Southwest New Jersey

Last updated: November 5, 2015 at 16:40 pm

Message from the Dean 

November, 2015

It’s November and that means fall and Thanksgiving – my favorite season and holiday! All the food and family of Christmas without the cold and stress. In order to postpone the inevitable rise in blood pressure that comes with thoughts of Christmas, I’ve decided to be very cliche and list a few things for which I am thankful.
1) I am thankful to be doing a job that I love. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the quote, “Love what you do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
2) I am thankful for supportive colleagues. Many of you have shown up to several events that I have been in charge of over the last few months. Your support means a lot, and I hope to be able to return the favor the coming months.
3) I’m thankful for what I do. I had an English teacher in college who also happened to be an organist. He was fond of saying that when he thought about what heaven was going to be like he heard lots of organ music (I got lots of A’s in his class). While we don’t know what music will be like in heaven we do know we will be in a constant state of worship. As organists/choir directors, our profession affords us the great privilege of leading in worship every week, a profession that does not end at death, but continues into eternity. What other profession can say that?

Rob Hobgood – Dean

Saturday, November 14 at 10AM at Haddonfield Methodist Church:
Masterclass with Daryl Robinson, the newest faculty member of Westminster Choir College’s organ department.
Sunday, November 15 at 7PM at Haddonfield Methodist Church:
Guest Recital by Daryl Robinson. Just thirty years old, Daryl brings to us an exciting program including the Bach Prelude and Fugue in D (BWV 874), Brahms Fugue in A-flat minor, two hymn settings by George Shearing and the Liszt Prelude and Fugue on BACH. His teachers have included Ken Cowan, David Higgs and other stars of the organ world.
Saturday, January 16, 2016 is the annual Jump Start conference at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.
Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 4 is the Annual Guild Service at First United Methodist, Glassboro, planned and hosted by Bill Mitchell and featuring hymns, anthems and special musical guests.
Our clergy dinner will follow at a local restaurant.
Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 3:30 will be a program of Organ and Instruments at Martin Luther Chapel in Pennsauken, Lia Gerkin hosting. Salem County Brass will perform, and members are invited to participate as well – contact Larry DePasquale.
Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 10 we will host editor and publisher Wayne Leupold as he presents and discusses his latest project, the New Bach Editions. Watch for more details.
Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 4 is our annual Members’ Recital at First Presbyterian Church, Bridgeton, Gae Finch hosting.
Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 7 Glenn Rodgers will host at First United Methodist, Moorestown, a return of Jeannine and David Jordan with a new presentation “From Sea to Shining Sea,” a narrated musical and historical recreation of 200 years of the organ in America.

Watch this space! We will update announcements throughout our 2015-2016 season.

CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE We have Chapter Scholarships available for persons interested in learning to play the organ. The Scholarship provides 14 free lessons for any pianist who is at an Intermediate level of pianistic ability. Members who teach piano may have a student who would be interested. For information contact Chair of Scholarship Committee Vernon Williams (856-235-0811;


Local Events

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 at 4PM: Dr. Christopher Daly will perform an organ recital at the Church of Saint Vincent Palloti.  The parish has recently installed four sample sets from the Hauptwerk system (English Parish, French Baroque, Dutch Baroque, and French Romantic), and this program will make use of each virtual instrument.  Selections from Marchand, Buxtehude, Bach, Balbastre, Mendelssohn, Franck, and Langlais will be performed.  The recital is free of admission charge and everyone is warmly welcome.  The church is located at 901 Hopkins Road in Haddon Township.

Sunday, November 8 at 3PM at First United Methodist Church of Moorestown: Organist Glenn Rodgers in recital. 446 Camden Ave. Moorestown NJ 08057.

Sunday, November 15 at 4PM at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Haddon Heights: Organist Joe Russell in recital. White Horse Pike and Green Street, Haddon Heights, NJ 08035. Free will offering.

Sunday, November 15 at 7PM at Haddonfield Methodist Church: Organist Darryl Robinson in recital. Co-sponsored by our chapter.

Sunday, November 15 at 7:30PM at First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown: Organist Jim Roman in recital featuring works by Alain, Bach, Buxtehude, Fuzzy, Gigout and others. Free will offering. 101 Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057.

Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 7 p.m. — PICS & PIPES — Organist Wayne Zimmerman accompanies the silent film “College” starring Buster Keaton. The event is sponsored by “Music Around the County/Salem County Arts Alliance.”  Admission is free.  Alloway Baptist Church, 41 West Main Street, Alloway NJ.

Sunday, December 6th, 2015 7:00 pm at Deerfield Presbyterian Church, Deerfield Street, NJ: Annual Christmas Recital with Gary Seydell, tenor, and Lydia Calhoun, clarinet, accompanied by Evelyn R. Larter, piano. The program will feature selections from a newly released CD, Carols for the King from Around the World. There is no admission charge; a freewill offering will be received. The recital will be followed by a “Meet the Artists” reception. For more information or directions call (856) 455 1222, or visit

Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm: Candlelight Procession and Advent Lessons and Carols
The Choir of Saint Mary’s Church (Lee F. Milhous, Organist and Choirmaster) will sing Ord’s Adam Lay Ybounden, Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Oxley’s Linden Tree Carol, Adelmann’s Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, and Palestrina’s Matin and Vesper Responsory. The congregation will join in the singing of traditional Advent hymnody. Saint Mary’s peal of English Whitechapel tower bells will be rung beginning at 3:45 pm. Reception Follows in the Guild House. Free-will offering. Handicapped Accessible. For information, contact Lee Milhous at 215-348-8872,, or visit

Sunday, February 21st, 2016 4:00 pm at Deerfield Presbyterian Church, Deerfield Street, NJ: Benjamin Shute, baroque violin, performing with duo partner, Anastasia, on the harpsichord, in a program of music from the era in which the historic sanctuary of Deerfield Presbyterian was built. There is no admission charge; a freewill offering will be received. The recital will be followed by a “Meet the Artists” reception. For more information or directions call (856) 455 1222, or visit

Sunday, May 1st, 2016 4:00 pm at Deerfield Presbyterian Church, Deerfield Street, NJ: Trevor Babb, classical guitar, and SWJAGO chapter member, James Roman, organ, sharing the stage for the final program in the series. There is no admission charge; a freewill offering will be received. The recital will be followed by a “Meet the Artists” reception. For more information or directions call (856) 455 1222, or visit

CHAPTER EMERGENCY FUND Our Chapter has begun the sponsorship of a fund to provide short-term emergency aid to Chapter members who find themselves temporarily in need of assistance. No dues money will be used for this aid, but tax-deductible contributions will be welcome at any time, and the free-will offering from this year’s Members’ Recital has been dedicated to this fund. A committee of three, consisting of the Dean, the Chair of Professional Concerns, and another member of that committee, will award aid as the need arises. Any Chapter member may recommend a member in good standing who, for reasons such as illness or unemployment, deserves our help, by contacting the Dean or the Chair of Professional Concerns. All cases of course will be confidential. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send your tax-deductible donation (made out to SWJersey Chapter AGO) to our Treasurer Gail Gassaway, marked for “Musicians’ Emergency Fund.”

CHAPTER PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE– Our Professional Concerns Committee has published the first edition of the brochure SO YOU’RE THINKING OF HIRING A CHURCH MUSICIAN… Topics included are, Where to begin your search, the AGO Code of Ethics as applicable to hiring procedures, Formula for Determining Workload, as well as a Worksheet for Determining Workload, Job Description Form, Guidelines for the Interview and Audition, sample Working Agreements, and a copy of our latest edition of Guidelines for the Compensation of Church Musicians. These brochures will be sent by our Placement Director to all institutions listing positions in our publications and website; you may also request a copy from the Professional Concerns Committee Chairperson. Also available from the Professional Concerns Committee – “Guidelines for Compensation” (see below); Sample “Working Agreement for Church Musicians;” and “Copyright Law Simplified” (revised Sept. 2005).


Based on a response of 32% of the membership, the following recommendations represent reasonable expectations for compensation in our geographical area. (Topics of further interest, such as other forms of compensation, budgets, benefits, etc. will be posted in the coming weeks.) A printed version of the Guidelines is also available – please request your copy from The Professional Concerns Committee (see Contact Us below). The guidelines below are based on ONE SERVICE 52 weeks per year. For each additional Sunday service ADD 30% to the salary base. For weekday or Saturday services, and services of a different format, add $150 or more per service.

  • Organist only, no choir: (6 to 8 hours per week) With Private study – $7,200-7,800 With a Service Playing Certificate – $7,920-8,580 With Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $8,360-9,625 With Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $9,350-11,140 With Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $10,230-12,650
  • Organist OR Director, 1 choir: (7 to 15 hours per week) With private study – $8,750-11,100 With SPC – $9,625-11,210 Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $10,395-12,760 Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $12,210-14,410 Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $15,950-19,060
  • Organist OR Director, 2 choirs; OR Organist/Director, 1 choir: (14 to 22 hours per week) With private study – $10,400-14,500 With SPC – $11,440-15,950 Bachelor in Music or CAGO – $12,210-20,020 Master in Music or AAGO, ChM – $13,200-21,560 Doctorate in Music or FAGO – $16,940-24,225
  • Organist OR Director, 3 choirs; OR Organist/Director, 2 choirs: (18 to 28 hours per week) $21,010-48,950 depending on nature of position and qualifications of musician.
  • Organist OR Director, 4 or more choirs; OR Organist/Director, 3 or more choirs: ( 40+ hours per week) $37,180-89,100; positions of this nature are full time and demand salary plus benefits, depending on the scope of the position and qualifications of the musician.

Pay for Substitutes: For a basic service consisting of one Sunday service and no choir rehearsal, the recommended fee is $150 per week. Additional contiguous services should command an additional $100 per service. Additional weekday or Saturday services should command an additional $150 per week. Non-contiguous rehearsals should command $75 per rehearsal. Long-term substitutes should be paid in accordance with the Guidelines above. When travel is a consideration, paying mileage is appropriate.

Pay for Weddings: The resident organist shall play for all weddings, memorial services and funerals in the employing institution. If the resident is unavailable, a substitute may be employed. If the resident organist is available but an outside organist is requested by the family, the church organist is entitled to the regular fee. Wedding service fee – $150 to $250, not including any rehearsals. Each rehearsal (whether with wedding party, soloist or instrumentalist) – $75 additional. A deposit of $50 paid in advance to reserve the wedding date is recommended. Funeral and memorial service fee: $150, or higher if local custom dictates.


Salary and Training by David Rhody, Member of the Professional Concerns Committee The survey elicited 35 responses, or 32% of our membership. The SWJAGO membership continues to include highly educated musicians with 71% possessing degrees in music. These degrees include SPC, CAGO, AAGO, ChM, FAGO, B.A., B.Mus., and M.Mus. According to the 2011-12 Membership Directory, professional certification numbers are the following: SPC-11, CAGO-5 (including 4 who list both CAGO and SPC), AAGO-3, FAGO-1. The 2012 survey shows a wide disparity of salaries, which range from zero to $83,000 per year. Approximately 10% choose to volunteer as organists and receive no compensation for their service. The trend appears to be that salaries are very gradually rising, although they are much below the compensation levels of other professions. Positions with the highest salaries are held by members with degrees in music. The results are as follows (gaps in the figures occur where no one reported a salary: Category…Salary…..Percent of answers A. 6-8 hours per week… $3,900-7,000……..17% B. 7-15 hours per week.. $10,555-30,000……11% C. 14-22 hours per week..$19,480-28,000……26% D. 18-28 hours per week..$21,000-40,641……14% E. 40+ hours per week….$26,520-83,000……14%

Benefits by David Rhody, Chair of Professional Concerns Committee Based on responses to our survey, four-fifths of our members (80%) now receive one or more fringe benefits in addition to salary as part of their compensation, the most common being paid vacation (80% of respondents)ranging from 2 to 6 1/2 weeks, the most common being 4 weeks; and compensation for continuing education (26%). Another 11% have professional dues paid by their employer, and almost a quarter also receive paid major medical insurance, dental plan and pension (23%). Most of those respondents with benefits are in salary categories B, C or D as listed above. Members should remember when negotiating with their employers that benefits are often an attractive alternative to a pay increase in the eyes of the employing institutions, since they may involve tax consequences favorable to the employer. Our Professional Concerns Committee offers a sample “Agreement between Musicians and Religious Institutions” which you are welcome to request from David Rhody, Chair (856-795-6735;

Weddings and Funerals; Demographics by Joyce Ann Routon, Member of Professional Concerns Committee

Wedding Fees- These fees have remained about the same as on our last survey four years ago, varying from $110 to $250, with the majority still receiving $150-200. $250 – 3 people $200 – 9 $175 – 3 $150 – 12 $100 – 21

Funeral Fees- These fees also remain about the same. Fifteen people receive $150 or more, while two donate their services. $200 – 1 person $175 – 1 $150 – 13 $125 – 5 $100 – 6 Services donated – 2

Rehearsals- Most of you who are paid for extra rehearsals still receive $50. $100 – 1 person $50 – 5 $40 – 1 $25 – 2

Substitute Fees- The lowest fees reported are at least $35 higher than four years ago, but the fees still vary widely, with most asking $150. $300 – 1 person $200 – 2 $175 – 2 $150 – 8 $130 – 1 $125 – 4 $100 – 4 $80 – 1

Extra Services- Only three reported being paid for extra services, the rest reporting that extra services are considered included in their annual salaries. $200 – 1 person $133 – 1 $50 – 1

Pay Increases- The majority either receive pay increases annually or not at any time recently.
Annually – 12 people
Every 2 years – 3
Every 5 years – 1
Varies with the Economy – 2
Not recently – 9

Job Description Changes- Most have remained the same; but of the ones who have changed, their duties have been expanded. One church has reduced the number of services from 2 to 1. Another person still plays the same number of services, but at two different churches that have merged.

Duties Expanded – 6
Duties Reduced – 1
Signed Contract or Working Agreement- The great majority have no contract or working agreement.
Contract – 8
Job Description – 7
Verbal Agreement – 1

Denominations- The survey showed six denominations responding, with the majority being Presbyterian or Episcopalian.
Presbyterian – 9
Episcopal – 8
Lutheran – 5
Catholic – 4
Methodist – 4
Baptist – 1

Size and Attendance of Churches- There is a huge variation in the sizes of the churches where you are employed. The churches range from 70 members to 3500, while the attendance shows 25 to 600. The average percentage of attendance ranges from about 13% to 95%, with most falling in the 30% to 50% range.

Type of Community Served- Most of you work in a suburban community.
Urban – 4 people
Suburban – 21
Semi-Rural – 1
Rural – 3

When asked about employment issues that could be addressed at a Chapter meeting which would benefit you, only two replied. One requested seasonal anthem-reading sessions. The other was a plea for a way to explain to clergy, lay people and non-musicians how much work is involved in preparation for services and rehearsals.



JOIN OUR CHAPTER TODAY — Regular Membership categories: Regular Voting Member – $92 Over 65, Under 21, Disabled – $67 Full-time Student – $37 Partner Voting Member (second member at same address) – $67 Dual Voting Member (Regular member of another chapter) – $36 Student Dual Member – $15 Chapter Friend (non-voting) – $36 Please contact our Registrar for further information (see Contact Us below)



POSITIONS AVAILABLE Reminder – although a position no longer appears, that does not necessarily mean it has been filled. You may reach Placement Director William C. Mitchell at 856-589-7834.

SUBSTITUTE LIST This list is published as a courtesy to chapter members. The AGO assumes no responsibility for the musicianship or reliability of substitutes. Substitutes who have passed AGO certification exams are so noted. If there is an error in your listing, please notify us so we can correct it. You may reach the Chapter Hotline at 856-589-7834.

Note–This is the official Substitute List of SouthWest Jersey Chapter, American Guild of Organists. It is administered by William C. Mitchell.

These musicians are available on Sundays and also for weddings and funerals other days:

John Dow 856-327-1739 (Millville)
Sheila Huff 856-979-5513 (Mount Laurel)
Mary Johnson 856-332-8869 (Pine Hill)
George Mitchell 856-795-0970 (Cherry Hill)
Joanne Owen 856-769-3212 (Woodstown)
Kathleen White 609-267-3349 (Hainesport)

These substitutes are available for weddings and funerals or Saturday work only:

Evelyn Larter, CAGO 856-358-1112 (Elmer)
Lee F. Milhous 215-348-8872 (Burlington)
Marilyn Rabbai, CAGO 856-589-3901 (Pitman)

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



Would you like to prepare for or take one of the exams for AGO certification? Contact Ruth Fink, education coordinator: (856)829-6604.

These members currently hold AGO certification, as listed in our Membership Directory:

Rae Ann Anderson, CAGO
Miriam Bisbing, SPC
Alice Brown, SPC
Helen C. Carrell, CAGO, SPC
Mark A. Cole, SPC
Charlene Cranmer, CAGO, SPC
Lawrence DePasquale, CAGO
Ruth O. Fink, AAGO, ChM
Ethel H. Geist, CAGO
Evelyn Larter, CAGO, SPC
Sister Emily McMullen, SPC
Irina Nenartovich, CAGO, SPC
Marilyn Rabbai, CAGO, SPC
David L. Rhody, SPC
Glenn L. Rodgers, AAGO
Joyce Ann Routon, CAGO, SPC
Helen K. Taylor, AAGO


Contact Us

DEAN: Rob Hobgood, 919-349-7458
TREASURER and REGISTRAR: Gail A. Gassaway 856-848-6787
SECRETARY: Catherine O’Neill, 856-589-0192,
PLACEMENT COORDINATOR: William C. Mitchell 856-589-7834,
EDITOR AND PUBLISHER: Marilyn Rabbai, CAGO 856-589-3901
WEBMASTER: Marilyn Rabbai, CAGO (856)589-3901
NOMINATIONS: Evelyn R. Larter, Chairperson
CARES & CONCERNS: Catherine O’Neill, 856-589-0192,
PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS: David Rhody, Chairperson
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Class of 2016 – Robert E. Gladden Jr, Sr. Emily McMullen, William Mitchell, Stephen F. Obarski; Class of 2017 – Helen Carrell CAGO, Larry DePasquale CAGO, Joseph Krupa and Marilyn Rabbai CAGO; Class of 2018 – Peter J. Homon, Jr., Hugh Kronrot, Victoria A. Nichols, James J. Roman,III



Some of the world’s largest and most interesting organs are located in our area – here are a few of them:

Information concerning the Midmer-Losh organ in Atlantic City Convention Hall, including the newly published booklet “The Story of the World’s Largest Pipe Organ,” can be found at
For information on the large Hope-Jones Organ in the Ocean Grove Auditorium,
For the Wanamaker Organ at the Lord and Taylor Store in Philadelphia, see
The US Naval Academy Chapel, where our member Erik Meyer has been Assistant Organist, can be found at
And the Princeton University Chapel Mander Organ is featured at
Publications of the ORGAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY are available at
Compositions by ROBERT FARRELL for organ or choir are available free from the composer at

Links to other musical institutions in the area:

Westminster Choir College
The Philadelphia
The Curtis
The Bach Choir of
The Estey Pipe Organ (A Virtual Museum) is a new website devoted to the organs manufactured by the Estey Company in Brattleboro, VT, and may be found In addition to a listing of all opus numbers, the site includes hundreds of photographs of organs and the people connected with them. An on-going project, the site is always looking for additional materials about Estey pipe organs, especially those instruments which are still in existence. The site’s owner, Philip Stimmel, may be contacted by email at or by phone at 802-254-8470.

AGO National website