The Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Scholarship is intended to support the education of talented young organists who will make significant contributions to the fields of organ playing and sacred music. They are expected to have existing talent and achievements in the field of organ playing and an expressed commitment post-graduation to teaching, performing, sacred music, or other serious endeavor with respect to the organ. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need.
Early this year, the AGO evaluated applications for the 2015-16 Pogorzelski-Yankee Scholarships and named two new Pogorzelski-Yankee Organ Scholars. Congratulations to Joey Fala, who will begin first year graduate study at Yale, and Richard Gress, who will begin his Freshman college year at Mercer University! These two students join the four continuing Pogorzelski-Yankee Scholars to make a total of six students studying in the upcoming 2015-16 academic year.
The Pogorzelski-Yankee Memorial Scholarships are presently awarded for a period of up to four (4) years for undergraduate awardees ($7,500 annually) and up to two (2) years for graduate school awardees ($15, 000 annually). A total of $60,000 is awarded each academic year. Each award is renewable if requirements are met. (For other scholarship opportunities, see our online list of additional academic scholarships.)
For more information about this scholarship program, contact AGO Headquarters: firstname.lastname@example.org
The eligibility requirements (subject to change) for the 2016-17 applications are below.
- Students must plan to be an entering college freshman or an entering first year graduate student.
- Students must have a desire to commit a significant portion of the two years following graduation to teaching, performing, sacred music, or other serious endeavor with respect to the organ.
- Students must attend, or plan to attend, a nationally or regionally accredited post-secondary institution (college, university or conservatory); by the time awards are made students must provide verification of acceptance to the institution.
- Students must attend their institution as full-time students.
- Students must have verifiable financial need to be awarded this scholarship.
- Membership in the AGO is not required.
- Applicants may not be the children or grandchildren of American Guild of Organists’ staff members, board members, or scholarship committee members. Applicants may not be related to Ronald G. Pogorzelski or Lester D. Yankee.
- Students must have the ability to showcase their talent on the organ through three (3) unedited contiguous performances.
- The total time of the three recordings combined may not exceed 30 minutes for undergraduate students (those seeking bachelor’s degrees).
- The total time of the three recordings combined may not exceed 45 minutes for graduate students (those seeking master’s degrees).
- You must include one composition by J.S. Bach (for a trio sonata, your Bach submission should be two sonata movements – either I & II or II & III) and two contrasting works composed after 1800 (these can be single, stand-alone works, or movements from a multi-movement work). Applications will be strengthened when the choice of compositions allow the player to exhibit musical and technical achievement.
- If multiple organs are used, applicants must list the type and instrument specification for each organ.
- Students must provide two (2) letters of recommendation:
- One (1) from their most recent organ instructor, and
- One (1) from another music or education professional.
- Students must compose and submit two 500 word essays.
- One essay will be required from both freshman and graduate students : “Why do you need this scholarship? Please explain the degree of your financial need. Outline any extenuating circumstances.”
- The second essay question for freshmen : “Describe your passion for the organ and its literature.”
- The second essay question for first year graduate students: “How will obtaining a graduate degree in organ study be of value to you in your career?”
- Students must provide information about family income, estimated family contribution towards college, and tuition rates from which the committee can ascertain financial need.
- Students must submit an official transcript from their high school or college.
- Students will be required to submit a copy of their admissions letter.
- The digitally recorded videos of performances may not exceed 30 minutes for undergraduates and 45 minutes for graduate students. Performances of three organ pieces are required: one composed by J.S. Bach, and two additional contrasting works composed after 1800. Each video must clearly show the applicant performing at the organ console. It must be of sufficient quality to ensure a fair assessment of the candidate’s abilities by the application reviewers. Different instruments may be used; the candidate must provide a specification for each instrument used. Individual pieces must not be edited. We strongly encourage candidates to seek assistance from a school representative, technical adviser, or instructor to complete the video requirement.
- Each essay must be written at a level of sophistication expected of an incoming or current college student, or graduate student, depending on the applicant’s status. The essays will be focused on goals, achievement and dedication, and financial need. The essays will be judged not only on the answers to the questions, but on clarity and college-level writing ability.
- Two letters of support are required: one from the most recent primary organ instructor, and a second from another music or education professional. References should underscore the applicant’s achievements, potential for future success, and qualities that align with the mission of the Pogorzelski-Yankee Memorial Scholarship. Letters will be judged based on the recommender’s level of knowledge and evidence about the applicant, the applicant’s perceived likelihood of success in college and career, and professional judgment about fit with this scholarship.
All materials must be submitted online by the application deadline, February 15, 2016 (subject to change). There is no application fee. Applicants should be informed on or near April 1, so that they could include this information in negotiations with the school of their choice.
Scholarships will be awarded to the entering freshman and entering master’s candidate contingent upon notification of acceptance into an organ-related degree program. As per the donors’ wishes, the students must agree in writing to commit a significant portion of the two years following graduation to teaching, performing, sacred music, or other serious endeavor with respect to the organ.
The Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Scholarship will be renewable only if scholarship recipients maintain an overall 3.0 academic GPA in all music coursework. Those who do not maintain this grade point average or for any reason fail to maintain good standing at their academic institution will be placed on probation for a semester; if the situation is not corrected, they will lose the remainder of the scholarship funding. It will not be reinstated. Should a recipient decide to transfer to another accredited music program, the scholarship can be transferred by the recipient if they meet all of the other requirements for maintenance of the scholarship.
The scholarship will be disbursed directly to the appropriate office of the recipient’s chosen institution. We will issue two payments, one at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the beginning of the spring semester. Before the final disbursement of the scholarship, each recipient of the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Scholarship must provide the committee with documentation that he/she will graduate with the intended degree. In the two years following graduation, the recipient will provide updates on organ- related activities pursued during that time.