Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: September 24, 2015 at 15:49 pm

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
2  Fri     RICHARD KONZEN, Organ7:30 pm
Harbison Chapel, Grove City College
Works of Liszt, Reger, Mendelssohn, Jogen, Alain, and Duruflé

11 Sun    HYMN FESTIVAL with DAVID CHERWIEN – 5:00 pm
 Erie Chapter AGO
First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant
250 West 7th Street, Erie PA         814-456-4243

18 Sun    WEST SHORE CHORALE – 4:00 pm
 Hymns, Spirituals and Folk Songs
John Drotleff, Director
Arts on Atlantic
Christ Episcopal Church
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren

Directed by Brian Altevogt
Fairlawn Lutheran Church
3415 W. Market, Akron

23 Fri      DOROTHY PAPADAKOS, Organ – 7:30 pm
Silent Film “Nosferatu”
Holy Trinity Lutheran
50 N. Prospect, Akron

23 Fri      SCOTT DETRA, Organ – 8:00 pm
Pittsburgh Organ Series
Calvary Episcopal Church
315 Shady Ave at Walnut, Pittsburgh

25 Sun    TODD WILSON, Organist – 4:00 pm
Silent Film “The Gold Rush”
Stambaugh Organ Series
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

27 Tue    THIEMO JANSSEN, Organ – 7:30 pm
St. Paul Cathedral
108 N. Dithridge, Pittsburgh, PA







What a great time to live in the Youngstown area! Every time you look around a new business has opened, another historic building is being restored, and things just seem to be moving in the right direction now. Downtown Youngstown now offers brand new housing for all ages, new nightlife as well as many diverse restaurants. Why am I telling you this? Because, when I attended the Indianapolis convention this summer, I gave a presentation on Youngstown 2017 and shared this information with the convention-goers.

With an attendance of over 300 at the Indianapolis convention, I had a perfect and captive audience to entice them to attend our convention in 2017. I wish you could have been there, to hear the people from all over the country, tell me that they can’t wait to come to Youngstown. Who would have ever thought? We have a chance to not only show off our beautiful city and our many fine instruments, but also act as ambassadors for the city and the region. The county tourism board, the city council and mayor’s office are just a few of the groups that are supporting our endeavors.

While I cannot divulge all of the details of what our Program Committee has planned, I can tell you that we have an awesome line-up of events planned. We will show off our beautiful churches, concert halls (yes, we found a way to use both Stambaugh and Powers)! We will spend some time at the Butler as well as Mill Creek Park. As someone who has attended many of these conventions in the past, I am very excited to attend this convention too!

Why am I telling you all of this right now? Because we have work to do. We need to begin serious fundraising efforts. If you can think of people who support church music, organs, live music, or Youngstown in general, drop me a note with their contact information. Even a donation of a few dollars will help. Underwriting main events could cost nearly $5,000 but we have other underwriting opportunities that will be much cheaper. Can you afford $50 a month or every other month? That would be fantastic. Contact our convention treasurer, Karl Morris to make a tax-deductible donation.

I hope to see as many of you as possible at our next program, Monday, October 5 – 7:30 pm at Bliss Recital Hall, on the campus of YSU, where Sean Baran will present a piano recital. Sean Baran has proven himself to be one of the foremost young musicians in Youngstown. A tireless worker who practices more hours a day than most people sleep, Mr. Baran is also the most dedicated piano teacher I have ever known. An inspiring young man, and good friend, Sean’s program will be one of the highlights of our season! You will not want to miss t his!

Adam Zagotti, Dean

Youngstown Chapter
October Program


Featuring works of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and others.

Monday, October 5, 2015
7:30 pm
Bliss Recital Hall
Youngstown State University

Sean Baran performs October AGO program

Sean Baran graduated summa cum laude from Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music performance. He studied piano with Dr. Caroline Oltmanns and organ with Dr. Daniel Laginya. At YSU, Sean teaches keyboard musicianship, and music theory courses. As a soloist and collaborator, Sean can be heard regularly in the Youngstown area. In 2010, Sean was named a winner in the Dana Young Artist Contest, which led to a performance with the Dana Orchestra. He was also a featured soloist with YSU’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble in 2011. In 2014, Sean was accepted to participate in the Zodiac Music Academy and Festival, which took place in southern France. Passionate about piano pedagogy, Sean maintains a private piano studio in the Youngstown area. His students frequently receive the highest ratings at local adjudicated events and can often be heard throughout the area in recitals and in master classes. Most recently, his students have been heard in events sponsored by the American Guild of Organists and the Cleveland International Piano Competition.

Mr. Baran’s recital will include piano works by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and others. He truly looks forward to sharing this great music with everyone.


Todd Wilson, Organist-Director of Music at Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland and head of the organ department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, will accompany Charlie Chaplin’s silent film “The Gold Rush” on the recently restored E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown on Sunday, October 25 at 4:00 pm.

The Gold Rush is a 1925 American silent comedy film written, produced, and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The film also stars Chaplin in his  Little Tramp  persona, Georgia Hale, Mack SwainTom MurrayHenry Bergman, and Malcolm Waite. Chaplin declared several times that this was the film for which he most wanted to be remembered. Though it was a silent film, it received Academy Award nominations for Best Music and Best Sound Recording upon its re-release in 1942.

Synopsis: The Lone Prospector (played by Chaplin), a valiant weakling, seeks fame and fortune among the sturdy men who marched across Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush. The Lone Prospector’s inoffensive patience and his ill-chosen garb make him the target for the buffoonery of his comrades and the victim of the merciless rigors of the frozen North. After he is caught in a blizzard, the icy clutches of the storm have almost claimed him when he stumbles into the cabin of Black Larsen (played by Murray), a renegade. Larsen is thrusting him out the door, back into the arms of death, when Fate, which preserves the destinies of simple children, appears in the person of Big Jim McKay (played by Swain). Jim subdues the renegade, and he and the Lone Prospector occupy the cabin while their unwilling host is thrust forth to obtain food. Starvation almost claims the two until a bear intrudes and is killed to supply their larder.

The storm abates, and the two depart for the nearest town. Jim heads for his hidden mine, the richest in Alaska. Jim finds Larsen in possession of his property, and in the battle that ensues, Larsen fells Jim with a blow from a shovel. Larsen flees from the scene and is swept to his death in an avalanche. Jim recovers consciousness, but he has lost his memory from the blow.

The Lone Prospector arrives in one of the boom towns of the gold trail. He becomes the principal amusement of the village, a victim of practical jokers, and the target of gibes and hilarity from the dance hall habitués. His attention becomes centered on Georgia (played by Hale), queen of the dance hall entertainers; he becomes enamored with the girl at first sight. In his timid and pathetic way, he adores Georgia at a distance and braves the gibes of the dance hall roughs to feast his lovelorn eyes. Every indignity is heaped upon him until as a last cruel jest, Jack Cameron (played by Waite), the Beau Brummel of the camp, hands him an endearing note from Georgia. Believing it written for him, the unhappy lover starts feverishly searching the dance hall for the girl, when Jim, his memory partially restored, enters.

Jim’s only thought is to find the location of the cabin in order to locate his lost mine. He recognizes the Lone Prospector and seizes him, shouting to lead the way to the cabin so that they can both be millionaires. But the lovelorn Prospector catches sight of Georgia on the balcony; breaking away, he darts up to embrace her and declare his love, to the astonishment of the girl as well as the crowd. Unceremoniously dragged from the hall by Jim, the Lone Prospector shouts to Georgia that he soon will return to claim her, as a millionaire. He and Jim return to the cabin, better-provisioned than before. Overnight, another blizzard blows the cabin all the way to Jim’s claim and beyond — half over a cliff. In the morning, Jim and the Lone Prospector awake to a teeter-totter experience lasting many tense minutes, before the Lone Prospector is pulled from the cabin by Jim as it falls into a chasm.

One year later, Jim and his partner, the Lone Prospector, are returning to the United States wealthy. Yet the heart-yearnings of the lover will not be stilled. Georgia has disappeared, and his search for her has been futile. The fame of the partners’ strike has spread, and newspapermen board the liner for interviews. The Lone Prospector consents to don his old clothes for a photograph. Tripping in the companionway, he falls down the stairs into the arms of Georgia, on her way back to the United States as a steerage passenger. The reporters sense a romance and ask who the girl is. The Lone Prospector whispers to Georgia, who nods assent. Arm in arm, they pose for pictures while the reporters enthusiastically exclaim, “What a great story this will make!”

Salem Youth Chorus presents
How Can I Keep From Singing?

The wonderful voices of the Salem Youth Chorus present an eclectic program of a capella, sacred choral music. The program includes chant as well as works by Hassler, Mendelssohn, Stanford, Rheinberger, Elgar, Duruflé, Whitacre and others.  A freewill offering will be received to benefit the ensemble.

Saturday, September 26th at 7:30pm
St. Brendan’s Church, 2800 Oakwood Ave. Youngstown

Saturday, October 3rd at 7:00pm
St. Michael’s Church, 3430 St. Michael’s Blvd. NW, Canton

Sunday, October 4th at 7:00pm
St. Edward’s Church, 240 Tod Ln., Youngstown

Sunday, October 25th at 7:00pm
St. Joseph’s Church, 2643 Waterloo Rd., Mogadore

Friday, October 30th at 7:30pm
First Presbyterian Church, 436 E. 2nd St., Salem

Blessed Sacrament Church
3020 Reeves Road NE, Warren

8:30 AM – TO NOON
For further information, contact Pat Campbell at Blessed Sacrament Church.

The Erie Chapter of the
American Guild of Organists
 invites you to a
HYMN FESTIVAL with David Cherwien
Sunday, October 11 – 5:00 pm

“Adventure of Creative Hymnody”
Saturday, October 10 – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Gathering at 9:30 am with light refreshments
Cost: $5.00 Members – $10.00 Non-members
presented by
The First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant
250 West 7th Street, Erie, PA

With a Cheerful Voice
John Walker, Director

Sunday, October 25,  — 4:00 pm

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
1361 W Market Street, Akron


The 80-voice West Shore Chorale will open the 2015-16 Arts on Atlantic Series at Christ Episcopal Church, 2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren, on Sunday, October 18 at 4:00 pm with their program of “HYMNS, SPIRITUALS, AND FOLK SONGS”. The program will include such familiar selections as “Beautiful Savior,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Battle of Jericho,” “Shenandoah” and many other great pieces of choral literature.

The West Shore Chorale is dedicated to enriching lives through the beauty and power of choral music. Committed to the highest performance standards, the Chorale presents a varied selection of repertoire, from traditional to rarely-heard compositions.

The Chorale regularly collaborates with local schools and other performance groups to showcase the talents of musicians from all walks of life. The group has performed on radio and television, with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Philharmonic, Lakeside Orchestra, Cleveland Women’s Orchestra and Opera Circle, for the Ohio Choral Director’s Association, and the Ohio Music Education Association and with many schools including Avon Lake High School, Lakewood High School and Riverside Children’s Choir.  They have also collaborated with various community choirs including TrueNorth, Southwest Chorus, Good Company, the Oberlin Singers, The Ashtabula Community Chorus, Madison Chorale, Lakeland Civic Chorus, and others

John Drotleff, conductor of the West Shore Chorale and Orchestra since 1984, is the fourth conductor of the Chorale.

Mr. Drotleff  has directed choirs and taught music in northeastern Ohio since 1961 in four public schools, three colleges, seven churches and three community choruses. His work in high schools and colleges has included appearances at state adjudicated events, professional music conferences, and tours throughout the East and Midwestern parts of the country, including venues in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center and The National Cathedral

A free-will offering will be received


Happy 430th Birthday, Heinrich Schütz

I knew that in 2015 we would observe the 430th birthday of the great German composer Heinrich Schütz, so I thought I would begin my research by opening my 1958 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Picking up Volume 20, Sarsaparilla to Sorcery, I was sure that I would find Heinrich Schütz. Alas, he was not there. Carl Schurz, “German-American statesman and reformer,” was present, and so was Philip  John Schuyler, general in the American Revolution and the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton. Heinrich Schütz  should have been treated to a    nice long article right between Schurz and Schuyler. Why is he absent? When this writer took a course in Early Choral Music at Queens College during the same decade as the Britannica’s publication, Heinrich Schütz was part of the agenda, as well he should have been, since he is often considered the most significant German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach.

He was born on October 8, 1585 in Kösritz. Unlike so many German Baroque composers, Schütz was not born into a family of musicians. Heinrich’s father was an innkeeper and later a burgomaster. While staying at Christoph Schütz’s inn, Moritz von Hessen-Kassel heard young Heinrich sing and was so impressed that he encouraged the Schützes to send their boy to court to study music. Eventually they agreed, and Heinrich went to Kassel in 1599 to study singing. He later studied law at Marburg and then music in Venice with the great Giovanni Gabrieli. After serving as organist in Kassel for a brief period, Schütz became composer to the Elector of Saxony in 1615; four years later he married Magdalena Wildeck. Together they had two daughters; Magdalena died in 1625.

Schütz began an orchestra that is still in existence, the Säschsische Staatskapelle Dresden. He studied with Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, composed music in Copenhagen, visited Denmark, and was named ex officio Kapellmeister in Wolfenbuttel. He died after a stroke in 1672; he had lived to the ripe old age of 87. Sadly, his tomb at the Dresdem Frauenkirche was obliterated in order to make way for a new church in 1727.

He was an organist, yet he left us no organ music but focused mainly on music for solo voice and choir; about 500 of his works survive. His style, influenced by Italian composers, was in turn to influence numerous composers after him, including Johann Sebastian Bach. One of the last to write in a modal style, Schütz often used dissonances in his work. Joshua Rifkin and Colin Timms, writing in The New Grove North European Baroque Masters, say of him, “Heinrich—or, as he invariably wrote it, Henrich—Schütz was the greatest German composer of the 17th century and the first of international importance. Through the example of his compositions and through his teaching he played a major part in establishing the traditions of high craftsmanship and intellectual depth that marked the best of his nation’s music and musical thought for more than 250 years after his death.”     (AG)
















































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