing children’s and adult choirs. Send resumés to the church at the address above or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Church telephone number is (610) 779-0850 for additional information or for any questions. (Posted May, 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 email@example.com, or call (484)772-5645 for more informtion. (Posted May, 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. 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 March, 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.)
Christ (Mertz) Lutheran Church, 16 Fleetwood Rd., Fleetwood, PA 19522, seeks a part-time Music Director (approx. 20 hours per week). Proficiency as a performer (organ and piano) and as a director are expected. Key qualifications include experience directing choral and other musical groups (bells, contemporary music groups), playing Sunday worship services, and familiarity with Lutheran liturgy. Compensation is commensurate with experience/skills. Interested candidates can submit resumes to the church at the address above (attn: Music Director), or via e-mail to Christ@christmertz.org. (Posted November, 2015.)
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 660 N. Charlotte St., Pottstown, PA 19464, seeks a Minister of Music to join the ministry team. Responsibilities (15 – 20 hours per week) include providing organ and choral music for all Sunday and special services, as well as overseeing praise band, handbell choir, children’s choir, and festival orchestra. Successful candidate will work well with all ages, possess a working knowledge of church music, and pass all criminal background checks. Complete job description available at church website, or call (610) 323-9320 for more information. Submit resume to church at address above or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by November 1, 2015. (Posted October, 2015.)
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Organ Search. (Posted July, 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 email@example.com, 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.)
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. John C. Brewster, Sub-Dean – email@example.com
Treasurer (Acting) – please contact the sub-dean, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Kimberly F. Ayrton, Secretary – email@example.com
Mr. Lee Ferrier, Executive Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jane K. Hagness, CAGO, Executive Committee – email@example.com
Mr. David S. Wagner, Executive Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Barbara F. Woods, Executive Committee – email@example.com
Rev. Michael A. Baal, D.M.A., AAGO, Newsletter/Website Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org