Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 16:14 pm

Message from the Dean 

The newly-formed Fayetteville-Sandhills Chapter is off to a good start.  We had a beautiful and very meaningful Installation of Officers service at the Village Chapel, hosted by Stephen Gourley. The dinner was very good, and it was good to meet and talk together.  The October Spooktacular program is coming soon – to be held on Oct. 24 at 7 pm.  The venue for this will be Haymount UMC.

As I look back on my 43rd year as a professional church organist, I realize how fortunate I have been to have been able to do this.  There have been many changes in the church music world over the years, and there has been a drift away from the “traditional” worship of the 1950’s and 60’s, and a move to more “contemporary and popular” styles of music.  Teen-agers and young adults seem to be more drawn to this form of worship.  Many churches do not even use the organ anymore.  (My own sister told me that she would never attend a church that used a pipe organ!)
This is a problem that we need to help to rectify.  It would be nice if the organ could be seen as a stand alone instrument, and not only as part of a church.  It is a very specialized and categorized instrument, unlike any other.  If you say “organ” people automatically think “church”. If you say “violin”, there is an infinite variety of places and styles that would come to mind. My question is : how can we as organists promote the instrument and preserve it as something in its own right?  Hopefully, we can put our heads together and come up with some ideas to expose the instrument to the community as more than just a church instrument.  Perhaps a field trip for our area schools with a demonstration of various instruments.  We could have an “organ camp” and have it covered in the newspaper, as the Highland Presbyterian Handbell camp was covered this summer.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  I think the Spooktacular program is a good start in this direction.   I also think a series of noon concerts on a Friday might be a good idea at one of the downtown churches. These would be about 30 minutes long, with a variety of styles, and could be followed with a light lunch.  That is one of my goals as Dean – to make the organ more visible in the community, and not just as a “church” instrument.

I have been thinking about Psalm  96 – Sing to the Lord a new song.  Interesting that the Hebrew says “Shiru” which is plural – Everyone and all things sing to the Lord.  It is our ministry to lead and guide the congregation in singing to the Lord.  This Psalm really is commanding us to be happy.  Singing can make us feel better and by praising God through music, we also are healed, and we can have a better outlook on life.  Let this be our purpose as we seek to  lead the congregations we serve in worship.  It also says “shir hadash” – a new song.  God wants us to use our creativity.  We need to expand our view and look for new ways and new music to enhance the congregations experience in worship.

Soli Deo Gloria!



Local Events

Friday, October 24, 7:00 PM – Spooktacular Concert; Haymount United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, NC; Performers needed

Sunday, November 2, 5:00 PM – The Village Chapel Music Series – Duke University Chorale; Rodney Wynkoop, conductor; program includes Faure Reqiuem with Stephen Gourley, organ; The Village Chapel, Pinehurst; No admission charge, donations accepted



Spooktacular Concert flyer



Membership coordinators Homer Ferguson and Michael Howe may be contacted at homer.ferguson@asu.edu and music@brownsonchurch.org.



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

For posting in the chapter newsletter, please contact Stephen Gourley at stephengourley@my.unt.edu.





Contact Us

For website or newsletter information, please contact Stephen Gourley, webmaster at stephengourley@my.unt.edu

Executive Board

Dean—Diana Kirkpatrick

Secretary—Monica Sparzak

Treasurer—Marcia Heirman-Mervin

Membership Coordinators—Homer Ferguson and Michael Howe

Newsletter Editor/Webmaster—Stephen Gourley

Chaplain—The Rev. Dr. John Jacobs




AGO National website