Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: August 23, 2016 at 14:01 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.”



11 Sun    PHILIP THOMPSON, Piano . . .5:00 pm
Five at Five Concert Series
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1250 W. Exchange, Akron

13 Tue   SCOTT SIMON – Host NPR . . . 7:30 pm
Weekend Edition
St. John’s Episcopal Church
223 Wick Avenue, Youngstown      Tickets 330.743.3175  $10

18 Sun    RAY & ELIZABETH CHENAULT . . . 4:00 pm
America’s leading Organ-Duo Team
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown
Tickets: or 330.259.0555

23 Fri   THOMAS HEYWOOD, Organ . . . 7:00 pm
Painesville United Methodist Church
71 N. Park Place, Painesville

25 Sun    JAZZ VESPERS  . . .  4:00 pm
with Paul Ferguson Jazz Ensemble
St. John’s Episcopal Church
223 Wick Avenue, Youngstown

30 Fri      JOHANN VEXO, Organ . . . 7:30 pm
(Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris)
St. Paul Cathedral
108 N. Dithridge (Fifth & Craig), Pittsburgh

30 Fri      QUIRE CLEVELAND (Cleveland, OH) . . . 7:30 pm
Ross Duffin, Artistic Director
Monteverdi: Mantuan Masterpieces
The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
1007 Superior / E. 9th, Cleveland

29 Th    PAUL JACOBS, Organist . . .   8:00 pm
30 Fri            with the Cleveland Orchestra
Copland “Organ Symphony”
Severance Hall – 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
Tickets avail. Severance Hall after September 15.

2 Sun      FRED SWANN, Organ . . . 3:00 pm
Sponsored by
Cleveland Chapter AGO
Fairmount Presbyterian Church
2757 Fairmount, Cleveland Heights

2 Sun      AKRON BAROQUE . . . 5:00 pm
Five at Five Concert Series
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1250 W. Exchange, Akron

“Gospel Mass” by Robert Ray
Dr. Samuel Barbara, Director
Wallace Chapel, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

16 Sun    DAVID HIGGS, Organ . . .  3:00 pm
Chair, Organ Dept., Eastman School of Music
Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh          $
East Liberty Presbyterian Church
116 South Highland, Pittsburgh

16 Sun    WEST SHORE CHORALE . . .  3:30 pm
with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra
John Drotleff, Director
Waetjen Auditorium, Cleveland State University
Euclid Avenue, Cleveland                          $15 at door

16 Sun    UNIVERSITY OF AKRON CHOIRS . . . 4:00 pm
Chamber, Men’s & Concert Choirs
Parish Arts Series
Fairlawn Lutheran Church
3415 W. Market Street, Akron

23 Sun    PETER CONTE, Organ . . . 4:00 pm
from the Wanamaker (Macy’s), Philadelphia
Silent Film “Nosferatus”
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown
Tickets: or     330.259.0555    Free concert

29 Sat     TODD WILSON, Organ . . . 4:00 pm
Morely Music Hall
Lake Erie College, Painesville

Susan Davenny-Wyner, Director
Program: Saint-Saëns, Grieg, Bizet, Rossini, Copland and Bruch
Christ Episcopal Church                                     $25
2627 Atlantic Street NE, Warren

30 Sun    TODD WILSON, Organ . . . 4:00 pm
Guest appearance “Illuminare”
Jon Simsic, Director
St. John’s Episcopal Church
223 Wick Avenue, Youngstown




September 2016

I hope everyone had a great summer! I certainly had a busy summer. I’ve been making my rounds to local chapters telling them about our convention, people are very excited! I just finished meeting with our hospitality committee and they are getting busy with some really great ideas to make people feel welcome. This is going to be a fantastic convention. Last week the County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that they will be giving us $5,000 to underwrite James David Chrisite’s closing concert at Stambaugh! We are so excited.

In other news, our fall programs are gearing up and I hope to see everyone at our upcoming program on Langlais. Dr. Laginya and friends have worked hard to put this program together. I would like everyone to reach out to our newest members and make them feel welcome. It would be great to see the entire chapter attend an event and then get to know each other a little better. We all come from diverse backgrounds and unique situations and we can learn so much from getting to know each other a little better. Getting to know each other and making new friends will be a great asset to our convention next summer.

Adam Zagotti, Dean
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Contributions to the 2017 Youngstown Regional AGO Convention can be sent to Karl Morris, 2017 Regional Treasurer, 200 Country Club SE, Warren OH 44484-4660.. Checks payable to: AGO 2017 Youngstown Regional.
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American Guild of Organists


Monday, September 19 – 7:00 pm
St. Columba Cathedral
159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown
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The Youngstown Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will open the 2016-17 programs on Monday September 19, 7:00 pm,  remembering the life and works of Jean Langlais (1907-1991) in observance of the 25th anniversary of his death.

Jean Langlais was born in La Fontenelle (Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany), a small village near Mont Saint-Michel, France. Langlais became blind due to glaucoma when he was only two years old, and was sent to the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Blind Children) in Paris, where he began to study the organ, with André Marchal. From there, he progressed to the Paris Conservatoire, obtaining prizes in organ and studying composition with Marcel Dupré and Paul Dukas. He also studied improvisation with Charles Tournemire.

After graduating, he returned to the National Institute for Blind Children to teach, and also taught at the Schola Cantorum in Paris from 1961 to 1976. Many of his students went on to become important musicians, including organist and composer Naji Hakim.

It was as an organist that Langlais made his name, following in the footsteps of César Franck and Tournemire as organiste titulaire at the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris in 1945, a post in which he remained until 1988. He was much in demand as a concert organist, and toured widely across Europe and the United States.

Outside music, Langlais was a colorful and charismatic character. He died in Paris aged 84, and was survived by his second wife Marie-Louise Jaquet-Langlais and three children, Janine, Claude and Caroline.

The program will include a video presentation on the life and work of Langlais, a mini-recital of selected organ works performed by students of Daniel Laginya on the cathedral’s Casavant organ, and a wine and cheese social featuring exquisite Parisian samplings.

Join us on Monday, September 19 at 7:00 pm at St. Columba Cathedral, 159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown.
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Named “The World’s Premiere Duo-Organ Team” by The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Elizabeth and Raymond Chenault, duo-organists, will appear as the opening concert on the 2016-17 Stambaugh Organ Series, on Sunday, September 18 at 4:00 pm. The Chenaults have concertized extensively throughout the United States and in Europe.  Specializing in works written for two performers, the Chenaults have commissioned and premiered over fifty organ duets, thereby making a significant historical contribution to this slighted area of organ literature.  Because of their unique and refreshing repertoire, combined with their exciting and sensitive artistry, the Chenaults are in demand as recitalists and have established themselves as America’s leading duo-organists.

The Chenault’s duet career began in 1979 when Arthur Wills of England’s Ely Cathedral composed Toccata for Two for them, followed by John Rutter’s Variations on An Easter Theme in 1982.  Both duets were premiered by the Chenaults at Washington Cathedral and are published.  They have been featured recitalists at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the International Summer Organ Festival at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego, Helzberg Hall (Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and many others.

Mr. and Mrs. Chenault, natives of Virginia, completed their Bachelor of Music degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University studying organ with Lawrence Robinson.  Mr. Chenault received his Master of Music degree in organ performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he and Mrs.   Chenault studied organ with Wayne Fisher.  Upon   graduation, Mr. Chenualt became a Fellow in Church Music at Washington Cathedral studying with Dr. Paul Callaway.  Other organ teachers include Harold Abmyer, Arthur Poister and John Fenstermaker.

In 1975, Mr. and Mrs. Chenault became Organists and Choirmasters of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, directing the music program and concert series.  The Chenaults taught choral music at The Lovett School in Atlanta for 31 years, where Mr. Chenault was the Director of Fine Arts and Choral Director of the Upper School.

Recitals by the Chenaults have been critically acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.  They have been featured on “Pipedreams” (a weekly series of the American Public Radio network). The Chenaults are under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.

                   A PROGRAM OF ORGAN DUETS

Choral (Sonate à Deux)                                         Gaston Litaize
Saint Anthony in Meditation
(The Triumph of the Saint)                                 Stephen Paulus
Allegro for Organ                                                       Philip Moore
Eclogue                                                               Richard Shephard
Rhapsody                                                                       Naji Hakim

Shenandoah                                                            Nicholas White
Two to Tango
(An American Suite)                                        Melinda Lee Clark
A Fancy for Two to Play                                        Gerre Hancock
Variations on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’                     David Briggs

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Thomas Henderson Kerr, Jr.:
Teacher, Organist, Composer

Born in Baltimore on January 3, 1915, Thomas H. Kerr, Jr. attended Douglass High School, an institution that nurtured a number of African-American musicians including Mark Oakland Fax (previously featured in SOR), Anne Browne, and Cab Calloway. Kerr studied piano, taught himself to play the organ, and while a young teenager was playing in church as well as in Baltimore nightclubs; his mother approved of the former, but not the latter.

The apple, they say, does not fall far from the tree: Kerr’s father, was an orchestra conductor, pianist, violinist, and composer. Another mentor for young Thomas was W. Llewellyn Wilson, the music teacher at Douglass High School who also mentored Mark Oakland Fax. Thomas H. Kerr, Jr. admired Fax, who was four years older. Kerr wanted to attend Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, but admission was denied to him and other African-Americans in those years, so Kerr went to the Eastman School of Music (not too shabby!) where he earned a Bachelor of Music in piano, another in theory, and a Master’s degree in theory.

As an instructor at Knoxville College, Kerr began to compose, and in time he created works for piano, voice, violin, brass ensemble, and organ. He intended to write an opera about the life of Frederick Douglass, but, alas, his librettist never produced the required libretto.

Kerr was a piano professor at Howard University from 1943 to 1976. He received a Rosenwald Fellowship in composition in 1944. Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph. D. ( writes, “As an entry in a national AGO composition competition, Arietta, Kerr’s most popular work, was one of 15 compositions selected from among 150 for publication in Volume II of the American Music Anthology (Summy-Birchard Publications) during the late 1950s. Although primarily a pianist, Kerr became masterfully familiar with the organ and its capabilities, thus causing him to write most effectively for the instrument. Miniature Antiphonal on a Pedal Point and Procession of the Gargoyles are extracted from Kerr’s Suite Sebastienne, an eight-movement work written for the dedication of the organ” at Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington, DC where he served as organist for more than thirty-five years. GIA published Kerr’s Anguished American Easter, a work for organ inspired by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is still available.

Thomas Kerr’s compositions have been performed at the National Cathedral, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Mormon Tabernacle, and a number of cathedrals and churches in Europe.

Thomas Henderson Kerr, Jr. died on August 26, 1988. The program for his funeral service at Howard University included this tribute: “He summed up his career thus: ‘I have spent practically all of my waking hours since 1931 trying to earn the designation MUSICIAN.’” (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 
Sean Baran. . .
Nancy McNeal
Anita Gorman . . .
Larry Harris . .
Karen Barr . . .
Susanne Mayerchak . . .



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

AGO National website