February 2017 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region

Fairfield West, Connecticut. October 9, the chapter enjoyed a demonstration of the Newberry Memorial Organ at Yale University’s Woolsey Hall by Thomas Murray, university organist. A tour of the organ by curators Nicholas Thompson-Allen and Joe Dzeda followed the demonstration.

—Jonathan Ryan

Greater Hartford, Connecticut. A large grant from the chapter helped support the 19th annual Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Hartford, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. This year the festival was held at its new home at Hartford’s Trinity College after 18 seasons at First Church, Wethersfield, Conn. First place in the Young Professional Competition went to Colin MacKnight, second place to Collin Boothby, and third place to Joey Fala. In the High School Competition, first place went to Katherine Johnson, second place to Elena Baquerizo, and third place to Martin Jones. Audience prizes were awarded to MacKnight and Jones, and hymn playing awards to Fala, Boothby, and Jones. Isabelle Demers, Faythe Freese, and Christopher Houlihan judged the competitions and opened the festival with solo performances at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford, where they were joined by a festival choir and Chorus Angelicus under the direction of Gabriel Löfvall. Among the many exciting developments this year, prize money increased substantially, and a new board of directors was formed to support the festival in future years. Bob Clement, a longtime supporter of organ music, and musicians, and a champion of the festival, passed away on Nov. 18 after a short illness. He is remembered here for his dedication to talented young organists and his passion for their artistic development.

—Vaughn Mauren

New Haven, Connecticut. October 30, chapter members met at United Church on the Green, New Haven, for a catered evening dinner and fellowship.

• November 5, 30 members and guests attended an inspiring workshop titled “How to Rehearse a Choir.” The event, held at Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven, was led by Ed Bolkovac, professor of choral music at the Hartt School of Music. A catered Cajun-themed lunch followed.

—Vivienne McKay

Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts. October 23, the chapter was most fortunate to host George Bozeman for a masterclass on Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at South Parish Church in Andover, Mass. A retired organbuilder, esteemed concert artist, and member of the New Hampshire and Boston chapters, Mr. Bozeman presented a unique and insightful workshop on how to perform and idiomatically arrange what many classically trained musicians have studied and perhaps tried to perform on the organ—Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Out of 48 total preludes and fugues, Bozeman demonstrated roughly a dozen selections whose texture and style transferred best to the organ, performing them with technical ease and great refinement. His ornamentation and touch brought all the artistic nuances and poetry of fine harpsichord playing, and his tasteful registrations gave these pieces an authentic, German Baroque flavor. Moving away from conventional and sometimes predictable flute and principal choices, Bozeman cleverly employed reed, horn, and string stops with flutes and principals to bring out the contrapuntal voices in the music and make them sparkle. In his presentation, he explained that certain preludes having a pedal point and fugues having passages with a thicker texture could be distributed between the hands and pedals. This was especially effective for chords that Bach inserts at cadences and at the end of phrases and cadenza-like passages. A great example of this was shown in the Prelude in E-flat Minor, Book II. Enriching these chords with pedal created a full and dramatic effect. Bozeman explained that although reworking simpler sections of the bass line in the preludes and fugues into the pedal requires extra effort as opposed to simply playing on manuals alone, it is well worth the time as it produces not only a full, dramatic sound, but also fully exploits the organ’s ability to make Bach’s counterpoint sparkle in a way that the piano and harpsichord cannot. After the demonstration, Mr. Bozeman graciously stayed and answered questions at an open console with guests.

—Silke Maravelis

Binghamton, New York. November 4, the chapter held the fourth recital in its annual Young Artist Series featuring Joey Fala. Fala is a master’s candidate at Yale University, and is a student of Martin Jean and Thomas Murray. The recital, played on the 1996 III/46 Guilbault-Thérien rebuild at United Presbyterian Church in Binghamton, included music of Demessieux, Shearing, Bach, Callahan, and Vierne. A persistent cipher appeared during the middle of the Bach Fantasia, resulting in the subsequent loss of the Choir manual for the rest of the program. Fala calmly adjusted his registrations, and accepted the interruption with poise and good humor. The encore was Fala’s signature piece, Demes-sieux’s Octaves, a piece that is as entertaining visually as it is aurally. Fala invited interested audience members to join him in the rear gallery to see and hear the piece up close, and consequently dazzled and delighted those who participated. Previous Young Artist Series guests have included Joseph and Erin Ripka, Dexter (Tripp) Kennedy, and Nick Capozzoli. • Nov. 11, member Larry Hoey, organist and choir director of First Presbyterian Church in Endicott, N.Y., organized and led “A Concert for Organ and Brass,” featuring himself on the organ, and the local brass quintet, A Touch of Brass. The concert, held at Memorial Park Baptist Church, consisted of several solo organ works, along with works for organ and brass. The concert was in celebration of the church’s recently acquired Allen organ.

• November 13, members Diane Ames and Paulette Fry presented “A Concert of Music for Duo Organists” at United Presbyterian Church in Cortland, N.Y. They were supported in selected pieces by Johanna Ames and Carol Foster on piano, chimes, and special effects. The program featured music by Sousa, Callahan, Glière, and Joe Utterback. As a lighthearted finale titled “Victory at UPC,” the organists accompanied a silent, in-house video, made by church member Tom Corey, of various church members preparing pumpkin pies in the church kitchen, and also helping Doug Campbell, Wicks Pipe Organ Company regional consultant, as he worked on updating the organ. As a clever spoof of silent movie theater organ accompaniment, the organ duo played a medley of themes loosely related to the action on the screen. Paulette Fry is the organist at United Presbyterian Church.

—John Holt

Vermont. October 9, a tour of three churches and their historic organs was held in the Village of Chester. At First Baptist Church, Christian Thayer, resident organist, accompanied a hymn, followed by a mini-recital by Phil Stimmel. Included were works by Healey Willan, Joe Utterback, Louis Couperin, Pietro Yon, and Billy Nalle on the 1927 Estey. At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Ashley Paine, the church’s organist, accompanied a hymn, followed by a mini-recital by Peter Walker. Included were works by William Selby, J.S. Bach, Louis Vierne, Gaspard Corrette, and Flor Peeters on the 1870 S.S. Hamill. At the Congregational Church, Lorri Bond, resident organist, accompanied a hymn, followed by a brief recital by Lynette Combs. Included were works by David Lasky, Henri Mulet, and C.P.E. Bach on the 1898 S.S. Hamill. A reception was held following the recital.

—Vaughn L. Watson

Mid-Atlantic Region

Baltimore, Maryland. November 17, the chapter celebrated the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the 1882 Johnson & Son pipe organ at Westminster Hall in downtown Baltimore. The organ was restored by the Andover Organ Company of Methuen, Mass. Of the six organists playing, three—Michael Britt, Michael Gaffney, and James Houston—were among the original four performers from the 1991 recital. Also appearing were Mi Zhou, a student of John Walker, Phoon Yu, a student of Donald Sutherland, and Mary Maldarelli. Compositions by Bach, Rawsthorne, Vierne, Chris Lobingier, Bédard, and Joe Utterback were a part of the program. A reception followed the concert.

—Kitty Allen

Mid-Shore, Maryland. November 14, the chapter met at the home of member Marcia Fidis for a potluck dinner and meeting. It was an excellent opportunity to chat with old friends and to meet some new ones. Following dinner, Cynthia DeDakis, FRSCM, missioner for parish music, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and consultant in church music and chorister training, presented a stimulating and helpful presentation about her work in church music. It was a great educational experience and we all gained valuable ideas for work in our own parishes.

—Dale Krider

Central New Jersey. November 5, the chapter visited the residence of Glenn Thomas, editor and publisher of The AMICA Bulletin—the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association’s (AMICA) bimonthly scholarly journal—and host of AMICA’s recent international convention in Princeton. He described and demonstrated many instruments in his substantial collection of music boxes, player pianos, nickelodeons, and band organs. Each was in excellent working condition and had been lovingly restored. His descriptions of and his dedication to these varied instruments was thorough and infectious.

—Eric Plutz

Metropolitan New Jersey. October 17, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chatham (host organist Jim Little), was the setting for the chapter’s Dinner and Shared Conversation event. The evening began with wine and cheese followed by a catered dinner in the parish hall. Attendees shared highlights from conferences, conventions, education classes, and other events attended over the summer months. Preston Dibble, district convener, spoke about the Guild’s new mission and values statement. He also discussed the Guild’s recent decision to discontinue publishing salary guidelines and model contract provisions in response to the recent FTC investigation of the AGO. He then answered questions from members on the topic.

—Bev McGregor

Northern New Jersey. Members and guests who attended the October meeting had a wonderful day visiting two churches in the Bergen County, N.J. area. Historian Carol Benecke shared the early and interesting history of Old South Church in Bergenfield and Old North Church (built in 1799) in Dumont. The Old North congregation was founded in 1724 in Bergenfield in an octagonal building. When the Presbyterians wanted their own building and their own religion, they built Old South right next door! In 1801 the octagonal building was in such bad repair that someone donated land in Dumont where they built the present Old North Reformed Church. As there was animosity between the two congregations, Old North was built with a higher steeple than Old South. Pews were sold to provide money for the building. Slaves’ pews were constructed up against the balcony walls but wealthy slave owners sat and worshipped downstairs. Much of the area was, of course, farm and wooded land—both essential for the survival of Revolutionary War troops—and thus an underlying cause of many of the battles to control this area. Host Allen Newman demonstrated the organ for attendees.

—Stewart Holmes

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. October 21, “Pipes Spooktacular” took place at Mercersburg Academy Chapel in Mercersburg. The program included performers from the Chambersburg chapter and Cumberland Valley chapter in Hagerstown, Md. A variety of music was presented, not only for pipe organ, but also piano and percussion. Several soprano solos and an appearance by a “ghost dancer” were all part of the program. When Elizabeth Krouse played her Fantasy on Nursery Tunes, she invited the younger folks in the audience to come up to see the organ and then explained what she was going to play, asking them to listen for bits of familiar nursery rhymes in what she played. Trick-or-treat candy was given out to the audience at the end of the program.

—Helen Wingert

Erie, Pennsylvania. September 25, the chapter held its service for the installation of officers at Mount St. Benedict Monastery. Officers installed were Walt Gaber (dean), Edwina Gesler (sub-dean), Patrick Bier (treasurer), and Kathrine Swanson (secretary). The service was led by Jo Critchfield, retired director of sacred music at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, and the homily was given by the Rev. Brian Moran, retired pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church. Music for the service was provided by Bruce Gingrich, director of music and organist at First United Methodist Church, Erie, with special music by Dennis Cantoni, clarinetist. For the service, Mr. Gingrich played the new Hauptwerk organ in the Monastery’s chapel that was installed in April 2015 by Encore Organ Technology of North Plymouth, Minn. After the service, Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB (host), spoke about the installation, detailing its attributes, specifications, and software. After the presentation, members were invited to play the organ. A reception followed the evening’s

—Kathrine Swanson

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. October 15, Shelly Moorman-Stahlman gave a presentation to 14 attendees at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, about her trips to Brazil. She showed slides of the organs she saw and people she met, and talked about the Brazilian students who then came to the United States for a few months to study church music, organ playing, and organbuilding. She stressed how the relationships between Brazilian and American students were life-changing on both sides, and how the Brazilian students were fascinated and touched by liturgies in American churches. The presentation was fascinating, full of personal reflections, and also informative concerning the state of organs and church music in Brazil.

—Tom Dressler

Pennsylvania Northeast. Nov. 13, members of the chapter conducted their seventh Pedals, Pipes & Pizza program at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Pittston. The program began with a performance of A Pipe Organ Primer by Hal Hopson, with Raphael Micca, dean, as narrator and Michael Sowa, member, as organist. The program also featured a games session, facilitated by Micca, for the children who attended, as well as an explanation of the mechanisms of the pipe organ and the parts of an organ pipe by Peter Picerno. Many of the visitors to the program brought music to play on the church’s three-manual Kilgen. The program concluded with pizza and refreshments.

—Michael Sowa

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. November 18, chapter members attended the Philadelphia Orchestra concert for the premiere performance of Christopher Rouse’s Organ Concerto. Under the direction of Music Director Yannick Nézet- Séguin, with organist Paul Jacobs as soloist, the performance was a tenth anniversary celebration of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall. The organ, Dobson Opus 76, is the largest mechanical action concert hall organ in the United States. The Rouse Organ Concerto was commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony, and was written specifically for Paul Jacobs. Also on the program were Samuel Barber’s Toccata Festiva, Op. 36, and the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C Minor. Following the concert a reception was held at the home of Fred Haas, grandson of Fred J. Cooper. Along with 50 AGO members and their guests, honored guests included Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Paul Jacobs, and students from Paul Jacobs’s organ studio at The Juilliard School.

—David Furniss

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. November 18, the Organ Artists Series presented Chelsea Chen at Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh Campus. Her varied and very interesting program showed the 1994–95 III/73 Reuter to its best advantage. Her program included music by Cjeilo, Grieg, Langlais, Chen, J.S. Bach, Wammes, and Saint-Saëns. The recital was in memory of Robert Sutherland Lord, former University and Heinz Chapel Organist.

November 28, the chapter met at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Sub-dean Nathan Carterette was our host. After dinner and a brief meeting Pittsburgher David Mahler, itinerant church musician, presented a program about nourishing healthy singing. By using a variety of styles and types, he had everyone singing hymns traditionally, as well as in rounds, different styles, and with improvisations. He also provided a handout of music and resources. He was assisted by his wife, Julie Hanify.

—Barbara McKelway

Richmond, Virginia. The chapter held its November gathering as our members continued to prepare to host the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention. The highlight of this meeting was a program presented by Robert Parkins from Duke University, in which he discussed and demonstrated several pieces of Spanish organ music. Hosting the meeting was St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in the Bon Air neighborhood of Richmond, the home to Taylor & Boody Opus 64.

—John DeMajo

Southeast Region

Central Florida. In September, our first meeting of the 2016–17 season, titled “Year of the Member,” was held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Winter Park with Tim Smith (dean), as host. Before dinner, yearbooks with member contact information and vendor advertisements, compiled by Doug Spike, were distributed. Members then enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Roger Pallidino. A members’ recital followed with artists Tim Smith, Katherine Bunn, Ken Stoops, and Josiah Armes playing repertoire from several different periods.

In October, the chapter held its annual Spooktacular Concert at the Orlando Lutheran Towers in downtown Orlando. Tim Hanes (sub-dean) was the event coordinator. Members Ben Lane, Rick Robinson, Michael Petrosh, and Carolyn Parsons Cutler provided artistic and fun performances for the full-house audience. Tom Taylor accompanied a Charlie Chaplin silent movie on the five-manual Ruffatti, and the Downtown Singers led the audience in a Halloween sing-along. A highlight of the evening was an amazing gesture of affirmation and encouragement to new organists. Peter Kenzie of Church Organ Concepts generously donated an Ahlborn-Galanti Angelus two-manual organ for a student raffle. Scholarship student Nicholas Schefstad is the proud new owner of this practice organ. We also raised over $500 for our scholarship fund during the Spooktacular. Thank you to our hosts at the Towers, Pastor Norton Rosebrock and Odalia Santiago, as well as Travis Pilch for providing audio and visual services that contributed to the success of this event. More information and pictures can be found of this event and others on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/CentalFloridaAGO.

—John Reilly

Atlanta, Georgia. November 11, James F. Mellichamp, president of Piedmont College, and the Atlanta chapter presented Mark Pacoe in recital at the Piedmont College Chapel on the Sewell Organ, a mechanical-action instrument built by Casavant. Pacoe played an exciting program with works by Mulet, Marais, Jongen, Buxtehude, Eben, J.S. Bach, Shearing, Bolcom, and Bovet. Pacoe holds degrees from Duquesne and East Carolina universities and did postgraduate studies at the Eastman School of Music. He serves on the executive board on the NYC chapter and is a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. A published writer, Pacoe is in demand internationally as an adjudicator, and has served on the faculty for the POE in Wilmington, Del. Pacoe currently serves as director of music and organist at St. John Nepomucene and St. Frances Cabrini Catholic parishes in New York City.

—Don Land

Augusta, Georgia. November 4, the chapter held its November dinner and program at Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta (Lisa Wilson, organist). After a delicious dinner and a sharing of our “favorite” wedding stories, members and guests moved to the sanctuary for a program of wedding music. Keith Shafer, director of music at St. Paul’s Church, along with Fabio Mann, trumpet and flugelhorn, shared a variety of pieces for preludes, processionals, and recessionals. John Wilson (AAGO, ChM), director of music and organist, First Presbyterian, Augusta, along with Melissa Schultz, soprano, presented a variety of vocal music for weddings. Dr. Wilson along with Fabio Mann then presented a variety of wedding music for organ and trumpet. In choosing the music for the program, the presenters allowed us to hear pieces that are not always on the standard wedding music list. Attendees were excited to hear new pieces, as well as some old

—David Salter

Macon, Georgia. November 1, the chapter met at Northminster Presbyterian to hear a program on hymn playing presented by Joseph Golden, professor and university organist at Columbus State’s Schwob School of Music, and organist and choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus. The presentation, “Not Like Hymns—Like Music!” introduced an approach to hymn playing that focuses on facilitating the multiple needs of singers, and honors the stylistic standards expected in the preparation and presentation of any sort of serious music.

—Jane Kimbrel

Northeast Georgia. October 15, the chapter met at First Presbyterian Church, Athens. Following a brief business meeting, John T. Coble, organist and director of music at First Presbyterian, presented a fascinating program titled “Improvisation for the Church Organist.” In addition to a well-organized handout and presentation, Dr. Coble invited participants to come to the console and try out the various techniques he proposed. These included ways to make hymn introductions more attractive to a congregation, hymn-based improvisation using a variety of traditional and modern compositional techniques, and many others. He was most supportive and encouraging to all who attempted to apply his ideas to specific hymns and moments when improvisation skills might be demanded in a church service.

• November 5, the chapter met at First Baptist Church in Athens. Following a brief business meeting and refreshments, Ivan Frazier and Lalla Tanner presented a program honoring Martin Luther, “Vater unser im Himmelreich: Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach, and The Lord’s Prayer.” Included was historical information on Martin Luther’s adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer as found in the New Testament into his nine-verse hymn, the tune he adapted for the chorale, its earliest publication, and use by composers of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Frazier and Tanner performed Bach chorale preludes, BWV 636, 683, and 737 on the four-manual Möller Woodruff Memorial Organ. In attendance were Lalla Tanner, Erica Spackman, and Carol Corina.

—Ivan Frazier

Savannah, Georgia .October 29, the chapter held its biannual Pedals, Pipes & Pumpkins recital at First Presbyterian Church (Bill and Anne McNair, hosts). The program, which featured fun and “scary” organ music, was intended to expose children of all ages to the king of instruments. In addition to pumpkin carols, costumes, and door prizes, the program included selections such as, “Stars Wars—Throne Room,” “The Pink Panther Theme,” “Hornpipe Humoresque,” Mussorgsky’s Baba Yaga, “Rex: King of Instruments,” Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, Albinoni’s Adagio, and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries played by four hands and four feet. Performers included Rebecca McClain (dean), James Richardson, Bill McNair, Monica Harper Dekle, Jim Adams, Keith Valade, Kyle Ballantine, Timothy Hall, and the Rev. Peter Hartmann (emcee).

—Justin Addington

Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. November 12, Grace Baptist Church in Durham joined with the chapter to present “Hymn Sing to Help and Hope.” The hymns, interspersed with anthems and scripture, were all arranged by chapter member David Durkop (host), and provided uplifting color and flair as they supported the congregational singing. Seven church choirs participated, as well as the Philippine-American Association of North Carolina Choir and the North Carolina Boys Choir, resulting in a variety of musical styles. The choral finale for massed choir, “One Great Fellowship of Love,” was composed by chapter member Zollene Reissner, and conducted by chapter member Daniel Steinert (AAGO), with David Dur-
kop and Tim Baker (dean) accompanying. Attendees brought bags of food to be donated to the Durham Rescue Mission, along with the collected monetary

—Lyn Francisco

Wilmington, North California. The chapter met on October 11 at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Bill Remele, St. Paul’s director of music and organist, presented a lecture-recital on J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein. Remele spoke about Bach’s life during the time he was composing the Orgelbüchlein preludes, and about scholarly studies of the chorales. Then he played and gave specific information about selected preludes.

—Sara Bryant

Greater Anderson, South Carolina. October 29, twelve members of our chapter traveled to the Charlotte, N.C., area for an organ crawl. We enjoyed a tour of the Cornel Zimmer shop given by Chip Mays. Lunch was held at the home of David Wilcox where we were able hear and play the new Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ software. We then traveled to St. John’s Baptist Church to see a presentation of Létourneau Opus 113 by Charlotte chapter member Noel Lance. Following his demonstration, members were able to play the instrument for themselves. The tour concluded with a visit to Providence Road United Methodist Church, home to Parkey Opus 14 (relocated Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472). Although unable to attend, Charlotte chapter member Adam Ward graciously prepared the space for our visit, and members were delighted by the organ as they each took a turn at the

—Trevis Young

Spartanburg, South Carolina. November 28, the chapter held a members’ recital in the Chapel of the First Presbyterian Church. Over 65 people attended the Advent-themed program that was played on the chapel’s Schoenstein organ. Members performing in the recital were Brennan Szafron, Tashler Greene, Erica Pauly, Marcia Andrews, Mary Lou Miller, Alex Parler, Huger P. Caughman, Jr., Christopher Lane Hill, and Bill Cooper. The recital included works and arrangements by Marcel Dupré, Dennis Janzer, Wilbur Held, Johann Pachelbel, Gerald Near, Paul Manz, Johannes Brahms, Michael Burkhardt, Christopher Lane Hill, and George Frederick Handel. A reception was held in the church parlor after the recital.

—Bill Cooper

Knoxville, Tennessee. October 3, the chapter gathered at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian-Universalist Church for a program appropriately titled “You Didn’t Hear It at Your Church.” The varied selections ranged from two movements from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass to “Java Jive” (“I love coffee, I love tea”) and Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s popular song of the 1940s, “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive.” Choral numbers were sung by the Sanctuary Choir and Chalice Singers under the direction of Leslie Gengozian. Piano and organ accompaniment was by Will Dunklin. The church’s organ dates from an 1891 installation in a Baptist church in Georgia. It was moved to All Saints Chapel at the University of the South in Sewanee, from which it was later removed. After years of neglect and ruination at the hands of mischievous students, it was purchased from the university and was considerably reworked and enlarged by Bradley Rule of B. Rule & Company.

—Allison Ensor

Memphis, Tennessee. Thanks to Donna Sloan and St. Brigid’s Catholic Church for hosting Pedals, Pipes & Pizza in October. There were about 15 students who participated in this event designed to encourage the study of the organ. Greg Koziel, organ technician, Jim Walsmith, piano teacher at Colonial Middle School, and André Duvall, sub-dean, facilitated the demonstration and explanation of the pipe organ. It was fascinating to see the students’ and parents’ faces when they played and heard the different sounds of the organ. Students were reminded of the scholarship program for lessons available through the chapter and several were interested. It was a worthwhile endeavor for our chapter.

—Tyrus Legge

Nashville, Tennessee. November’s program featured a solo concert by Craig Cramer, professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame. The concert was cosponsored with First Presbyterian Church and hosted by Raphael Bundage, director of music, and Nick Bergin and Rhonda Swanson, organists. Cramer’s selections included Toni Zahnbrecher’s Introduction, Scherzo and Fuge on B-E-A-T-E (1993). Support by the Swain Fund was gratefully acknowledged.

—Rhonda Swanson

Great Lakes Region

North Shore, Illinois. November 12, the chapter presented a dual workshop titled “Creative Hymn Playing and Adapting Piano Music for the Organ.” This event, hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, was taught by organists Andrea Handley and Chris Urban, Jill Hunt, and Sharon R. Peterson. In the first session Chris and Andrea each addressed creative hymn playing from their own perspectives. Andrea demonstrated various templates she uses for creating her own introductions, alternate harmonizations, and modulations between verses. Chris gave an overview of many published collections of introductions, free harmonizations, modulations, piano-organ duets, music for organ and brass, and music for organ and various instruments. Jill shared her research on Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs using the piano score, J. Melvin Butler’s organ accompaniment, and the full orchestral score to inform her own organ accompaniment. Sharon gave a demonstration of the possibilities the organ offers to enhance an anthem written for choir and piano, emphasizing the importance of listening and thinking as a conductor while making decisions about the adaptation from piano to organ. The event was a rich presentation and a perfect follow-up to the previous month’s astounding concert presented by Notre Dame Cathedral’s organist, Vincent Dubois.

—Sharon R. Peterson

Southern Illinois. October 11, the chapter hosted David Lamb in a choral reading clinic held at First United Methodist Church in Carbondale. Members and friends enjoyed reviewing a wide selection of anthems useful for services throughout the year. Dr. Lamb discussed the selections and accompanied them on either piano or organ. He is currently director of music for Trinity United Methodist Church, New Albany, Ind., and is the AGO National Councillor for Membership. The program was most informative and was followed
by fellowship and refreshments in the church parlor.

—Sidney Smith

Southern Indiana. October 29, chapter members sponsored a Pipes and Pumpkins event at St. John Presbyterian Church in New Albany, Ind. Organists who performed special selections for Halloween were Bradley Johnson, George Hubbard, Charlie Mitchell, Janet Hamilton, and Tim Baker. Other performers included Ben Eiten, Emery Petry, Kathryn Lambert, and the Adult Handbell Choir and Chancel Choir of St. John Presbyterian (Charles Mitchell, director). Pastor Allen Colwell presented a story. Halloween carols were sung by the audience, and there was a parade of costumes. Treats preceded the program.

—Judith E. Miller

Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan. The Grand Rapids and Holland chapters met at the new Jack Miller Recital Hall for an evening with Hope College organ professor Huw Lewis and his students. Lewis led an open masterclass sharing valuable pedagogical insights for students from the very beginning to advanced levels.

—Peter Kurdziel

Greater Lansing, Michigan. October 22, Meredith Hines, chapter education chair, organized and presented our Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event held at the historic Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing. She was assisted by Darlene Greenman-Ross at the organ and Michigan State University WKAR radio personality Jody Knoll as the narrator to “A Young Person’s Guide to the Pipe Organ.” In addition to the video “Pulling Out All of the Stops,” organbuilder and chapter member Brian Fowler and two of his assistants, operations manager Scott Lumbert and his 14-year-old son, Alex, lectured on the history of the organ and the mechanics of sound production. Following the demonstration, a tour of the organ chambers was held. After a pizza luncheon, the attendees were treated to a mini-recital by the chapter’s three organ scholars: Timothy Behan, Benjamin Foster, and Timothy Nechuta. We were all thrilled with the progress exemplified by our chapter’s youth.

—Barbara Hiranpradist

Cleveland, Ohio. October 23, the chapter was hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Blackstone for a recital on the organ in their home overlooking Lake Erie. The IV/137 organ contains 7,406 pipes and is inspired by the Aeolian-Skinner tradition. Recitalists were Garrett Law and David von Behren, students of Todd Wilson at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

—Rick Nelson

North Central Region

North Iowa. The North Iowa chapter began a fall project gathering names of organists, pianists, and choir and team directors who have been working a total of 25 years or more in their professions, either paid or volunteer. Over 180 names were submitted from churches and friends, and on Nov. 6 these musicians were honored in an afternoon worship service at First United Methodist Church in Mason City, Iowa. Though not all could be present, those who were, together with family members and church friends, nearly packed the large sanctuary. The Rev. Kathleen Moore, senior pastor, gave the invocation and benediction. The Rev. Dr. Mark Holmer, currently pastor at St. Thomas Episcopal in Algona, Iowa, gave the homily calling to mind the service, influence, and sacrifice of all these church musicians. The choir of First UMC sang the anthem and hosted the reception following the service. The bell choir of First Congregational of Charles City, directed by Nancy Houston, rang two pieces. Additional AGO members Christopher Arp and Mary Jane Crail provided the service music on the 1980 44-rank Schantz. Certificates were presented to those honored and mailed to those unable to attend. The longest-serving musician present has served 65 years. It was a project long overdue, with heartwarming results. AGO brochures were placed on the reception tables.

—Cynthia Johnson

Greater Kansas City, Missouri. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Kansas City, Missouri, hosted the chapter’s Schola Cantorum vocal ensemble on Oct. 17. “Music as Prayer” was the ensemble presentation of an Episcopal Choral Evensong service, and was officiated by the Rev. Patrick Perkins of St. Mary’s Church. Joshua Maize was guest conductor of the Schola Cantorum, organist was Fillipa Duke, lectors were Chloe Stodt and Mike Maiden (dean). Members of the ensemble were rehearsal accompanist Matthew Winterhalter, Dale Bolyard, Sara Chesselow, Meaghan Coble, Brad Cutcliffe, Christina Cutcliffe, Doug Fishel, Megan Grodon, Gayle Hathorne, Jeffrey Hon, Kirsten Hyde, Breanne Jeffries, Donna LaBach, Matthew LaMar, Natalie LaMar, Madeline Martin, Sara McClure, Alexis McDaniel, Nicole Murray, Michael Robert Patch, Katie Petrucci, Aaron Redburn, Becky Roper, John Schaefer, Jackson Thomas, and Peter Wheeler.

• October 22, the chapter presented a Pedals, Pipes & Pizza program in Liberty, Mo., at Second Baptist Church (Ann Posey, organist) and at Liberty Christian Church, (Carol Wallace, organist). Student participants were Caroline Dilts, Jacie Johnson, Gavin Jones, and Joshua Santy. Chapter members from the Reuter Organ Company provided visual demonstrations of the various components of a pipe organ and voiced a new organ pipe. Planning committee members and other participants included Ron Krebs, Mike Maiden, Carol Mueller, Ann Posey, Carol Wallace, Tom Watgen, and Thomas Zachacz.

—Norm Kinnaugh

St. Louis, Missouri. November 14, the meeting began with a shared meal, business meeting, and a drawing for CDs. Thanks to Curator Nathan Bryson, members learned about the seven-manual, 449-rank Midmer-Losh in Atlantic City, N.J., which ranks among the largest organs ever built. Another noteworthy instrument is the Wanamaker, which has more stops but fewer pipes. The Midmer-Losh, begun in 1929 and completed in 1932, is a sonic Mount Rushmore, designed for the largest open-span structure in the world. Depending on the event, Boardwalk Hall could hold as many as 44,000 people, and is large enough to contain a flying helicopter. Through restoration efforts, the hall’s original 13-second reverberation time has been brought into the three to six second range. The organ was made possible through the efforts of Senator Emerson Richards, a lawyer who also served as project supervisor. In spite of financial hardships of the Great Depression, Richards advocated for designs with colossal power, unique sounds, and mind-boggling possibilities. Bryson assured members that the seven-manual console was “not as terrifying as it looks,” that efforts were made to make it comfortable, even ergonomic. He outlined the history from its short heyday to its “slow descent into silence.” Factors like talking films, the increasing popularity of amplified sound, the 1944 hurricane, the installation of air conditioning, leaky roofs, poor racking by the contractor, and budget limitations brought the organ into a position where it was basically unplayable. The restoration process of recent years follows the goal of complete mechanical and tonal restoration using materials similar to the originals. The restoration committee and volunteers are rebuilding not just the main Midmer-Losh, but also the W.W. Kimball IV/55 built in Boardwalk Hall’s ballroom in 1930. Staff members are seeking creative uses of the organ and promotion of the pipe organ. Regular recitals are just the beginning. The steps being followed and the collaboration with other companies gives hope that the restoration will be complete by 2023. —Dawn Riske
Madison, Wis. Nov. 19, nearly 70 appreciative residents of Madison’s Oakwood Village Senior Community, their families and friends, gathered in Oakwood’s Resurrection Chapel for a diverse and enjoyable program of music presented by members of the chapter and Association of Church Musicians (ACM). Included were organ selections by Bach, Pachelbel, and Stanford, as well as pieces for Christmas, all played on the chapel’s tracker organ built by ACM member Bruce Case. There were also duets for Celtic harp, German Christmas carol vocal solos, an audience sing-along led with soprano ukuleles, a nine-year-old organist, and a women’s vocal group.

Those participating included Donald DeBruin of First Congregational UCC, Madison; nine-year-old Jay VandeBerg, student of Sue Poulette of Bethany UMC, Madison; Gary Lewis of Bethel Lutheran Church, Madison; Pam Wyss of St. John’s UCC, Monroe; Bruce Bengtson of Luther Memorial, Madison; Alice Kissling of Madison; Ken Stancer of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Madison; and Deb Krattiger, Brenda Payne and Deborah Krauss Smith, all of St. John’s UCC in Monroe.

—Deborah Krauss Smith

Southwest Region

Central Arkansas. May 13, the chapter met at First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock for dinner and an organ recital. Scott Seidenschwarz, organist and choirmaster at the church, was host for the dinner. Following the dinner and business meeting the chapter moved to the sanctuary to hear a recital by Alex Gilson, organ scholar at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, and a student of Jesse Eschbach and Pat Coil at the University of North Texas. This was the 13th annual recital celebrating the life of Robert Young Ellis. Dr. Ellis served as professor of organ at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., from 1952 to 1987. During his tenure he influenced innumerable students and colleagues. His former students remember him as a musician of genius and one who brought both wit and sophistication to the lesson and to the classroom.

September 23, the chapter gathered at First United Methodist Church, Conway, for dinner, installation of officers, and recital. Betty Cohen, organist at the church, was host for the dinner. New officers installed were Mike Metzler (dean), Wayne Simpson (sub-dean and treasurer), Bill McCandless (secretary), board members Beau Baldwin (2019), James Cathey (2018), and Barb Lusk (2017). During the meeting Betty Cohen announced that the recital with organist Tom Trenney was in celebration of a new console and other enhancements to the organ made possible by a gift from the estate of Sarah Frances Coffman. She and her late husband were longtime members of the church and supporters of church music. Betty also noted that the organ was originally installed in 1962, and for many years was the organ used by the Hendrix College organ department. Nichols & Simpson Organbuilders in Little Rock made the renovations and built the console. Following the dinner and business meeting the chapter adjourned to the sanctuary to hear the recital. Mr. Trenney presented a program of Ives, Mendelssohn, Bach, Sweelinck, Conte, Hampton, Shearing, and Locklair, with his own improvisations. Following the recital the audience greeted the artist at a reception.

October 21, the chapter met again at First Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, for dinner (Scott Seidenschwarz, host), a business meeting, and a recital. Following dinner a brief business meeting was held, presided over by Betty Cohen, immediate past dean. The chapter adjourned to the sanctuary to hear a recital by Alcée Chriss III on the III/61 Nichols & Simpson. Chriss presented a program of Bach, Schumann, Fauré, Guillou, Sowerby, Rachmaninoff, and Taylor. His encore was the Ride of the Valkyries. Following the program Gini Freemyer hosted an afterglow reception at her home.

—Betty Cohen

Austin, Texas. October 17, the chapter sponsored an organ crawl at First United Methodist Church (Scott Davis, host), and a recap of the 2016 Houston National AGO convention. The organ was refurbished by R.A. Colby organbuilders and includes reused pipe ranks with additional digital stops.

November 18, a clergy-musician dinner was held at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (Jean Fuller, host). Dinner was followed by a presentation from Charlotte Kroeker of the Church Music Institute.

—Jack Martin

Dallas, Texas October 15, the chapter’s education projects committee organized a Choral Intensive Day that began with “Vocal Pedagogy for the Church Musician” presented by Dale Dietert, senior lecturer in voice at Southern Methodist University, and a reading session presented by the Church Music Institute followed by lunch. In the afternoon, Cynthia Nott, director of the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, held a session on “Working with Children’s Choirs,” and the day finished with a conducting masterclass and workshop under the direction of Allen Hightower, director of choral studies at the University of North Texas.

November 4, the chapter recital committee invited patrons of its Robert T. Anderson Series to a pre-concert reception at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. Patrons then joined a large audience to enjoy a wonderful recital by Benjamin Sheen, assistant organist at St. Thomas Church, New York City, who performed a program of mostly English composers, including his own father’s ingenious arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Overture to The Hebrides. This interesting recital also included works by William Walton, Herbert Howells, Jonathan Dove, Healey Willan, J.S. Bach, and Gerre Hancock. It was the first recital of the Robert T. Anderson Series.

• We are pleased to see that one of our former chapter scholars, Henry Webb, now 18, gave a stunning premiere solo recital at the East Texas Organ Festival on Nov. 7 on the Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1173 at First Presbyterian Church, Kilgore. His program included J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543, as well as the Six Schübler Chorales, ending with Vierne’s Symphony No. 3. There was an immediate standing ovation from the 100-plus audience. As Chapter Scholar he studied with Christina Harmon. He currently studies with Scott Dettra at Church of the Incarnation where he assists in overseeing their vibrant music program.

—William Leazer

West Region

Southern Arizona. November 13, the chapter held its 25th annual Showcase Concert at the Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior in Green Valley. Chapter members Ji Sun Lee, Sara Tobe, and Janet Tolman performed works by Walther, Vivaldi, Tournemire, Bach, Vierne, Decker, Merkel, Burkhardt, and Mulet on the church’s III/28 Holtkamp (2015). Guitarist Michael Lich joined Ji Sun Lee in a Vivaldi concerto, and organist Kathryn Snodgrass joined Janet Tolman in organ duets by Gustav Merkel and Michael Burkhardt. Among those attending was composer Pamela Decker, whose Tango Toccata on a Theme by Melchior Vulpius was performed by her student Sara Tobe. A reception hosted by the church followed the concert.

—Stephen Keyl

Sacramento, California. October 14, in celebration of the newly restored organ at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Bruce Neswick played a splendid recital of works by Gerre Hancock, Sowerby, Distler, Bach, Franck, Howells, and Dupré. Neswick’s program culminated in an improvisation on a submitted theme, bringing members of the audience to their feet in appreciation of his amazing artistry. The following day the chapter sponsored a workshop, “Making Hymn Playing More Exciting,” led by Mr. Neswick, in which he presented useful keyboard practice skills that would enable organists to develop their abilities to move beyond the printed page in making hymns meaningful in the church service. His detailed and very practical examples inspired us to place greater emphasis on what happens between the prelude and postlude as we minister to our congregations.

—Sue Miller

San Diego, California. The chapter’s annual fall student recital was held November 20. Students performed at La Jolla Presbyterian Church.

—Leslie Wolf Robb

San Jose, California. October 14, the chapter presented organist Ugo Sforza in recital at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. This is the third year that Mr. Sforza has presented a wonderful recital for the chapter. Sforza earned degrees in organ performance, composition, piano, and cultural heritage (historic keyboard instruments) in Italy and Austria. He has performed organ recitals for concert series and organ festivals in Europe and the United States. His program included a broad variety of organ repertoire. He opened his recital with Reger’s monumental Phantasie und Fuge über B-A-C-H, Op. 46. Throughout the dense, virtuosic fantasy and the extended double fugue, he showcased the variety of tonal colors in the 57-rank Balcom and Vaughan. Next, Sforza and Valerie Sterk (piano) presented Franck’s Prelude, Fugue, and Variation, Op. 18, in the version for organ (harmonium) and piano. Even though performed on the organ, Ugo created sounds that closely resembled the harmonium. Ugo closed his program with three of his original compositions: Organum Vox Dei, Op. 3 (2003), Sunshine, Op. 9 (2012), and a first performance of a new composition, Triumphal March, Op. 18 (2016). Theme and Variations in Honour of Saint Walburga, the first of three pieces in Organum Vox Dei, was inspired by the Saint’s life. As a servant of God, Walburga spent her life caring for the poor. The second piece, Meditation for Good Friday, arose from the composer’s deep reflection upon the meaning of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The final piece in the set, Regina Caeli, is a tribute to the Virgin Mary. Ugo’s next composition was Sunshine, composed in 2012 after completing his postgraduate organ studies in Edinburgh. In this piece, he aimed to depict the picturesque landscapes of Scotland, long a source of inspiration for composers. The last of Mr. Sforza’s compositions was Triumphal March, combining elements of traditional organ repertoire with influences from 20th-century film music. For more information on Ugo, including recordings of some of his other compositions, visit his website, Ugosforza.jimdo.com.

—Valerie Sterk

Salt Lake City, Utah. October 22, the chapter met at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City for a workshop on choral conducting. Craig Jessop, former music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and founding dean of the Caine College of Fine Arts at Utah State University, presented a practical, useful, and inspiring workshop on rehearsal techniques for choirs. Dr. Jessop directed the attendees as a choir, and directed the group through several compositions. He demonstrated rehearsal techniques including warm-ups, count-singing, conducting, directing from the console, and other useful skills as they applied to these pieces. Dr. Jessop’s distinguished career was very apparent and his instruction was very informative and helpful. Alex Oldroyd accompanied the workshop on the church’s III/37 Austin that was rebuilt and enlarged by H. Ronald Poll & Associates. Following the workshop, attendees were invited to observe Dr. Jessop working with the Utah Collegiate Honor Choir at the ACDA state conference that afternoon. The group performed the organ, harp, and percussion version of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Clay Christiansen at the III/65 Lively-Fulcher at Libby Gardner Hall. Jessop and Christiansen reprised the work that they performed 40 years earlier as young musicians in Salt Lake City. It was an inspiring day and a wonderful confluence of the organ and choral communities.

—Becky Ázera

Seattle, Washington. November 28, Bill Hurt hosted a demonstration and explanation of Hauptwerk virtual organ software at his home. Strong interest among chapter members necessitated two sessions in the limited space. Sam Libra performed pieces appropriate to the four virtual organs selected, two Dutch and two French. Hurt explained how pipe sounds are sampled, reproduced, and distributed among speakers spread across the room. He also covered how one plays four virtual manuals from three physical ones and how the software accommodates virtual organs with more stops than the console can manage with its own combination action. Refreshments and open console and social time concluded each session.

—David Nichols

Spokane, Washington. The chapter hosted Todd Wilson for a masterclass on October 22 and a recital on October 23. His visit was cosponsored by the chapter and one of its members, Thomas Jefferson. The masterclass, attended by over a dozen people, was held at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral. Students for the class were Taylor Giese, Audrey Pratt, Thomas Jefferson, and Chris Nelson, playing works by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, Messiaen, and Reger. Despite Mr. Wilson’s renowned reputation as an exacting and rigorous performer, his instructive style immediately put everyone at ease, as he went through the methods for approaching a piece of music both from its historic background as well as the interpretation to fit the organ and acoustics of the specific performance. The following day, his recital was attended by over 100 people, and included works of Duruflé, Bach, Widor, and Gerre Hancock. The final piece was an improvisation on the hymn tune St. George’s Windsor (“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”). A reception followed at the Cathedral. The Spokesman-Review arts critic gave a glowing review of the concert, indicating it was a paramount moment for Spokane organ music performance.

—Vince Roland


  1. Natalie Ning says:

    Wonder if there’s a list of substitute organists with names and contact info made conveniently available on this website for organists to find capable experienced sub?

    • Bill Valentine says:


      We don’t maintain a national listing of substitute organists, but most AGO chapters do have lists. I would recommend that you contact the chapter nearest to you. To find a chapter nearby you could start here: https://www.agohq.org/regions/

Leave a Reply to Bill Valentine Cancel reply