Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: September 4, 2015 at 5:51 am

Message from the Dean 


Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio, and to our local chapter of the American Guild of Organists web page. A chapter of 52 members, we serve Youngstown and its surrounding areas.

Our membership is not limited only to organists, but embraces all who enjoy and promote worship through music and song. Together we work to improve the quality of musical and liturgical performance within our community.

Annually, we provide a variety of educational programs to enrich our personal skills which are free to members and friends. These events include recitals, lectures, workshops, and choral presentations. Light refreshments follow the events for interaction among those in attendance. We have an exciting listing of upcoming events for March, April, and May. Please refer to our Events Section for details.

We encourage any musician from student to retiree to join us and enhance our endeavors towards achieving our motto: “Soli Deo Gloria.”


Local Events
13 Sun     TRINITY COLLEGE CHOIR                    4:30 pm
Choral Evensong
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
5801 Hampton Street, Pittsburgh

14 Mon  TRINITY COLLEGE CHOIR                    7:30 pm
                    CAMBRIDGE, UK
Choral Concert
Stephen Layton, Director
Calvary Episcopal Church
315 Shady Ave at Walnut,  Pittsburgh, PA
Tickets: $40 / $25

20 Sun    ISABELLE DEMERS, Organ                  4:00 pm
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

20 Sun    ANNIE LAVER, Organ                                  4:00 pm
from Syracuse University
St. Paul Cathedral
108 N. Dithridge, Pittsburgh, PA

25 Fri     APOLLO’S FIRE CONCERT                         7:30 pm
St. John’s Episcopal Church                                    Tickets $15
323 Wick Avenue, Youngstown



September   2015


Greetings friends,

As the days grow warmer and we begin to see the inevitable signs of the changing seasons setting upon us once again, we are reminded about the fall festivities that many churches plan. I am sure many of you are planning “Rally Day,” “Homecoming Sunday,” or whatever other back-to-church activities are your tradition. I hope that we as musicians and members of a chapter of likeminded friends will come together for our first program this fall on Sunday, September 6 at St. Catherine’s (Our Lady of the Lakes Parish) in Lake Milton. I have put together a program to read new choral anthems, as well as old favorites. I will be cooking a picnic dinner for everyone who attends. I know that this program falls on the weekend of Labor Day, but I am hopeful that you can find some time to come, sing, learn, eat and relax.

Stambaugh Auditorium has some fantastic programs on their organ coming up this fall. I hope to see many of you attend the program by Isabelle Demers. Ms. Demers is an organist that I always look forward to hearing in concert. In Indianapolis, she brought down the house with a memorized program of Bach, Reger and other works. Stambaugh Auditorium has become a good friend to our chapter, in the spirit of friendship; let us support their efforts to bring great musicians to our city!

I want to close with a request: take a few moments after reading this to think of church musicians across the area that are not members of our chapter. Contact one or two of them and invite them to join our chapter. This fall program at Saint Catherine’s is an excellent opportunity to introduce a guest as a potential member.

Adam Zagotti, Dean


Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown OH
E.M. Skinner Op. 582 – 1926
Four manual – 67 stops – 58 ranks –
3,905 ranks of pipes arranged in five divisions
Restoration by the A. Thompson-Allen Company- 2011

Sun., Sept 20    ISABELLE DEMERS          4:00 pm
Head of Organ Dept. Baylor University, Houston TX
International Concert Organist

Sun., Oct. 25    TODD WILSON, Organ      4:00 pm
Silent Film Charlie Chaplin “Gold Rush”
Organist-Director of Music Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland
Head of the Organ Dept. Cleveland Institute of Music

Sun., Nov. 22  DOUGLAS CLEVELAND    4:00 pm
John Delo Faculty Fellow in Organ
University of Washington School of Music,
Seattle, Washington
Music Director at Plymouth Congregational Church
Seattle, Washington

Sun., May 15         DAVID ENLOW               4:00 pm
Organist-Choirmaster–Church of the Resurrection, NYC
Organ Faculty of The Julliard School of Music
International Concert Organist

Tickets: or

Isabelle Demers opens 2015-16
Stambaugh Organ Series

Isabelle Demers, Organ Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University in Texas, will open the Stambaugh Organ Series on Sunday, September 20 at 4:00 pm.  Ms. Demers teaches applied organ and courses in the organ curriculum. A native of Québec, she is rapidly becoming recognized as one of North America’s most virtuosic organists. Her concert at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists, in Washington, D.C., was received with great acclaim not only by critics, who deemed it “one of the most outstanding events of the convention” (The American Organist), but also by the standing-room-only audience, which called her back five times. A review of her concert for the joint ISO-AIO convention in 2010 said that “she enchanted the entire audience with her virtuoso performance,” leaving the entire congress in an atmosphere of “Demers fever.”

She began piano and organ study at age eleven at the Montréal Conservatory of Music. After graduation in 2003 she studied on scholarship for a year in Paris at the École Normale de Paris-Alfred Cortot. She received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied with Paul Jacobs.

Recent engagements include the cathedrals of Cologne and Regensburg in Germany, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Royal Opera House of Muscat, Oman, as well as major universities and concert halls in the United States, among them Davies Hall (San Francisco), Disney Hall (Los Angeles), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), the Wanamaker Organ (Philadelphia), Yale University, and the Eastman School of Music and many others.

Isabelle Demers, Organist
Sunday, September 20 – 4:00 pm
Stambaugh Auditorium

from Symphonie #2 op. 2                   Louis Vierne
in e minor: Allegro Maestoso

excerpts from Cinderella                Sergei Prokofiev
Introduction                                    (trans. Demers)
Gavotte – The Dancing Lesson
Three Oranges
Cinderella gets ready for the Ball

Adagio in E Major                                 Frank Bridge

Fantasy on the chorale                           Max Reger
“Hallelujah! Gott zu loben” op. 52 #3

Trio Sonata BWV 530 in G Major        J.S. Bach
Vivace     Lento     Allegro

Three Short Studies op. 68:            Rachel Laurin
Flight of the Hummingbird
Dialogue of the Mockingbirds

Variations on a Theme by Paganini
                                                    Sir Georges Thalben-Ball

            Arts on Atlantic
  Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren

Sunday, October 18, 2015 – 4:00 pm
John Drotleff, Artistic Director
The 80-voice chorus presents a program of
Hymn tunes, Spirituals and Folksongs.

Sunday, November 8, 2015 – 4:00 pm
Two of Warren’s favorites return to perform trumpet and organ favorites.


Sunday, December 20, 2015– 7:00 pm
Sung by the area Episcopal Choirs
Dr. Richard Konzen, Organist
Gary P. Richards, Director

Sunday, April 10, 2016 – 4:00 pm
Samuel Gordon, Artistic Director
The program is a mosaic of sound, weaving a 16th century
motet into a collage of spirituals, romantic art songs
and popular ballads.

A free-will offering will be received at programs.
For further information 330.372.4998.



Is it just me, or in this column do we frequently wish a happy birthday to German composers of organ music? It seems that German composers, especially those from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, are over-represented in these pages. And why not? There were so many of them.

This month’s subject, Heinrich Scheidemann, was born circa 1595 in Wöhrden, Holstein. We are not surprised to learn that his father was an organist and no doubt Heinrich’s first teacher. Scheidemann had the honor of studying with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in Amsterdam from 1611 to 1614, and by 1629 he was the organist at the Catharinenkirche, where he continued to serve for over thirty years.

Scheidemann played, composed, and, fortunately for us, a great deal of his music survives. He focused on composing organ music and rarely wrote songs or pieces for other instruments. His specialty was writing settings of Lutheran chorales: cantus firmus arrangements (a prelude, so to speak, to the chorale prelude), pieces for organ that imitated the monodic style of voice plus figured bass, and chorale fantasias, something new on the German Baroque music scene. Manfred F. Bukofzer writes in Music in the Baroque Era, “In the hands of the middle baroque composers the organ fantasy became a fantasy in the modern sense, namely a rhapsodic composition of demanding technical difficulty, characterized by virtuoso writing, echo effects, and an exuberant ornamentation of the chorale melody. Scheidemann, Tunder, and Reinken were the main contributors to the development of the form.” Scheidemann also wrote variations on the Magnificat.

After the discovery of the Zellerfeld tablatures in 1955 and 1960, Heinrich Scheidemann went from being dubbed a “minor master” to being considered “the paramount figure in North German organ music of the seventeenth century, equaled only by Buxtehude in the second half, and thus occupying an important position in the development of keyboard music as a whole” (Pieter Dirksen, Heinrich Scheidemann’s Keyboard Music).

Next month: Heinrich Schütz! It will not be necessary for readers to find their passports, since we remain in Germany. (AG)


A Tribute to John Scott (1956-2015

Saint Thomas Church is heartbroken by the sudden death of John Scott, Organist and Director of Music, on Wednesday, August 12.

John returned to New York on August 11 after a very successful European tour. He was not feeling well the next morning and suffered a sudden cardiac episode. He was taken to Roosevelt Hospital but never regained consciousness. His wife, Lily, was by his side when he died. John and Lily are expecting their first child in September.

The Rector, Headmaster, Wardens, Vestry, and Staff are shocked by John’s untimely death. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lily and John’s family. John and Lily are at the very heart of the Saint Thomas Church family and its mission.

John was appointed Organist and Director of Music of Saint Thomas Church and Choir School in 2004. He previously served at Saint Paul’s Cathedral for 26 years. He was born in 1956 and is a graduate of Saint John’s College, Cambridge. In addition to his beloved wife, Lily, he is survived by two children, Emma and Alex, and two sisters, Judith and Helen.

John’s contribution to music is a lasting legacy to the Church and to the world. He was a man of great faith; the words of J.S. Bach, Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone), inspired his ministry.

A message from Andrew Dietsche, Bishop of New York:

My brothers and sisters in Christ,The sudden death of John Scott is, indeed, grievous news for Saint Thomas, and for the church in every place where Christians find consolation and inspiration in the finest expression of sacred music. In truth, he was an international figure of excellence and grace. The contributions which John has made to the fullness of life and worship at Saint Thomas have enriched the lives of the countless number who have come to draw near our Lord before the altar of Saint Thomas, and I am one of them. I, too, have been blessed by John’s presence and service to Saint Thomas Church. I pray that you will accept the condolences of your bishop, and of the two hundred churches of the Diocese of New York. May God shelter John’s wife and unborn child, his children and family, and bear them up in safety through this almost unbearable loss.

+Andrew, Bishop of New York

Funeral Mass

The Solemn Funeral Liturgy will be held on Saturday, September 12 at 11am at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and will be sung by the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. Further details, including the music, will be posted here in due course.





































2012-2013 Membership Fees

$97.00 Regular Member
$72.00 Special (Senior/Disabled,over 65)
$37.00 Student
$72.00 Partner/ Second Member
$38.00 Dual (indicate primary chapter)
$15.00 Student dual member
$15.00 Chapter Friend

A special feature that our chapter offers for first year members is a discounted membership fee of $57.

Contact Nancy Brescia at for a membership form.



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



The Youngstown Chapter AGO has a strong performance record when it comes to the guild exams: over one-third of the current membership holds at least one guild certificate. The requirements for professional certification appear in the July issue of “The American Organist.” The Service Playing exam can be taken in the Youngstown Chapter anytime before April 30, 2007; the Colleague exam can also be taken locally, on either May 11 or November 16, 2007. The Choir Master, Associate, and Fellowship exams are administered at nearby examination centers in Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Examination materials and repertoire are kept in the Cathedral Music Library and are available to chapter members. For further information, please contact Daniel Laginya, examination coordinator, at


Contact Us

Dean: Adam Zagotti. . .
Sub-Dean: Mary Ann Bilas Bush . . .
Secretary: Gary P. Richards . . . .
Treasurer: Nancy Brescia. . . .

Newsletter editor: Gary Richards . . .

Executive Board Members 
Frank Behne III . . .
Susanne Mayerchak. .
Sean Baran. . .
Nancy McNeal
Anita Gorman . . .
Larry Harris . .



Hemry Pipe Organ Company
Kegg Organ Company
Schantz Organ Company
Youngstown State University Concert Series

AGO National website