Saginaw Valley Chapter

Last updated: May 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Message from the Dean 

May 2017

May and June 2017

Hello Everyone:

Our program year is coming to a close, and this year has been good: a variety of events with very positive comments all around.

The Hymn Festival on April 23 was a success, and I trust that many of you were able to attend this event. This is one of the best—if not THE best—things that we do: that is accompany and lead hymns as well as offer up our voices when we are not on the bench!

The Executive Committee will be meeting on May 27th and will be discussing plans for 2017-2018, our 60th anniversary year as a Chapter. Please contact me <egler1s@cmich> or Bob Sabourin <> if you have any suggestions for events.

Recipients of this year’s Kent Dennis Scholarship Fund monies are: Aislinn Eddy of Saginaw who will attend Martin Luther College in New Ulm to study Secondary Music Education; Melanie Willison of Midland will study privately. Congratulations to this year’s winners! Mair Alsgaard, Steven Egler, and Adrienne Wiley were judges for the competition which was held on March 31, 2017, at Memorial Presbyterian Church, Midland. Nicholas Schmelter, Director of the Dennis Scholarship Fund smoothly coordinated the event from start to finish.

Thanks to the Midland Area Community Foundation who administers the fund and disperses the scholarship awards.

In regard to the Dennis Fund, I’m excited that one of our longtime members has offered to contribute a very generous amount to the Fund so that we can offer significantly larger amount to the next generation of organists in the Great Lakes Bay Region. There will be more information about this project and how the membership might take part. Please stay tuned!!!

Our last official Chapter event, the Annual Patriotic Concert, is scheduled for July 2, Sunday at 4:00 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bay City. More information will be forthcoming from Bob Sabourin about this wonderful, annual event. Installation of A.G.O. Chapter Officers will take place during this program.

Sincerely and Best Wishes!
Steve 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

Saginaw Valley Chapter

The *Nominating Committee of the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the A.G.O. submitted the slate of officers for 2017-2018 which was approved by the Executive Committee at its meeting on May 27, 2017.
As stipulated by the National By-Laws, “Additional nominations may be made by petitions signed by at least five (5) Chapter Voting Members in good standing. Such petitions must be received [in writing or via email] by the Secretary prior to April 1, or within thirty (30) days after the notification of the members of the Chapter Nominating Committee’s slate, whichever is later.” The date of notification is May 31, 2017, so any petitions must be sent to Ms. Ringgenberg by June 21, 2017.
Secretary of the Saginaw Chapter is Calla Ringgenberg Her physical address is: 420 Forest Ave., Clare, MI 48617.

Proposed Slate of Officers, 2017-2018

Dean, Steven Egler
Sub-Dean, Robert Sabourin
Treasurer, Robert Van Nostrand
Secretary, Calla Ringgenberg
Member at Large, David Hammond
Member at Large, Nicholas Schmelter (completing Matthew Benkert’s two-    year term)
Member at Large, Adrienne Wiley

*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;  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

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:

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



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