Saginaw Valley Chapter

Last updated: May 10, 2017 at 7:45 am

Message from the Dean 

April 2017

Greetings Everyone and Happy Spring!

If I didn’t have a calendar, I would know that spring is upon us. 10 deer crossed my side yard last evening, the squirrels have been very busy, and two turkeys were hanging out in my neighbor’s yard last week (who knows what they were doing!!!). I hope that each and every one of you has been enjoying these wonderful signs of our next season here in Michigan.

As you can see below, there are many events forthcoming in the area. Please plan to attend any or all of these when you can and support your colleagues and friends.

Please contact either me or Bob Sabourin with program ideas for our 2017-2018 season which will be our 60th anniversary as a chapter.  I would like this to be an extra special year for all of us.

Please see the schedule below for our remaining two events of our program year and plan to attend these events. Installation of officers will take place at the July 2 Patriotic Program.

The Annual Kent Dennis Scholarship Competition will take place this coming Friday, March 31, at 5:00 at Memorial Presbyterian Church, Midland, MI. If you are available, consider attending the competition to hear the young talent in our area.
There are two competitors this year, and we look forward to hearing them perform.
Thanks to Nicholas Schmelter, Coordinator of the Dennis Scholarship Committee, for attending to all of the details of this event.

For those of you who are counting down to Holy Week and Easter, Godspeed to you as you serve with diligence, energy, and confidence that you are indeed making a difference in your various faith communities. What we do as church musicians IS important and DOES impart the good news as we sing, ring, and play!

Best wishes to you all,
Steven Egler


Involve yourself with chapter events and always invite a friend to attend these events with you.

Acquaint yourself with the chapter leadership and communicate your constructive concerns to them.

 Participate in and attend chapter programs.
 Volunteer to serve on any of the following chapter committees:
 Nominating
 Dennis Scholarship
 Membership Directory
 Hospitality
 Publicity
 Become active with the volunteer leadership board/executive committee.
 Suggest program ideas to the Sub-Dean and Dean.
 Consider hosting a chapter event at your church.
 Practice every day or as often as you are able.
 Read The American Organist every month.

Steven Egler, D.M.A.
Professor of Music (Organ)
104 School of Music
Central Michigan University
Mt. Pleasant, MI 49959
Dean, Saginaw Valley Chapter
American Guild of Organists

Proposed Slate of Officers, 2017-2018

Saginaw Valley Chapter

Steven Egler, Dean
Robert Sabourin, Sub-Dean
Robert Van Nostrand, Treasurer
Calla Ringgenberg, Secretary
Adrienne Wiley, Member-at-Large
David Hammond, Member-at-Large
Matthew Benkert, Member-at-Large 2016-17
Nicholas Schmelter, Member-at-Large 2017-18

*All terms are two years and expire July 1, 2018.
Nicholas Schmelter will be completing Matthew Benkert’s term.

Nominating Committee:

Patricia Bowen, Director
Mair Alsgaard
Yvonne Becker

Programs for 2016-2017 are:

The final program of the season on July 2, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bay City, MI is the annual Patriotic Program. It will feature members of the Guild as organists and Exultate Deo Chamber Choir performing patriotic hymns, organ and choral music. Installation of A.G.O. officers will take place.

All programs are open to the public free of charge. For more information please check the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists Facebook page.

Members of the Executive Committee: Steven Egler, Dean; Robert Sabourin, Sub-Dean; Robert VanNostrand, Treasurer; Calla Ringgenberg, Secretary;  Matthew Benkert, David Hammond, Adrienne Wiley, Members at Large.

[as well as]

Non-EC Personnel and Committee Coordinators and Chairperson:
Patricia Bowen, Chairperson of Nominating Committee (Mair Alsgaard and Yvonne Becker)
James Gladstone, Coordinator of Wide Publicity
Karen Graef, Coordinator of Membership Directory
David Hammond, Coordinator of Chapter Webpage
Nicholas Schmelter, Chairperson of Kent Dennis Scholarship Competition (Matthew Benkert and Adrienne Wiley)
Nicholas Schmelter, Coordinator of Chapter Facebook Page

Local Events

Trinity Episcopal Church in Bay City, The Rev. Susan C. Rich, Rector, announces its
series of Evensongs and music events for the 2016-2017 season.  For more information call 989-892-5813.

Dates for the 2016-2017 season include:

May 21, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Choral Evensong
The Trinity Choir and Guests
Robert Sabourin, Organist

July 2, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Patriotic Concert
The Ann Frisby Fitzugh Chapter of the DAR

All programs are open to the pubic free of charge.


Other Events in the State of Michigan


Sunday May 21, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Parish at the St. Helen campus, 2445 N. Charles in Saginaw, MI is proud to welcome Dr. Carl Angelo for an organ concert beginning at 6:00PM. there is a freewill donation suggestion of $10.00 for this concert.
For questions, please contact David Hammond


Other Events Outside the State of Michigan

Please visit the AGO web page at for more information.




Join the chapter’s Facebook

Other communications are sent via e-mail from chapter leadership.

Dennis Memorial Endowed Scholarship Benefits Organists
The Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists announces the 2017
Kent S. Dennis Memorial Endowed Scholarship to encourage and enrich the musical
education of present and future church or synagogue organists.
The scholarship is open to keyboard students of any age enrolled in high school or
college, and also adult students, residing in the area served by the Saginaw Valley
Chapter (including counties such as Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland,
Saginaw, and Tuscola) or studying with a teacher who is a member of the Saginaw
Valley Chapter. Awards totaling $750-1250 will be given for beginning study or further
study of the organ. Scholarships will be based solely on merit and will be paid directly to
the college or university or to an approved instructor on behalf of the student in
accordance with the Midland Area Community Foundation’s award distribution policy.
All application requirements of the Saginaw Valley Chapter and the Midland Area
Community Foundation must be completed by the posted deadline, March 1, 2017, to
quality for the scholarship.
If, in the opinion of the committee, no suitable candidate is eligible, the scholarship may
not be awarded. The amount of each award will be determined at the discretion of the
judges. The Midland Area Community Foundation reserves the right to accept or reject
the recommendations of the Saginaw Valley Chapter AGO.
Kent S. Dennis was born June 25, 1928, to William and Mabel Dennis in Donora,
Pennsylvania. A scientist, Dr. Dennis earned a BS degree in chemistry from Grove City
College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He received MS and PhD degrees from
Cleveland’s Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve). In 1954 he began
a position at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland before being drafted into the U.S. Army
for two years. He retired from Dow in 1986 after 32 years as a senior research associate.
Dr. Dennis was organist at The Bertha E. R. Strosacker Memorial Presbyterian Church in
Midland for 47 years, and was named organist emeritus in 2003. He played for more than
700 weddings and performed annual organ recitals for 46 years; he also taught many
organ students. His community involvement included frequent leadership terms for the
Saginaw Valley Chapter AGO, which he served three times as dean. He also served on
the board of managers of the Midland Center for the Arts and as president of the Midland
Symphony Orchestra. In 1987 the Music Society and Midland Symphony Orchestra
honored him with the Musician of the Year award. In 1997 he received the Grove City
College Alumni Achievement Award. In 2002, Dr. Steven Egler commissioned an organ
piece, “Fantasia on Dennis,” by David Gillingham in honor of Dr. Dennis. Having both
extraordinary technical and musical talents, Dr. Dennis built a pipe organ in his Alden
Dow-designed home. When his health declined, he donated the organ to St. Joseph the
Worker Church in Beal City, Michigan. Kent Dennis died on January 1, 2007.
The mission of the American Guild of Organists (, with approximately
20,000 members in more than 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad, is to
enrich lives through organ and choral music. To achieve this, guild members encourage
excellence in the performance of organ and choral music; guild members inspire, educate,
and offer certification for organists and choral conductors; guild members provide
networking, fellowship, and mutual support; guild members nurture future generations of
organists; guild members promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and, guild
members engage wider audiences with organ and choral music. Membership options vary
and include Chapter Friends. If you are not an organist, but would like to be affiliated
only with a local AGO Chapter, please join as a Chapter Friend. Chapter Friends support
the local Chapter, receive chapter newsletters, and participate in chapter events.
For more information about the American Guild of Organists, contact Nicholas
Schmelter, Saginaw Valley Chapter AGO, at 989.980.9912 or



Please visit the AGO national website at for detailed membership information.


Consider involving yourself in and with chapter happenings. Contact a chapter leader to volunteer. Do you have other talents to contribute with your colleagues?

– Participate in chapter programs.
– Serve the chapter’s Nominating Committee.
– Become active with the volunteer leadership board.
– Take an active role supporting new organists by serving the Scholarship Committee.
– Function in a role of hospitality at chapter events.
– Suggest program ideas to the Sub-Dean.
– Practice each day.



Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.

Job Posting

At this time there are no known open postings in the local area. When we are made aware of postings and have reviewed them, they will be posted here for a short time.

Contact Us

Steven Egler, D.M.A.
Professor of Music (Organ)
104 School of Music
Central Michigan University
Mt. Pleasant, MI 49959
Dean, Saginaw Valley Chapter
American Guild of Organists

Members of the AGO board include, Steven Egler, Robert Sabourin, Robert Van   Nostrand, Matt Benkert, Adrienne Wiley, Calla Riggenberg and David Hammond.


The prestigious Royal Canadian College of Organists.
England’s own Royal College of Organists.
The official website of the Organ Historical Society.
An indispensable, comprehensive site for anyone with a penchant for organ stop trivia.
Scores and midi files for an impressive collection of hymns.
A “virtual” trek through the great organ locations of Britain.
The Web home of renowned Canadian organ builder Casavant Freres.

AGO National website