Southwest Florida Chapter

Last updated: September 1, 2015 at 11:48 am

Message from the Dean 

Welcome to the Southwest Florida Chapter Web Site. We are happy to welcome new AGO members at any time. Our membership of over 70 people covers a wide geographic area from Port Charlotte to Naples. We have meetings and workshops during the year that will interest all church musicians. It is not necessary to have a degree in music to be a member. Membership categories range from student voting to regular voting. You may also join as a chapter friend.

Ric Jaeggi, Dean


Local Events

Upcoming News and Information as we finish our 2013-2014 season.

SW FL AGO News and Notes

(Local, Regional, and National)

Upcoming Local Events

SW FL May AGO Workshop and Annual Dinner Meeting Friday, May 9 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church 2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel 239-472-2173 Host:  Henry Glass (contact at:  314-691-2036) Dinner at 6:30 PM followed by a workshop at 7:30 PM with Bruce Neswick, clinician
This AGO evening begins with our annual May dinner and meeting.

This year, we will be electing officers to continue the leadership of the chapter, as the terms of all executive positions expire at the end of this season. 

The following positions must be filled and voted upon at this meeting in order for us to have a viable SWFL chapter during the 2014-2015 season:

Dean:   Involved leading the SW FL AGO chapter with responsibilities including communication to the membership and the Southeast region.  The dean oversees the development of programming for the year and handles all day-to-day business of the chapter. A 5-meeting annual schedule has been established which makes program development quite easy to establish.

Registrar/Treasurer:  Involves keeping the roster of members for the chapter as well as writes checks for any expenses incurred.  In the past, dues were collected by the treasurer.  However, this task is now easier because for the first time, dues will be collected on-line by the National AGO (see “national” below) which reduces the burden on this position.

Secretary:  Involves keeping records of meetings, correspondence, and website maintenance for the chapter.  Emails and websites have been set up for this purpose.

If you are interested in any of these positions or if you would like to nominate someone for these positions, please contact Ric Jaeggi at 239-454-7970 or email him at:  Without leadership during the 2014-2015 season, the chapter will struggle.  Please make every effort to do your part and volunteer to become an officer.  Thank you!

Following the dinner and meeting, Bruce Neswick will speak with the AGO and answer questions after the workshop.  It should be an informative meeting while giving us the chance to interact with one of the premiere clinicians/performers in the contemporary organ world.

Regional AGO News

A Word from Laura Ellis – Region IV

Greetings from your Region IV Councillor! One can always start a conversation with a stranger by talking about the weather. And, this year, the weather is sure providing plenty to talk about! I was recently sitting in the airport surfing the web and read that if the Cat in the Hat provided the weather report it might look something like this:

      I do not like to see clouds that turn,
      it makes my tummy jiggle and burn.
      I do not like those claps of thunder,
      that make my shoes rattle from under.
      So let me say with my weather sighs,
      tomorrow will be sunny with a side of fries! —The Cat

Spring will come. Since Easter is so late this year, perhaps we should have expected a long winter? Anyway, a few things to bring to your attention:

  1. POE’s are crucial to the future of our profession. Please encourage youth in your area to consider attending a Pipe Organ Encounter!  Check out the complete list (including POEA, POE-Tech, and POE+):  And, yes, there is a Facebook Page, too:
  2. If you are attending a POE, what about having your chapter host one??? These are fabulous events that are exciting for students, teachers, and chapter members . . . spending time with our young organists will make you believe that our profession has a great future!
  3. Has your chapter considered hosting a regional convention? What a wonderful way to highlight the resources in your area. Show the Southeast Region what your chapter has to offer! Interested? Contact me for more information!
  4. How about hosting a January Jubilee? Don’t know much about it? Click here:
  5. Get face-to-face with colleagues who are dedicated to the future of quality organ and choral music. Boston this summer, be there!
  6. Annual fund — Yes, we hear about it every year, but for a reason! The annual fund has two categories: chapter and individual. Does your chapter contribute? Do you contribute? A high percentage of participation in both categories assists the national organization as it puts together grant applications  . . . consider donating today.

See you at an AGO event soon!
Laura Ellis

E-mail: Region IV Blog:

Region IV Facebook page:

A Word From National…


March 7, 2014
Greetings from National Headquarters! As you may know, the Online National Collection and Remittal of Dues (ONCARD) will begin this spring for all chapters that wish to participate in the initial roll-out. Many members have been requesting online dues payments for many years. We are delighted this is now possible!
As part of the ONCARD program, the AGO National Council voted to adjust the dues split between National and local chapters without raising dues, which have been raised only once in the past six years. This change is especially pertinent to chapters. The National budget always includes payment for Chapter Liability Insurance on behalf of all the chapters. It is much less expensive for the national organization to purchase this insurance policy to cover all chapter and convention events, rather than for each chapter to purchase such an expensive policy—the cost would be prohibitive for small chapters.
The current cost of the insurance policy is approximately $44,000. Beginning with the 2014–2015 membership year, the national organization will retain $2 per chapter member to cover much of the cost of this insurance policy. Dual members will pay this $2 fee through their primary chapter, only. Please see the chart below.The AGO National Council has also addressed the credit card charges that our budget has had to absorb. Every credit card payment to the AGO has incurred a bank fee of 2% to 5.5%. We would like to assure chapters that they will not be charged any credit card fees for dues and contributions to chapters that are processed through ONCARD. This saving for the chapter will help offset the loss of $2 per member due to the new dues allocation.   How will credit card payments work?

  • AGO National will charge a flat $3.00 for each ONCARD transaction regardless of the amount of the transaction. For example, if someone is renewing their regular membership, their dues will be $97, and they will be charged $3.00 as an administrative processing fee. This fee is designed to cover the cost of the credit card fees that the AGO incurs for each credit card transaction. The member will thus pay $100.00 at “checkout.”
  • There is one exception to the $3.00 charge when making a credit card payment: a person making a contribution to National (and doing no other business) will not incur this fee; the credit card processing charge will be absorbed by National.
  • National will absorb 100% of the cost of all credit card fees charged for the chapter portion of the dues and payments or contributions to the chapter. In practice, this means that National will transmit to each chapter the entire amount of the chapter portion of each dues payment and the full amount of each contribution or other kind of payment made to the chapter.
  • National will remit monthly by check or ACH transfer to the chapter’s bank account all of the monies owed to the chapter. As noted above, this includes the chapter portion of dues, payments, and contributions.
  • National will pay 100% of the charges incurred for ACH transfers.

Can I still pay by check?

  • Yes. Individuals and chapters can send a check to AGO National Headquarters; there is no check processing fee to do so.

Are AGO membership dues being increased?

  • No. For 2014–2015, the dues will remain unchanged for the third consecutive year. In fact, since we also held the dues unchanged for a span of three years before increasing them three years ago, this will mean that the dues will have increased just once—for the 2012–2013 year—since the 2009–2010 membership year.

How are my dues divided between National and my local chapter?

  • For each dues-paying member, National will retain two dollars more than it did last year, and hence will remit to the chapters two dollars less per member. This money is specifically to be used to cover the cost of the liability insurance premiums that the AGO pays annually on behalf of all chapters. The coverage, which is in place for all chapters at all chapter events regardless of whether they specifically request it, provides $1 million dollars of liability coverage for every single chapter event regardless of the venue, and $2 million of coverage per year.

In Summary

  • Dues remain the same this coming year (2014–2015) as they have been for the last two years;
  • Members pay a service fee of $3.00 for each ONCARD transaction to cover the cost of the credit card processing fees;
  • National receives $2 more on the dues split to cover liability insurance costs for all chapters;
  • National covers the cost of bank charges for all payments and contributions members make to their chapters, as well as the ACH transaction fees incurred to remit monies to the chapters.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely yours, Calvert-Johnson-blue

Calvert Johnson Treasurer/Councillor for Finance and Development

REGULAR MEMBER 2013–2014 2014–2015
$97 annual dues
The American Organist $29.00 $29.00
AGO annual budget $29.00 $31.00
Local chapter




$37 annual dues
The American Organist


AGO annual budget


Local chapter




$72 annual dues
The American Organist $20.25


AGO annual budget $20.25 $22.25
Local chapter $31.50 $29.50
TOTAL $72.00


$72 annual dues
The American Organist None


AGO annual budget $33.00 $35.00
Local chapter $39.00 $37.00
TOTAL $72.00 $72.00



To submit information for this website or the chapter newsletter, e-mail



For membership information or application, please contact Jonathan Birner, at (239)261-7421 or


Q: Do I have to be employed as a full-time musician to join?
A: No. Anyone who loves organ music can join.
Q: Must I have a degree in music to join?
A: No, a degree in music is not necessary.



Opportunity Wanted:
Church Musician seeking position as choir director and/or part-time organist. Also, interested in interim, temporary, or substitute work. If looking for someone, please contact H.G. Fisher, Jr. at 239-437-4252 or email me at

Open Positions:

Wesley United Methodist Church of Marco Island, FL is seeking a part-time Traditional Music Director/Organist.  Review complete job description at – posted June 17, 2014

This space available to local churches at no charge.
E-mail ad to


Jonathan Birner (239)352-3350
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays

Karl Cole (239)732-5773
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Martha Cox (239)458-0721
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays,Sundays, Other weekdays

John Fenstermaker (239)262-6581 ex 207
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Herman (H.G.)Fisher (239)566-1416
Saturdays, Sundays (June, July, August)

Robert Fredrick (239)573-9754 cell
Sundays, Week-days, Funerals – Sub as needed position.

Alden Gatt (239)601-6722
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

John Geib (920)246-3933
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Dorothy Hartman (239)454-8651
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

Connie Hartt-Hitchcock (239)225-7281
Funerals, Saturdays

Michael Helman (239)542-2858
Weddings, Funerals

Richard Jaeggi (239)454-7970
Weddings, Funerals

David Jozaities (239)841-0263
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

James Kreger
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays

Paula Leighton (508)769-3713
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

Deborah Louth-Martin (239)598-2228
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Elena Melnikov (239)248-3810
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Judith Ollikkala (239)992-0318
Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

Eleanor Phelps (239)768-1220
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays,Other weekdays

Robert Phelps (239)768-1220
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

Douglas Renfroe (941)587-1140
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays (choral)

Mary Lou Roth (260)908-0094
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

Judy Weaver (239)693-5436
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Becky Weese (239)594-3411
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Other weekdays

Priscilla Wonkka (239)432-9285
Weddings, Funerals, Saturdays, Sundays, Other weekdays

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



Chapter Members with AGO Guild Certificates

Richard Crofts, AAGO
John Fenstermaker, AAGO
Norman Gregory, SPC
Dorothy Hartman, SPC
Mary Kent, SPC
Wayne Lenke, CAGO
Judith Olikkala, SPC

Certification information can be obtained by going to the AGO National website.


Marion Adams 239-481-8290 voice
Dorothy Bunck 239-482-8863 cello
Karl Cole 239-732-5773 organ
Martha Cox 239-458-0721 piano
Alden Gatt 239-601-6722 piano, theory,
John Geib 239-283-1441 organ, piano, voice
theory, conducting
Brice Gerlach 239-598-9204 piano
Norman Gregory 860-388-5526 piano
Michael Helman 239-738-6072 organ, piano
Connie Hitchcock 239-225-7281 piano, organ, theory
Richard Jaeggi 239-454-7970 organ, piano
David Jozaities 239-841-0263 organ, piano, theory
Ruth Keel 239-472-6858 organ, piano
James Kreger organ, piano
conducting, clarinet
James Lorenz 239-574-7122 organ, harpsichord
Deborah Martin 239-598-2228 organ, piano
harpsichord, early instruments
Elena Melnikov 239-593-5049 piano, theory
Alena Michel 239-283-3985 piano, theory
Jay Mumper 941-625-0736 piano
Robert Newell 239-593-7600 voice, theory
composition, conducting
Betty Pursley 239-682-3516 organ,piano
Douglas Renfroe 941-587-1150 voice, theory,
Judy Weaver 239-693-5436 piano
Becky Weese 239-594-3411 organ, piano


Contact Us

Officers for 2013-2014

DEAN Ric Jaeggi (239)454-7970

SECRETARY Brad Starner (239)898-0389

TREASURER-REGISTRAR Jonathan Birner (239)261-7421

Dorothy Hartmann (239) 454-8651

H.G. Fisher (239)566-1416

Norm Libby (239) 246-3510

Judy Prier (941)625-5970









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