Saginaw Valley Chapter

Last updated: November 17, 2017 at 7:14 am

This is a note to all members regarding a change to the Executive Committee.


Due to serious health issues over the summer, our good friend and longtime Treasurer, Robert Van Nostrand, resigned his position as Treasurer of our Chapter.  As per the A.G.O. Chapter Management Handbook, I nominated and received unanimous approval by the Executive Committee to appoint Brenda Hayden, Director of Music, Trinity Lutheran Church, Midland, to succeed Bob for his term which ends on June 30, 2018.

We welcome Brenda as our new Treasurer and look forward to working with her. As Treasurer, Brenda will conduct all business related to the Chapter’s finances .  Patti Bowen and  Karen Graef have been added to the account as signatories, in the event that Brenda is unavailable to conduct her duties as Treasurer.

We wish Bob well in his ongoing recovery, and if you’d like to contact him, his new address is:

Robert Van Nostrand
734 North Pine Road, #7
Bay City, MI 48708
C:  989.450.4840

Steven Egler

Message from the Dean 

Dean’s Column for November!

Time for costumes, pumpkins, and mistletoe!

In addition, we church musicians enter one of the busiest times of the year!

You’ve already received from me the announcement of our next AGO event: The Annual Kent Dennis Memorial Recital at Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1305 Ashman St., Midland.  The date is Sunday, November 12, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Adrienne Wiley, Organist at MPC and Professor of Piano at CMU, will perform a cornucopia of music for organ and piano.

It’s amazing that five years have passed since the installation of the Letourneau Organ at MPC in 2012.

This will also be your opportunity to contribute to the Kent Dennis Scholarship Fund. As many of you know, we received a very generous contribution to the fund from one of our member’s summer, and so far we have reached $13,000 in new contributions towards our goal of $50,000 in the principal which is administered by the Midland Area Community Foundation.  Increasing the principal from the current $42,000 will enable us to almost double the annual award to over $2,000.  We are currently able to offer $1,250, so please be generous, either at the recital or by sending your check to MACF, 76 Ashman Circle, Midland, MI 48640.

No Chapter meeting or event is scheduled for December.

If you have not yet paid your annual dues, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Karen Graef, Membership Coordinator, is in the process of preparing an updated directory. Thank you, Karen!

If you have announcements for any church or other special events during the holiday season, please contact David Hammond directly to have them included on the webpage. or

As challenging as this time of year for all of us church musicians, catch a breath when you are able. A former member of my choir in Mt. Pleasant called them “one-minute vacations”!  It’s worth considering.   Highly recommended!

Also, please read the poem that I’ve attached below. Perhaps this will be a one-minute vacation for you.  (+_+).

Best wishes to everyone!


Steve Egler, Dean

PS If you have events to share on our webpage, please contact David Hammond , Webpage Master. directly: or

Steven Egler, D.M.A.
Professor of Music Emeritus (Organ)
Central Michigan University
Director of Music and Organist Emeritus
First Presbyterian Church
Mt. Pleasant, MI
Dean, Saginaw Valley Chapter
American Guild of Organists

Please enjoy the following poem written by Margaret Rorke who was a longtime member of First Congregational Church and resident of Saginaw. Her daughter Margaret “Peggy” Rorke and I attended the University of Michigan School of Music in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Peggy earned the PhD in Musicology and taught for over 35 years at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.  She recently shared this poem with me and is now in the process of digitizing the several hundred poems that were composed by her late mother.  SE

Church Organist

By Margaret Rorke (1915-2000)

The one who makes an organ speak
In worship’s pious tone
Upon that day in every week
Which is the Lord’s alone
Is given life’s most precious gift,
The highest human goal —
The power to reach and truly lift
Another fellow soul.

By fingertips the church is warmed
With music holy sweet.
The hearts who come because they’re stormed
With more than they can meet
Are carried to a higher realm
Upon inspired wings
Until they feel they’re near the helm
Of Him who knows all things.

The air is cleansed within the church
And cleansed is every thought
The brain might raise to soul besmirch
When those first strains are caught.
Each week at the appointed hour
Our worldly woes succumb
To one, Oh Lord, who has the power
To help “Thy Kingdom Come.”

(Used by permission of Margaret Rorke, daughter of the author.)

Saginaw Valley Chapter of the A.G.O.

Our next program
Oct. 1, 2017, Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

Saginaw Valley Chapter Fall Events are in BOLD below:

As more programs are announced, they will be posted here. Please check back regularly for updates.

The final program of the season will be on July 1, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bay City, MI. 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; Brenda Hayden, Treasurer; Calla Ringgenberg, Secretary;  Nicholas Schmelter, 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

Members Events

From Aislinn Eddy, one of 2017 Kent Dennis Scholarship Winners and a freshman at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN, has extended and invitation to us to view the streaming of the school’s Christmas Organ Recital this coming Saturday on which she will be performing.  Go Aislinn!

Hello Mr. Egler!

The Christmas organ recital at Martin Luther College is coming up this weekend! I figured it might be a nice event to invite my new friends in AGO to virtually attend. This has the potential to be a heart-warming and inspiring event: it features all young organ students studying to be pastors and teachers in the Lutheran church. Here are some details if you feel this is an event worthy of shooting out an email for!

Christmas Organ Recital at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN
– Saturday, November 18, 2017

– MN time: 11am, MI time: 12pm
– 42-rank Casavant Backer Memorial Organ in the Wittenburg Collegiate Center Auditorium
– Kent Dennis Memorial Scholarship Winner and fellow AGO member, Aislinn Eddy, will be performing “Fantasy on Tempus Adest Floridium” by Karen Keene


Other Events in the State of Michigan



Other Events Outside the State of Michigan

Please visit the AGO web page at for more information.



Join the chapter’s Facebook

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, Brenda Hayden, 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