Youngstown Chapter

Last updated: May 24, 2016 at 5:18 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.”





June 2016


We have completed another year of our chapter programs, and we have another exciting season in the works. Sunday, May 15th we had our annual dinner and business meeting at Squaw Creek Country Club. Thank you to our host, Gary Richards for organizing the event.

We had the privilege of having two special guests in attendance at our meeting. David Enlow, dean of the New York City Chapter, who performed a wonderful recital for us at Stambaugh Auditorium beforehand. Also with us, was Karl Bruhn, our Regional Councilor. I spent Monday showing Karl around Youngstown, introducing him to the instruments that we have selected for our 2017 convention, as well as a lengthy tour of the park. Karl is very excited about the convention and continues to advocate to our region on our behalf.

If you have not seen a copy of the 2017 Regional Convention brochure, email me at and I will get you as many copies as you would like. They are quite lovely. We have received compliments on the design as well as the content from all over the country.

It is not too late to attend the Houston Convention. National conventions are always fantastic and exciting events. Where else can you sing with 1,500-2,000 other church musicians, hear the best of the best of performers and find enrichment and a refreshing of our musical soul. Also, we have a booth in the convention exhibit hall, if you come, you can help “man” the booth!

I hope everyone has a relaxing summer. We will see each other in the fall at our first program, the rescheduled Langlais memorial.

Adam Zagotti, Dean
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Youngstown Chapter
American Guild of Organists
2016 Annual Meeting

On Sunday evening, May 15, 2016 the Youngstown Chapter of the American Guild of Organists held their annual dinner/meeting at Squaw Creek (Avalon Lakes Golf and Country Club).  Thirteen members, 2 friends and 6 guests, including Karl Bruhn, Regional Convention Councilor and David Enlow, Dean of the New York City Chapter, who had performed a recital Stambaugh Auditorium that afternoon. Everyone enjoyed a delicious Taste of Italy buffet complete with Spumoni Ice Cream for dessert.

Following the dinner, Dean Adam Zagotti called the meeting to order. Minutes from the 2015 Annual Meeting were presented by secretary Gary Richards and approved.

Treasurer, Nancy Brescia presented the financial report as follows:
Savings Account Balance          $3,995.00
Checking Account Balance          2,423.00

Members were reminded to renew their membership dues with the ONCARD service through the National AGO.

Zagotti thanked those who hosted and presented programs this past year: Sean Baran, piano recital at YSU, Mary Ann Bilas-Bush and Chris Krummel, organ-trumpet program at Holy Family Church, Jeannine and Karl Morris for the Epiphany Party, and Richard Konzen, organ recital at St. John’s Episcopal, Youngstown.  Our final program on the life and music of Langlais had to be postponed due to a funeral at St. Columba Cathedral.  The program will presented in the fall.

Karl Bruhn, Regional Councilor for Conventions, thanked the chapter for an invitation to attend the Annual Meeting.  Congratulated Gary Richards, editor of our newsletter, on the very professional job of publishing our newsletter He also, recognized the fine historic writings of Anita Gorman which appear in the newsletter each month. Bruhn encouraged members to get folks, young/and older, to attend POE programs. Commented on the work of our committees preparing for the upcoming 2017 Youngstown Regional Convention.

Sub-Dean Mary Ann Bush  presented programs for the upcoming 2016-17 year: (September) Langlais Memorial Concert at St. Columba Cathedral; (October) All Hallow’s Eve Concert at Trinity United Methodist Church, Youngstown; (November) How to Use a Symphonic Organ: A Skinner Workshop (Stambaugh Auditorium) presented by Steve Repasky and Mary Ann Bilas Bush; (December) Christmas Carol Party at the Bush Manor; (January) No Meeting;  (February) Beautiful Sounds in a Beautiful Space – Holtkamp Pipe Organ, Poland Presbyterian Church;  (March) Festal Postludes and Marches: Members’ Recital, St. Christine Church, Youngstown. Ron Goulish and Mary Ann Bilas Bush, presenters; (April) No Meeting; (May) Annual Dinner/Business meeting, Springfield Grille, Poland.

Zagotti also made comments on the upcoming 2017 Regional Convention.  The program has been approved by National. We all must begin contacting sponsors, businesses to help financially support the convention. This is a Youngstown Chapter venture, everyone is needed to help make it a successful convention.

Secretary, Gary Richards reported on the election results: Karen Barr and Susanne Mayerchak were elected to the (2019) Class of the Executive Committee.  Regional Councilor, Karl Bruhn, installed the officers.

Monsignor Anthony Spinoza closed the meeting with a blessing.

Gary P. Richards, Secretary
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Youngstown Chapter
2016-17 AGO Programs

Monday, September 19 – 7:00 pm
St. Columba Cathedral
159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown

Monday, October 24 – 7:00 pm
Artists TBA
Trinity United Methodist Church
30 W. Front Street, Youngstown

Saturday, November 26 – 9 AM
Steve Repasky &
Mary Ann Bilas Bush presenters
Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

Sunday, December 18 – 6:00 pm
Bush Manor, 6771 Shawbutte, Poland

Monday, February 13 – 6:30 pm
SPACE – Holtkamp Pipe Organ
Poland Presbyterian Church
2 Poland Manor Drive, Poland

Monday, March 20 – 6:00 pm
Members’ Recital
A New Hybrid Technology – Wicks Organ
Ron Goulish & Mary Ann Bilas Bush Co-presenters
St. Christine’s Church
3165 S. Schenley, Youngstown

Sunday, May 21 – 6:00 pm
Springfield Grille
7413 Tiffany South, Boardman
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Monday/Tuesday – August 1 & 2
8:30-9:00 Registration
Michael Burkhardt & Kristina Langlois
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
35 E. Stanton Avenue, Columbus
Augsburgfortress/summer2016 music clinics

Friday, August 5
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Pepper Choplin, Clinician
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
777 Aten Road, Coraoplis, PA

Saturday, August 13
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Mark Hayes, Clinician
Overbrook Presbyterian Church
4131 N. High Street, Columbus
Cost $25.00

       Sacred Piano Reading Session – Free
       2:00-4:30 pm
Mark Hayes, Clinician
Overbrook Presbyterian Church

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Happy 105th Birthday,
Mark Oakland Fax!

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on June 15, 1911 in his parents’ home, Mark Oakland Fax was the younger of two sons in a close-knit African-American family. The family seemed on the verge of prosperity when Mark’s father, also named Mark, completed his training as a chiropodist circa 1918. However, the elder Fax died in 1924 at the age of forty-five. When Willie Estelle Cargille Fox then moved with her children to the home of her three sisters, young Mark became exposed to jazz, blues, and classical music via his aunts’ record collections.

Mark Fax was a musical prodigy, and when he was fourteen he began playing the organ at the Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church and at the Regent Theater, where he perfected his improvisational skills. Luckily, Fax found a mentor in W. Llewellyn Wilson, his music teacher at Douglass High School. Wilson also wrote a column for the Baltimore Afro-American, in which he often focused on up and coming young people, including Mark Fax.

Fax entered Syracuse University in 1929 and earned a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1930. After graduating in 1933, Fax planned to enter the University of Michigan but was deterred by the Great Depression. Returning to Baltimore, he worked with students at Morgan State College and then taught at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. In 1939 he married Dorothy Stuckey and in 1942 Fax began graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music, while finding the time and energy to work as both choir director and janitor at Mount Olivet Baptist Church. After earning his master’s degree in composition, Fax, along with his wife and young son, moved to New York City where he began doctoral work at New York University. As in the past, money problems dogged him so Fax left New York in order to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Then, in 1947, he was hired by Howard University in Washington, DC, where he taught piano, composition, and counterpoint. In time, Mark Fax was appointed Dean of the College of Fine Arts. In 1951 he became Minister of Music at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington. Fax’s own compositions often were played and sung at services.

He never fully recovered from a lawn mower accident in 1972, and he died on January 2, 1974. Celia E. Davidson (International Dictionary of Black Composers) writes, “As a teacher he was unsurpassed. His classes and lessons were exciting and motivating. His students became his friends, and each one knew that Mark Fax could always be called on for help. These friendships grew and the learning opportunities continued after graduation.”

Fax left behind many compositions, most written for specific university and church occasions: works for piano, organ, ensemble, orchestra, vocal solos, choral music, and three operas. Very little of his work has been published; a small number of his compositions have been recorded. Mark Oakland Fax has nevertheless been among the composers studied in two doctoral dissertations on African-American composers; he was the subject of an MA thesis, and most recently of a DMA thesis by Eric Orlando Poole, “The Sacred Choral Works of Mark Oakland Fax.” Someday we may see more of Fax’s music in print and hear it played and sung. And perhaps some of us will play his organ music, when it is finally published.  (AG)
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Stambaugh Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

Sunday, September 18                                          4:00 pm
American’s leading duo-organists
4 hands – 4 feet

Sunday, October 23                                              4:00 pm
from the Wannamaker Organ, Philadelphia
(Silent Film)

Sunday, November 20                                         7:00 pm
Ursinus College / International concert organist

Sunday, April 23, 2017                                        4:00 pm
Renowned concert organist
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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