Wilmington Chapter

Last updated: November 29, 2017 at 16:21 pm

Message from the Dean 

Greetings from the Wilmington (North Carolina) Chapter! Founded in 1989, the Wilmington Chapter currently has a growing membership. While the majority of its members live in the greater Wilmington area, the chapter spans a large geographic area that includes southeastern North Carolina and portions of eastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. The Chapter meets monthly September through June. Each meeting includes a program which often is a concert performed by chapter members for the community, a lecture on a topic of interest or a guest artist recital. Many meetings feature a catered meal. The Wilmington chapter prides itself on presenting many concerts and events for the greater community. Many years, chapter members present a Hymn Festival for the Church Year, and a members’ organ recital. Chapter members also form the AGO Chamber Choir which performs a concert of the works of a major composer many years with chamber orchestra. The 2010 choral concert featured works of Benjamin Britten. Historic Wilmington, North Carolina, is located on the Southeastern coast of North Carolina and is home to many fine pipe organs. Builders represented include Austin, Bozeman, Casavant, Estey, Goulding & Wood, Noack, Pilcher, Schantz, E. M. Skinner, Taylor and Boody, and Visser-Rowland. For more information on the Wilmington Chapter, please contact Sara Bryant, Dean, at sara.w.bryant@gmail.com.


Local Events

Beckwith Recital Hall, UNCW: http://uncw.edu/music/events/events-calendar.html

  • Dec. 3, 7:30 PM, Celebrating Andy Whittington: UNCW jazz faculty, students and alumni celebrate the life, career and music of Andy Whittington, pianist, teacher, composer, mentor, friend

CFCC Fine Arts Center: http://cfcc.edu/capefearstage/tickets-and-events/

  • Dec. 2, 7:00 PM, Dec. 3, 3:00 PM, A Carolina Nutcracker by City Ballet, $
  • Dec. 6 & 7, 7:30 PM, The Sound of Music, $
  • Dec. 9, 3:00 PM, A Charlie Brown Christmas, $
  • Dec. 10, 4:00 PM, Wilmington Choral Society: “Frank-incense” and Myrrh: A Frank Sinatra Tribute, $
  • Dec. 16, 6:00 PM, Dec. 17, 3:00 PM, Wilmington Ballet Co. presents The Great Wilmington Nutcracker, $
  • Dec. 20, 7:30 PM, North Carolina Symphony: Classical Holiday Pops Concert, $

Church Concerts

  • Dec. 1, 7:00 PM, Coastal Carolina Christmas, St. Paul’s Episcopal, $
  • Dec. 12, 7:30 PM, Handel’s Messiah with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, St. Paul’s Episcopal $
  • Dec. 17, 5:00 PM, John T. Hoggard Holiday Choral Concert, First Presbyterian
  • Dec. 18, 7:30 PM, Tallis Chamber Orchestra Baroque Christmas Benefit Concert, St. Paul’s Episcopal
  • Dec. 22, 7:30 PM, Christmas at St. Paul’s, St. Paul’s Episcopal

Kenan Auditorium, UNCW: http://uncw.edu/arts/calendar.html

  • Dec. 1, 7:30 PM, UNCW Symphonic Band, $
  • Dec. 2, 3:00 PM, UNCW Honor Band Festival featuring North Carolina’s finest high school band students
  • Dec. 3, 3:00 PM, UNCW Department of Music presents the annual Tuba Christmas Carols concert (Independence Mall)
  • Dec. 4, 7:30 PM, OLLI New Horizons Band
  • Dec. 15, 7:30 PM, UNCW Presents the John Brown Big Band in a holiday concert, $
  • Dec. 19, 7:30 PM, UNCW Presents Da Howlies Holiday Luau w/their unique “Southern-Fried Hawaiian music”, $

Kenan Chapel, Landfall: http://kenanchapel.com/calendar/

  • Dec. 17, 5:00 PM, Annual Christmas Caroling



Greetings from the Dean

Dear Friends–

Those of us who work in churches are in one of the busiest times of the year. I hope that all of you are enjoying the season’s work and are finding some time to rest and refresh yourselves.

I look forward to seeing you at First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, December 3 for the Candlelight Tour Carol Sing. I am almost always playing the organ when carols are being sung so it will be fun to stand up and sing for a change. We are asked to arrive at 4:30 p.m., and the tour will begin at 5:00.

For the last few days, I have been thinking about what a wonderful gift the Wilmington AGO has been to me over the years. I have made many friends, learned a great deal, and have found support and help when I needed it.

One gift that stands out in my mind is something that happened not long after I joined the Wilmington Chapter. I had not been directing my choir for very long, and some of my singers told me they would like to sing a classical work. I decided on the Fauré Requiem. Now this may not sound like that big a deal to many of you, but I had never conducted anything of this magnitude. In fact, I had spent most of my church career accompanying. My choir was not very large either, and most of them had never sung anything like the Fauré Requiem. I did have a young soprano whose voice fit the “Pie Jesu,” and good tenor and bass soloists. Still, looking back, I realize that it was a crazy thing to do. However, my choir, many of whom probably thought I was crazy, supported my decision.

As I began preparing to work on the Requiem, I found out I needed help, a lot of help.  I couldn’t afford the instruments I wanted to use, even though I didn’t plan to use many. With some trepidation, I decided to call Dr. Larry Cook, Organist/Choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and former university professor. I greatly admired Larry, but I didn’t know him very well. I knew that his choir had sung the Requiem before. I wanted to ask Larry if he thought it would work to use just organ and one violin, which I could afford. It took me a couple of days to work up the nerve to call him.

When I told Larry my choir was going to sing the Fauré Requiem, he immediately said he was glad we were going to do it, that every choir should sing music of the highest quality. It turned out that he had already written exactly the violin part that I needed, having conducted the work with limited funds himself. Also, he offered to lend me some practice cassettes his choir had used, and also copies of the Rutter version of the score. I was amazed. When I went by to pick everything up, Larry handed me his personal copy of the conductor’s score with his notations in it. He took time to show me some parts of the work that would take extra work for my choir to learn. He called me a few weeks later to ask how things were going and answer questions I had.

My choir worked hard on the Requiem. The practice cassettes were invaluable; I didn’t know such things existed until Larry told me about them. We sang the work successfully, not a world-class performance, but successfully. This was due in large part to Larry’s generous help and support.

My choir was a different group after the Requiem, more confident and willing to sing new types of music. I myself was a different church musician. I realized how much I needed to learn about vocal technique. I started taking voice lessons, even though I knew my own voice was limited, and my lessons have been a joy for me.

All this happened a long time ago. Since them, I have been to several AGO conventions and met so many wonderful musicians. I have heard stories similar to mine, where highly accomplished AGO musicians have been generous to colleagues who asked for assistance and advice. Unfortunately, Larry Cook is no longer with us. He passed away in June. Our annual Chapter contribution to the AGO fund was made in Larry’s honor.

I know that many of you have had AGO experiences as valuable as this one was for me. I am sure that our new members will have stories of their own to tell in a few years.

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Advent, Christmas, and New Year!

Sara Bryant

PS: Our February program will be a progressive dinner and recital at St. Andrews-on-the-Sound and Windermere Presbyterian. If you are interested in playing part of the program, please contact Sara Bryant at sara.w.bryant@gmail.com. You would probably be playing for about ten or fifteen minutes. We had planned to include Little Chapel on the Boardwalk in this program, but David Heinzman, LCOB music director, won’t be able to host us this time. David needs a second hip replacement, and he just found out he can have it on December 26. Thisoperation should improve David’s life considerably. He will still be recovering on February 2. David asks that we keep him in our prayers.

Christmas Hymns

When the Rolls are Cooked by Wanda
Up From the Gravy
Let There Be Peas on Earth
What a Friend We Have in Cheeses (all our Brie and Camembert)
Blest be the Pies Combined
His Eye is on the Turkey
Come Thou Fount of Garlic Dressing
Take My Knife and Lima Bean
Pass Me Not the Jellied Salad
Just As I Yam

East Texas Pipe Organ Festival

Having missed the past few AGO conventions due to work scheduling conflicts, I wanted to find an event that celebrated the organ and allowed me to hear well-known organists in an enjoyable and relaxing setting.  Happily, I was able to find that in the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival.  Now in its seventh year, it is an independent organization and annual event that focuses on the Aeolian-Skinner organs that were sold, designed, and tonally finished by Roy Perry, and installed by the Williams family of New Orleans.  These organs have a unique sound that are incredibly expressive and allow, in my opinion, music to be heard in a new light in exciting ways.  While I had heard many of the pieces played during the festival’s thirteen organ recitals, they all sounded refreshing.  Some of you may have heard these famous organs in Kilgore, Longview, and Shreveport on recordings from the King of Instruments LP series or more recently, the Aeolian-Skinner Legacy CDs.
Unlike AGO or denominational conventions that tend to have educational sessions and plenty of worship services, the Festival focused heavily on hearing these organs in recital or demonstration sessions, along with plenty of time for socialization, with all meals provided for in the registration fee, along with quite a number of open bar events.
There were many fine recitals, played by famous concert organists such as Alan Morrison from the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, Mark Dwyer of Boston, and David Baskeyfield and Thomas Gaynor from Rochester, New York.  Space doesn’t permit me to describe all of them, but I wanted to comment on just a few recitals that were quite moving.  One featured the nineteen year old organist Henry Webb from Dallas, who currently studies with Nathan Laube at the Eastman School of Music.  Henry drew the short straw of sorts and was assigned to play the smallest instrument of the Perry bunch, with just two manuals and about 30 ranks and a very dry acoustic.  Yet, Henry was able to somehow create a tremendous performance of a Karg-Elert piece that was a set of 54 variations on a ground bass theme of Handel.  The registrations were different for each variation, and the entire recital was one of immense energy and power.  Another remarkable recital was played by long-time AGO leader and the new Executive Director of the Hymn Society, Jan Kraybill.  Jan lives in the Kansas City area and plays a large Aeolian-Skinner at the Community of Christ’s Auditorium.  Jan played another Perry-designed Aeolian-Skinner that could not be more different than the small organ Henry played.  The organ in this recital was the four manual, 85-rank instrument in the cavernous First Baptist Church of Longview.  Like the others, it is a G. Donald Harrison “signature” instrument.  Jan played a breath-taking program and used the instrument to its fullest potential, almost knocking you backwards (in a very good way) with the blazing sound of its full Diapasons and strong reeds.  She closed her program with Sowerby’s monumental Pageant, leaving the audience begging to hear the organ some more.
The Festival was an uplifting experience for me.  The relatively small size of the group allowed me to meet many new people and gave everyone a chance to talk and spend time with each other.  At the closing concert, I counted no less than ten touring concert organists (some of whom did not perform at all, and were just attending the festival) sitting within just a few pews of me.  I heard incredible stories about organists from all over the world.  It is definitely an event that is worth attending, especially given the low hotel rates of a small town, along with the chance to hear some famous organs and concert artists play a variety of music all in one week.
Justin Smith

Organ Competition and Festival

2018 High School Organ Festival & Competition – Winston-Salem, NC

The application deadline is December 15 which includes a recording of the following three works:
 A Bach Prelude (or Toccata or Fantasy) & Fugue (including the “8 Little”) or two movements from a trio sonata
or concerto
 One or more contrasting movement(s) from a single work in the 19th – 20th/21st century repertoire
 A hymn chosen from the Competition Hymns – Available on November1, 2017 from the website listed below.

Entry into the competition as well as recitals, workshops, masterclasses, lessons, and two meals are include in the entry fee.

Complete information including application materials can be found here: 2018 High School Organ Festival & Competition.

Concert at St. Michael’s, Raleigh

“Of one that is so fair and bright” – Choral music of Advent and Christmas by Tallis, Palestrina, Tavener, Wood, Britten, Willcocks, Rutter, Mathias, and others

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and their director Graham Ross present a sumptuous Christmas programme in praise of the Virgin Mary and the coming of the light. Renaissance masterpieces, including Tallis’s sublime ‘Videte miraculum’ and Hieronymus Praetorius’s Christmas Magnificat (performed with its original interpolated carols) sit alongside more recent much-loved seasonal works, including motets by Howells, Britten, Tavener, Rutter and Ross, and some highly-catchy arrangements guaranteed to put you in the festive mood…a perfect start to the Christmas season.

Since the founding of a mixed voice choir in 1972, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs. In addition to its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College chapel, the Choir keeps an active schedule recording, broadcasting, and performing. Former directors have included John Rutter and Timothy Brown. Under the direction of Graham Ross, Director of Music since 2010, it has been praised for its consistently ‘thrilling’ and ‘outstanding’ performances worldwide.

Monday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
1520 Canterbury Rd., Raleigh
$20 for adults; $10 for students
For more information, contact Kevin Kerstetter at 919-946-
5721 or HolyMichaelMusic@icloud.com

2018 National Convention

July 2-6, 2018
Kansas City, Missouri
Super-saver rates available through Dec. 31, 2017

MARK YOUR CALENDARS – 2019 AGO Southeast Regional Convention

June 9-12, 2019

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

For more information: http://www.agose2019.com/

2017-2018 Programs

  • Sunday, December 3 at 5:00 p.m.: AGO members are invited to be in a choir to lead congregational singing during the Candlelight Tour at First Presbyterian Church, 125 South 3rd Street, No dinner or business meeting.
  • Friday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m.: Organ recital featuring Patrick Kreeger, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 16 North 16th Street, reception following.
  • Friday, February 2, 6:00 p.m.: Progressive dinner and recital at St. Andrews-on-the-Sound Episcopal Church, 101 Airlie Rd, Windermere Presbyterian Church, 104 Windemere Road, and Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, 2 West Fayetteville St.
  • Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m.: Music in the military and vocal technique, Angela Burns, presenter, St. James Episcopal Church, 25 South 3rd Street
  • Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m.: Public domain organ music, Justin Smith, presenter, Wesleyan Chapel United Methodist Church, 10255 US Highway 17 North
  • Sunday, May 13 at 5:00 p.m.: Organ recital featuring Joby Bell, First Presbyterian Church, 125 South 3rd. Street, chapter dinner following.
  • Friday, June 15: Summer social, time/location TBD.



Membership in the Wilmington AGO is open to all who possess a love of organ and choral music. For more information on becoming a member, please contact Greg Gore, Treasurer, at chawk92@aol.com.  You may also join online by visiting https://www.agohq.org/oncard-login/.



St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (Wilmington)

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is a family size church in the historical district of downtown Wilmington. The Vestry of St. Mark’s seeks a qualified person to serve as Church Organist &
Choir Director, part time (5-10 hours per week). This person will work with the Priest in Residence to provide musical leadership for church Services. The Priest will provide supervision, while accountability will be to the Senior Warden.

• Understand liturgy and churchmanship
• Conduct choir rehearsals
• Select and prepare anthems, hymns, psalms and service music
• Recruit additional choir members
• Attend parish events
• Report maintenance needs of the organ to Junior Warden
• Appraise and replace vestments through Altar Guild
• Provide music for funerals and weddings
• Recruit and secure an organist to play at all worship services in organist’s absence
• Develop an annual budget for music ministry and submit it to the financial committee for approval
• Act as a good steward of Church’s finances
• Performance to be reviewed annually

Skills & Competencies:
• Exceptional ability to play the organ and direct a small choir
• Knowledge of contemporary Christian and gospel music a plus
• Ability to understand and support the long-term plans of the Vestry
• Ability to work as part of a team
• Attention to detail
• Effective interpersonal skills with a variety of people
• Demonstrates initiative, integrity and trust
• Demonstrates high standards of professionalism, discretion, confidentiality and courtesy
• Professional references requested
• All new employees must be cleared through the Priest and Senior Warden and appropriate background checks completed
• Due to the desired safety culture throughout St. Mark’s, employee children shall not accompany Church staff at work

Description of Organ
Rodgers Electric Organ, digital, two manual, variety of stops and appropriate amplification in the sanctuary

Compensation and Benefits:
This position is part time, working 5-10 hours per week (negotiable). Stipend based on education, skill and prior experience.

Submit a cover letter and resume to: stmarkschurch600@yahoo.com

Contact: Father Victor Frederiksen, Priest in Residence (910) 619-5135

Trinity Episcopal Church (Lumberton)


TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH 1202 N Chestnut Street, Lumberton NC, 28358. 910 739-3717. 2 manual, 13 ranks Moeller pipe organ, renovated 2012 to include digital extensions, 128 memory levels, sequencer, chimes, and cymbelstern; piano in sanctuary and choir room. Service: 10:30AM. Extra Seasonal Responsibilities: Christmas Eve [10:30 Special Music; Service: 11:00 pm], AW, MT, Good Friday noon, Coordinating visiting musicians for Advent Luncheon Series. Rehearsal Trinity Choir: Wednesday 7:00-8:30 pm. Wedding and Funerals First Right of Refusal. Teaching Privileges: yes. Other responsibilities: Monthly Worship Committee Meeting. The successful candidate will hold a Bachelor of Music degree or demonstrate equivalent experience; will demonstrate proficiency in directing choirs; will demonstrate organ and service playing proficiency.

SALARY: $16,000-$19,000 per year commensurate with experience; weddings and funerals additional remuneration

BENEFITS: 4 paid Sundays off per year; continuing education allowance negotiable.

CONTACT: e-mail resume to nikkihansen5589@gmail.com , attention Scott Ryan, Senior Warden Trinity Church.


Oak Grove Presbyterian Church (Wilmington)

Pianist to play 11:00 a.m. Sunday service at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. $125 per week. Contact Rev. Robert Bayley at robertbayley@msn.com with a brief resumé.


First United Methodist Church (Clinton, NC)

ORGANIST  FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF CLINTON,  208 Sampson Street, Clinton, NC 28328, 910-592-2035.  2 manual, 25 rank Letourneau pipe organ [2008], 7’ Baldwin Grand Piano in Sanctuary, and same in Choir Room;  HandBells 5 octave Schulmerich, and 4 oct. Schulmerich melody chimes.  Service:  11 AM Traditional.  Extra Seasonal Responsibilities:  Maundy Thursday and Christmas Eve [if in the Sanctuary] Rehearsal: Adult Choir [37]: Wednesday 7:00-8:00 pm.  Wedding and Funerals First Right of Refusal. Teaching Privileges: yes.  Other responsibilities:  Recitals if the candidate wishes; none required.  Choir has been on tour in Europe several times and sings often at the Biltmore Estate. The successful candidate will demonstrate skills at service playing including hymns, prelude, offertory, and postlude.

SALARY:  $15,000-$18,000 commensurate with education and experience and travel

BENEFITS:  4 pd Sundays off per year;  pension; some continuing education allowance

CONTACT:  Mail resume to attn:  Dan Holland, Director of Music at above address or email to Dan Holland at floydh@embarqmail.com.

Position Available:  Now


Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Position Announcement – Director of Liturgy and Music
Immaculate Conception Church
6650 Carolina Beach Road
Wilmington, NC 28412

The Director of Liturgy and Music provides direction and supervision for all parish liturgical celebrations through recruitment and formation of all liturgical ministers. Must be a practicing Catholic in good standing; preferably possess an undergraduate degree in music and/or liturgy or a related field; have a proven appreciation for both traditional and contemporary music for worship; possess organizational, pastoral, computer, and communication skills.  Ministering to the residents of coastal Carolina Beach near historic Wilmington, NC. This is a full-time position with salary and Diocesan benefits. A full job description is available upon request. Please send inquiries to searchcommittee2017icc@gmail.com

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



For more information about certification, please visit http://www.agohq.org/certification or contact the Dean at sara.w.bryant@gmail.com.


Contact Us

Dean: Sara Bryant- sara.w.bryant@gmail.com

Subdean and Program Coordinator: John Sullivan – jds3rd@aol.com

Secretary: Sharon Miller – smiller@sacpc.org

Treasurer: Greg Gore – chawk92@aol.com

Member at Large (2017): Matt Rosendahl – rosematt66@gmail.com

Member at Large (2018): Bill Remele – wremele@gmail.com

Member at Large (2019): Bob Norem – noremtpc@gmail.com



AGO Southeast Region Blog: http://agoregionivblog.blogspot.com/

AGO Southeast Region Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/AGOSoutheast

AGO National Headquarters: http://www.agohq.org

Music at First: http://www.firstonthird.org/music/music-at-first/

Music Events at UNCW: https://events.uncw.edu/MasterCalendar/MasterCalendar.aspx

Wilmington Symphony Orchestra: http://wilmingtonsymphony.org/

AGO National website