January 2018 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region

Waterbury, Conn. Oct. 14, the chapter held an anthem reading session. Several members brought some of their favorite choral anthems to share. They also accompanied and directed the choir, made up of the other participants plus some invited choir members from local churches. A wide variety of anthems was presented, and some were by local composers. Participants also received a listing of the anthems and ordering information. This event was held in the chancel of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Waterbury, where the grand piano, Austin chancel organ, and McManis gallery organ were all used. Registrar and Treasurer Michael Petruzzi coordinated the event.

—William Degan

Cape Cod and the Islands, Mass. The chapter held its annual convocation and installation of officers on Oct. 22 at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Chatham. This event was held in conjunction with a Choral Evensong in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. An assembled choir of 55 voices from more than ten Cape congregations joined to sing music of Ireland, Harwood, Howells, Rutter, and Vaughan Williams. Region I Councillor Cheryl Duerr officiated at the installation. Musicians included chapter members Deb Gemma, organ, Joan Kirchner, soprano soloist, the Rev. Dr. Judith Davis, cantor, and Maury A. Castro, choirmaster.

—Maury A. Castro

Merrimack Valley, Mass. Oct. 13, the Boston and Merrimack Valley chapters cohosted a Spooktacular organ recital at Grace Episcopal Church in Salem. Abbey Siegfried, Merrimack dean, introduced the delightfully spooky program wonderfully played by organists Fred MacArthur and Mark Engelhardt, who performed the second half of the program dressed in 18th-century period costume. Organ selections fit for a Friday the 13th included Marche Grotesque by R. Purvis, West Wind by A. Rowley, Funeral March of a Marionette by Gounod, and Scherzoso by J.H. Rogers. The second half of the program featured Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Totentanz and That Sinking Feeling by Albright, and three selections from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. During intermission Siegfried, accompanied by Louise Mundinger from the Boston chapter, led a sing-along of The Addams Family Theme Song, plus cleverly reworded carols in keeping with the spirit of Halloween. All were invited to enjoy refreshments in the church hall after the program.

—Jodi Templer

Binghamton, N.Y. August 26, our summer outing was a potluck picnic at the home of members Tim and Johanna Masters in nearby Brackney, Pa. Johanna is the director of music and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Montrose Pa. Some years ago, Tim procured and assembled a 1938 two-manual Wicks (direct electric model) pipe organ in their home. Recently he built an impressive two-manual Hauptwerk organ, including the hardwood console, equipped with three different sample sets of English, French, and Dutch organs. He demonstrated the different features of the Hauptwerk organ, including, for instance, how a sample set of a five-manual Dutch organ can be configured so that it can be played on a two-manual Hauptwerk instrument. Most of the attendees got to play both organs. Attendees also enjoyed the lovely rural setting of the Masters’ home, which included a visit to their garden, and a picnic out on their patio on a perfect day. • Oct. 6, Lee Roseboom, organist at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, was joined by members Patti O’Connell (French horn), Jean Henssler (organ), Richard Van Auken (organ), Evelyn Van Auken (piano), and Mike Roseboom (tenor) in a celebration and dedication of the church’s new Roland organ. The recital was preceded by a dedication service led by Pastor Worley.

—John Holt

Westchester County, N.Y. Oct. 22, the chapter partnered with Rye Presbyterian Church and the New York City AGO chapter in sponsoring a recital at Rye Presbyterian Church to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Rye’s Casavant. The recital featured the organ and percussion ensemble Organized Rhythm. Clive Driskill-Smith, organist, and Joseph Gramley, percussionist, gave a program of outstanding beauty with a satisfying amount of showmanship. It included Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Hoe-Down from Rodeo, Paul Creston’s Meditation, and Ives’s Variations on “America.” The second half of the program was dedicated to Holst’s The Planets. A surprise feature was the addition of a commissioned piece, Pluto, by Stephen Eddins, which was inserted into Holst’s work. It brought a more contemporary sound to the work, using global instruments like the Peruvian box drum and African rhythm instruments. Driskill-Smith played the 68-rank Casavant installed in 1981, rebuilt in 2002, and upgraded in 2016. It was promised that he would “use every stop,” and he certainly did! The performers chatted with the audience at a reception afterward.

—Karen Longwood

Rhode Island. The chapter closed its 2016–17 program year in June with a weekend in Newport celebrating the completed renovation of the Casavant in historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church—the church in which John and Jacqueline Kennedy were married. On June 3, Simon Couture, vice president and tonal director of Casavant, gave a delightful lecture on details of the renovations of the organ that was followed by a festive service with full choral liturgy sung by the choirs of St. Mary’s. On June 4, the annual members’ recital and dinner took place at St. Mary’s with resident organist Cody Mead, Gigi Mitchell-Velasco, Roger Castellani, and Peter Krasinski participating.

—Doris Alberg

Vermont. Sept. 24, the chapter presented member Lynnette Combs in a recital to celebrate the 125th birthday of the 1892 William Johnson, Opus 782 (II/9) at First Baptist Church of Bellows Falls. The recital was titled “Light from Leipzig: J.S. Bach and His Influence,” and included works by C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, Krebs, Brahms, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Hindemith, Reger, and Thayer. Following the recital, church members sponsored a festive reception, including a birthday cake that was made depicting the console and facade of the 125-year-old organ.

—Vaughn L. Watson

Mid-Atlantic Region

Delaware. Oct. 7, the chapter commemorated the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation with a program titled “Signs and Wonders” held at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Newark. Organized and led by chapter member and PhD. candidate Chad Fothergill, the program began with a short service of Morning Prayer in the style of 16th-century Wittenberg. Next came a presentation by Fothergill that combined historical information with thoughtful consideration of what the Reformation means to today’s church musician. The morning concluded with a hymn festival involving choir, organ, piano, handbells, and brass quartet. A number of chapter members and local clergy participated in this service that featured readings and musical numbers in a wide variety of styles.

—William Robinson

Central Maryland. Sept. 18, the chapter held a clergy-musician dinner meeting at the Church of the Transfiguration in Braddock Heights. After a delicious potluck supper, the installation of officers was conducted by Miriam Meglan. The new officers are Peggy Brengle, dean, Brian Bartoldus, sub-dean, Dottie Winter, secretary, Jody Brumage, treasurer, J. Pinoake Browning, registrar, Truuke Ameigh, Peg Bruckart, and Lindsey Williams, members-at-large. The speaker for the evening was Ted Davis from St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore. He spoke on clergy-musician concerns, emphasizing that attitudes between the two parties and good relationships are key to a harmonious, healthy, and productive workspace. The calendar for the remainder of the year was presented and includes worship planning, social-music swap, hymn festival, a bus trip to Taylor & Boody, and year-end banquet.

—Lindsey Williams

Mid-Shore Maryland. Oct. 16, for the first program of the season we had the honor and pleasure of presenting AGO National Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Don E. Saliers, who spoke about music and worship in the church. He gave us many thoughts to ponder and encouraged us to press on toward the praise of God through music. He reminded us that we touch more folks than we may ever know, and some of us shared those experiences. He was a dynamic and engaging speaker and inspired us all as church musicians. It was the perfect beginning to a new season of work as organists, directors, and teachers. Every chapter should have this experience!

—Dale Krider

Central New Jersey. Sept. 17, the annual chapter dinner, held at a popular local restaurant, continued the tradition of beginning the season with enjoying fellowship, renewing friendships, and welcoming new chapter members.

• Oct. 1, “Organ Spectacular,” the tenth annual recital at St. Paul Church, Princeton, was played by Princeton University organist and recitalist Eric Plutz on the 1925 Aeolian-Skinner organ, renovated a decade ago by Patrick J. Murphy and Associates. Plutz is currently dean of the chapter. An enjoyable program with the title “A Town Hall Concert” included music by a variety of composers all active at the turn of the last century: Widor, Hollins, Italian composer Marco Enrico Bossi, American composer Isaac Van Vleck Flagler, represented by Variations on an American Air, and ending with an organ sonata by Guilmant. The reception afterward was provided by chapter members.

• Oct. 23, a PowerPoint lecture with demonstration at the piano on new research into styles of ornamenta­­tion, especially grace notes, in 18th-century keyboard music was presented by member Beverly Jerold, AAGO, a scholar and published author and musician. Various European countries were represented in the writings and examples that were briefly analyzed and played for us; excerpts of longer pieces by J.S. Bach and François Couperin, among others, were performed to illustrate the beautiful effect of the correct use of the ornament. As early as 1702, French writer Saint-Lambert stated a general rule: “Ornaments must never alter the piece’s melody or rhythm.”

—Mary Giordmaine

Metropolitan New Jersey. Sept. 11, the chapter kicked off the program year with a program titled “Music for Organ and Vocal Soloists” at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Mountain Lakes (Kathie Hegarty, host organist). The evening began with a catered dinner that provided the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and introduce new members to the chapter. Thanks to performers Kathie Hegarty, Barbara Bailey, Jim Little, Andi Campbell, Anne Matlack, Patricia Ruggles, Randy Svane, and Jeeminn Lee, who gave us a beautiful after-dinner concert with contrasting vocal styles in the sanctuary.

—Bev McGregor

Northern New Jersey. Oct. 14–15, the chapter and West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, N.J., cosponsored a weekend with Thomas Ospital, titulaire of the Grand Organ at the Church of Saint-Eustache in Paris, and newly appointed organist in residence at Maison de la Radio (headquarters of Radio France). On Saturday, he gave a magnificent masterclass in which Stewart Holmes, Kristen Dabaghian, Stacie Yao, Janice Van Dyke, John Connor, and Claire Bachner played music by Bach, Guilmant, Gigout, Duruflé, and Widor. Ospital offered concrete suggestions that participants and audience alike could appreciate and employ, no matter their level of proficiency. Saturday’s masterclass was eclipsed by a stunning recital the next day to a substantial crowd at West Side Presbyterian Church. The high point of the recital was Ospital’s 20-minute improvisation of a four-movement symphony based on six themes submitted by West Side’s minister of music, Debbie Holden-Holloway. The weekend ended with West Side organist Erik Eickhoff and Chris Wilhjelm taking Ospital on a tour of Manhattan tourist sites. It was another highlight of his short weekend in New Jersey.

—Stewart Holmes

Southwest Jersey. Oct. 15, the chapter held its annual Service and Installation of Officers at Chews United Methodist Church, Glendora, Gary Langel, host. The service began with the installation of new officers by member and Regional Councillor Glenn Rodgers. New officers installed were Vernon Williams, dean, David Rhody (SPC), sub-dean, Cathleen O’Neill, secretary, and Gail Gassaway, treasurer-registrar. Class of 2020 executive committee members also installed were Christopher Daly, Ruth Fink (AAGO), Richard Kurtz, and Joanne Owen. The service continued with a prelude by organist-pianist Gary Langel, and included solos, a flute and piano duo, readings, hymns, and a sermon by Chaplain Laurie Johnson. Following the service, members enjoyed dinner at a nearby restaurant.

—Joyce Ann Routon

Chambersburg, Pa. Oct. 27, the chapter combined with the Cumberland Valley chapter and presented “Pipes Spooktacular,” an organ recital with programmatically appropriate music at Mercersburg Academy Chapel in Mercersburg. The audience was invited to come in costume if so desired. Some of the performers also wore costumes. At the end of the program trick-or-treat candy was distributed. This program was for all ages. The audience was invited to come have a closer look at the pipe organ, especially to give the younger ones a chance to see where all the sounds originated. This has been a successful annual event anticipated by many year after year.

—Helen Wingert

Harrisburg, Pa. Sept. 15, the chapter presented an “Organ Plus” program at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, Dan Dorty, host organist. Performing members included Tyler Canonico, Dan Dorty, Shawn Gingrich, Dan Glessner, Don Golden, Timothy Koch, Jordan Markham, Shelly Moorman-Stahlman, and Mary Jane Nelson. The “plus” instruments included piano, handbells, violin, trumpet, flute, cello, clarinet, soprano recorder, and an organ duet. • Oct. 8, the chapter hosted organists from the Lancaster County chapter in the first segment of “Hands and Feet Across the Counties.” The second segment will follow later this year as Harrisburg chapter organists present a recital in Lancaster. This recital was held at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. Lancaster organists participating were Ross Ellison, Robert Horton, Margaret Marsch, Karl Moyer, Paul Reese, and Douglas Wimer. The chapter thanks Hospitality Chair Phyllis Conrad and her committee for their work in arranging post-concert refreshments for our chapter events.

—Mary Jane Nelson

Lancaster, Pa. Oct. 13, the chapter met at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran in Lancaster. The meeting began with the installation of four new board members by Chaplain Robert Kettering. Guest artist Balint Karosi, organist at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, formed the rest of the evening’s program. In addition to being an organist, composer, conductor, and harpsichordist, Karosi is also an expert on improvisation. His presentation gave members the tools to take a theme and develop it harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically—a useful skill for extending a prelude, improvising a postlude on a final hymn, communion improvisation, or as needed.

—Nancy L. Maurer

Pittsburgh, Pa. Oct. 23, the chapter met at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside for its regular dinner and program. Giancarlo Parodi, organist of the Basilica di S. Maria Assunta in Gallarate (near Milan), was the speaker. He presented photos of many historic organs in Italy, complete with audio examples and stories about each instrument. Fr. Stephen Concordia, OSB, director of the St. Vincent Camerata, served as his translator. Before the meeting, Parodi taught a masterclass at Calvary Church for students from Duquesne University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Seton Hill University, and St. Vincent College.

—Kathy Csellar

Southeastern Pennsylvania. Oct. 8, Sub-dean Art Kalemkarian presented a program titled “Hymns and Service Repertoire” at Media Presbyterian Church. He discussed and demonstrated hymn-playing techniques on the organ, and showed ways to utilize the instrument to its fullest capacity using useful repertoire for church services.

—Nancy Brown

Williamsport, Pa. Oct. 20, members shared organ music of the Reformation at Trinity Episcopal Church, Williamsport. Arrangements of Ein feste Burg, Erhalt uns, Herr, Nun freut euch, and In Dir ist Freude by composers ranging from J.S. Bach to David Cherwien were featured. Members participating included Ellen Bardo, Donna Elkin, Leatha Kieser, Nancy Marchal, and Carol Waltz.

—Carol Waltz

Charlottesville-Albemarle, Va. Oct. 17, the chapter sponsored a program titled “Reformation 500: Celebrating the Church Year with the Hymns of Martin Luther” led by husband and wife team of Paul Weber (speaker and choir director) and member Florence Jowers (organist) at Christ Episcopal Church, Charlottesville. The program spanned the liturgical year with hymns all linked to Martin Luther. Weber directed the choir made up of volunteer chapter members and joined by choir members from the church. The anthem was “Grant Peace, We Pray” by Mendelssohn. The choir also led the hymns of Martin Luther that were presented to show how they might have been sung 500 years ago (unaccompanied, alternating men and women, organ improvisations on verses, etc.). Weber explained every musical setting, and Jowers played interludes between hymns and sometimes between verses, as well as a spectacular postlude, a toccata on “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” by Lionel Rogg.

—Alice Layman

Winchester, Va. The chapter celebrated its first Shape Note Festival, “Singing in the Valley,” during the weekend of Oct. 6–8. The festival opened Friday evening at Goodson Chapel-Recital Hall, Shenandoah University, with a capacity audience seated in shape note formation. The guest lecturer, Joshua Rush Barnett, MA in musicology (Univ. of Maryland), MM (Shenandoah Univ.), presented a brief history of shape note singing and introduced tunes published in the Virginia Harmony (Winchester, 1831), one of which was “Amazing Grace.” Barnett then taught and demonstrated to the group how to sing shape notes. The evening closed with participants singing “Amazing Grace.” Session two of the festival was held at Christ Episcopal Church. Barnett highlighted the importance of melodies from shape note tradition as part of America’s musical culture and how they are used today. He spoke of singing schools throughout the Shenandoah Valley, particularly at Singers Glen near Harrisonburg. Attendees participated in singing the shape note tunes Sherburne, Restoration, and Bridgewater. Several guest groups demonstrated their skills singing Appalachian tunes. Of particular interest was Chris Meyer playing his musical saw. On Sunday afternoon at First Baptist Church, the festival continued with the focus being on “Shape Notes—Then and Now.” Each of the mostly folk hymn melodies, which in all probability might have been lost had they not found their way into the tune books, were heard in an older version, either the original ballad version or a shape note setting, plus a setting by a contemporary composer, hence the title for the program. The original ballad “Ballad of Captain Kidd” (tune now known as Wondrous Love) was sung by Philip Sargent. Then a trio performed a more recent work, The Passion According to St. Matthew, by contemporary composer William Averitt who used the same tune. This was followed by Thomas Mitts playing Samuel Barber’s Variations on “Wondrous Love.” The Festival Choir sang the original tune Star in the East from Southern Harmony (1835), which was followed by the brass quintet playing Douglas Wilson’s setting of the tune. The grand finale was James Laster’s composition, The Virginia Harmonies, for choir, brass quintet, and organ with Laster conducting. The work is based on the tunes Greenfield, Little Marlboro, The Ninety-Fifth, Pisgah, Exultation, and Harmony Grove (New Britain). Virginia Harmony is a tune book published in Winchester in 1831.

—Gloria Harris

Southeast Region

Gainesville, Fla. Oct. 17, the chapter hosted a potluck for area young organists who are not currently AGO members. Introductions, great food, and thoughtful conversation were enjoyed at a member’s home in Alachua. Members in attendance included Mark Coffey, Larry Hartley, Hye Jin Park, Ruth Lewis, Willis Bodine, Gene Dunnam, Lorraine Amick, Stella Wiering, and Laura Ellis.

—Laura Ellis

Palm Beach County, Fla. Oct. 14, the chapter held its second event of the season, “Favorite Practical Repertoire Workshop,” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palm Beach Gardens. Members gathered in the narthex for coffee, pumpkin bread, and muffins, then moved into the beautiful sanctuary. Organists Stewart Foster, Barbara Thompson, Jerry Myers, Jan Fulford, Jane Illsley, Joanne Nelson, Daniel Bayless, and Hal Pysher played their favorite pieces for the group and much repertoire was shared. Joanne Nelson surprised Jan Fulford, dean, with a lovely birthday gift from the chapter. Daniel Bayless, organist at St. Mark’s, hosted the event and took attendees on a tour of the church and school following the workshop. Lunch at Newk’s Eatery ended a wonderful morning!

—Jan Fulford

Sarasota-Manatee, Fla. Oct. 13, the chapter met for lunch to celebrate anniversary of the 50th and 60th founding dates of what eventually became the current merged chapter. Host Steven Phillips, music director at First Presbyterian Church, Sarasota, described the new organ at the church. Mary Mozelle then played a short recital of works by Sowerby, Mozart, and Gawthrop. During lunch, members browsed a table of memorabilia from the history of the chapter. Following lunch, Dwane Grace, dean, gave a brief history in which he noted that dues to the organization at the time of founding were $4, and, if that were a hardship, could be paid $.35 each month. He also read a certificate of congratulations from National AGO. Following his talk, several longtime members shared anecdotes of their chapter experiences.

—Paul Adams

Space Coast, Fla. Oct. 7, members held their opening general membership meeting at a member’s home. The event started with light refreshments, the group sang the round “Dona Nobis Pacem,” and Lori John, past dean, installed the 2017–18 officers. The board presented Lori with a past-dean pin in appreciation for her service as dean during the last several years. After the business meeting, the hostess welcomed members to examine and play her 21st-century practice instrument, a Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ.

—Barbara Burgess

Atlanta, Ga. Oct. 10, the chapter held its second chapter meeting, dinner, and recital of the 2017–18 season at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Atlanta, hosted by Ray and Beth Chenault. Guest recitalist Dexter Kennedy presented a beautiful recital of works by Bach, Mozart, Duruflé, and others on Buzard’s Opus 29.

—Keith Williamson

Augusta, Ga. Oct. 9, the chapter held its annual Clergy-Musician Program at Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta with Lisa Wilson, organist of Trinity, as the host. Keith Shafer, dean, welcomed everyone to the program and the Rev. Danny Key, director of music at Trinity, offered a prayer before the meal. After a wonderful dinner and fellowship, Don Dupee, sub-dean, introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Catherine Stapleton Nance, director of music ministries at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Aiken, and a doctoral candidate in worship studies. The topic, which was of interest to both clergy and musicians, was “Worship as Christian Formation.”

—David Salter

Savannah, Ga. Oct. 28, the chapter sponsored an organ masterclass with Olivier Latry at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in downtown Savannah. The event was hosted by Director of Music Mac Fogle. There were three masterclass participants. Monica Harper Dekle played Évocations, III (Allegro deciso) by Dupré. Timothy Hall played the fourth movement (Quasi largo) from Symphony No. III by Vierne. Adam Cobb played Dieu parmi nous from La Nativité du Seigneur by Messiaen. The performers played on the cathedral’s recently renovated Noack. • Oct. 29, Mr. Latry played a solo recital to rededicate the organ at the cathedral. The program included music by Bach, Mendelssohn, Fauré, Dupré, Alain, Langlais, and Duruflé. Latry concluded the program with an improvisation on two themes chosen by Fogle—a theme from the Addams Family and “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter. His encore was the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565, by Bach.

—Bill McNair

Oxford-University of Mississippi. Sept. 7, the chapter presented “Lessons from Leipzig,” with guest artist Robert Knupp. The program began with a lecture on organs of J.S. Bach’s era, German Romantic organs, and research into the music and performance of Bach’s music from Leipzig, and concluded with a recital featuring the music of Kuhnau, Bruhns, and Bach. Chapter officers dined with Knupp at McEwen’s on the square before the event, and had social time at City Grocery afterward.

—Joseph Garrison

Charlotte, N.C. Oct. 22, the chapter presented the Atlanta Master Chorale under the direction of Eric Nelson in concert at Christ Lutheran Church, Charlotte. The Chorale’s program included a variety of selections of varying styles and genres. The enthusiastic audience displayed much adoration for the superb performance.

—Lee Northcut

Charleston, S.C. In September, Hurricane Irma barged in, forcing the chapter to cancel its opening dinner. The October meeting, however, proceeded as scheduled on Oct. 9, with fairly clear skies. Members gathered at Christ Our King Catholic Church in Mount Pleasant for an informative and well-received program by Scott and Suzanne Atwood, director of music ministries and director of children’s choirs, respectively. “Building and Growing Children’s Choirs: Strategies for Success” drew on their extensive experience developing one of the best children’s choir programs in the area.

—Edmund LeRoy

Greater Columbia, S.C. Oct. 7, the chapter hosted an organ crawl to Charlotte, N.C., where members visited three churches. The first stop was St. John’s Baptist Church where chapter member Monty Bennett introduced the group to Létourneau Opus 113 (III/43) installed in a favorable acoustic. The group also enjoyed seeing the organ in the chapel that dates from 1840. At Providence United Methodist Church, organist Andrew Pester introduced the group to Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1472 that was built for the Kennedy Center concert hall in Washington, D.C. The removal, transport, and rebuilding was accomplished magnificently by Parkey Organbuilders of Norcross, Ga. The large sanctuary provides a wonderful ambiance for this large, exciting organ. The III/62 organ is still playable from the original console. The last stop was St. Peter’s Episcopal Church where music director and organist Elizabeth Lenti welcomed the group. Member David Lowry demonstrated Fisk Opus 136 (III/41) that was installed in 2010 in the renovated sanctuary.

—Frances Webb

Spartanburg, S.C. Sept. 25, the chapter held its first meeting of the 2017–18 season at Two Samuels Restaurant in Spartanburg. Dean Bill Cooper called the meeting to order and welcomed new members. He then announced upcoming programs for the year. Secretary Larry Blackmon read the minutes of the May meeting, and Treasurer Erica Pauly gave the financial report and update on memberships. After the business meeting, members enjoyed a delicious dinner and had a good time visiting.

—Bill Cooper

Low Country, S.C. The chapter’s first meeting of the 2017–18 year was a potluck dinner hosted by Glenn and Kathy Ragsdale at their home on Spring Island in Okatie, S.C. Dean Chad Martin summarized the programs for the coming year, and encouraged members to bring a friend to the programs. Members practiced for the upcoming Festival of Hymns and Anthems under the direction of Debby Graves and Beth Cory. The chapter continued its “Every Second Friday Noontime Recital Series” with organ and piano duets at Port Royal United Methodist Church. Organist Raymond Ackerman, past dean, and Diane Mullis-Waddell, pianist, provided a varied program. • Oct. 13, Joseph Roenbeck and Jason A. Wright, director of music at All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, hosted an Organ Demonstrator (series by Wayne Leupold Editions) for elementary school children on Hilton Head Island. For this event, Roenbeck had a silent cartoon created and provided improvisation. Later that evening, he also improvised for the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. • Oct. 15, the chapter presented a Festival of Hymns and Anthems for the Church Year at St. Andrew-By-The-Sea United Methodist Church, Hilton Head. Several church choirs from Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Beaufort participated under the direction of Debby Graves, Tim Reynolds, Rusty Floyd, Chad Martin, and Ella Davis. The Serenade Savannah Brass and flutist Karen Wylde accompanied, and Laura Floyd and Chad Martin sang the inspiring duet “The Holy City.”

—Greg L. Hollinger

Knoxville, Tenn. Sept. 19, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, the chapter’s 2017–18 season began with a recital by Todd Wilson, head of the organ department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and director of music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland. He is generally regarded as one of the finest organists performing today. His recital opened with Marcel Dupré’s Cortège et Litanie and continued with three of Bach’s Schübler Chorales and the Passacaglia in C Minor. After intermission came Edwin Lemare’s Carmen Fantasy and Soliloquy by David Conte—the only living composer represented. The recital ended with the Allegro vivace from Widor’s Symphony No. 5.

—Allison Ensor

Nashville, Tenn. Oct. 9, the chapter program featured composer Philip Stopford in a choral reading session of his works, featuring the Sanctuary Choir of Belmont United Methodist Church. Gayle Sullivan, the church’s director of music ministries, and Robbie Jones, organist, were hosts for the program and preceding dinner.

—Rhonda Swanson

Great Lakes Region

Evansville, Ind. Sept. 30, the chapter launched “New Notes for Choir,” an anthem reading session for local church choirs. The event was held at Methodist Temple and featured conducting and accompaniment by Robert Nicholls, Barbara Waite, Neil Jones, and Joan Nevill. More than 30 singers attended from several area congregations to sing a total of nine anthems recently commissioned by local churches. Additionally, attendees heard a performance by local young organist Nolan Snyder as well as an update on his experience at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Pre-College Organ Academy.

—Rachel Luttrull

Southern Indiana. Oct. 9, Greg Zelek played an organ recital as part of the Soaring Eagle “Emerging” Artist Concert Series, created to showcase a promising young concert organist and also to honor the memory of departed members of the arts and educational communities in Southern Indiana. This program was cosponsored by the chapter and St. John Presbyterian Church. The recital was presented in memory of Ovid “Bud” Chambers, who made significant contributions to the community as an instrumental music teacher and band director at New Albany High School and also director of music at Central Christian Church. Larry Kinser, a former student of Chambers, gave the memorial presentation. Zelek is currently the principal organist of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and curator of the Overture Concert Organ and Series. He is also concertizing throughout the United States. David K. Lamb, AGO Councillor for Membership, was the coordinator of the program. A catered dinner preceded the recital, which was held at St. John Presbyterian Church in New Albany, Ind. Special guests for the evening were the members of the national Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources, including Lamb, Marilyn Schempp, Jim Kosnik, Eric Birk, Paul Carmona, Peter Bates, and Zelek.

—Judith E. Miller

Cincinnati, Ohio. Sept. 30, the chapter held its fall opener at Faith Lutheran Church, hosted by its organist, Dean Donna Wernz. The gathering of more than 30 organists included members of the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NAPM). (The Cincinnati chapters of AGO and NAPM have begun to share some meetings and events in the past few years.) The program was a presentation on hymn improvisation by two chapter members, Gregory Schaffer, principal organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption (Covington, Ky.), and Sub-dean Mark Behnken, organist at College Hill Presbyterian Church (Cincinnati). Demonstrating his points at the console and with handouts, Schaffer suggested at the outset that he was most interested in providing examples of hymn embellishment and harmonic enhancement rather than improvisation in the compositional sense. Using the well-known Puer nobis tune as a solo line, he began accompanying it with descending and ascending scalar lines, then adding pedal lines and counterpoint that emerged from the combined elements. Eventually, chords began to support the forward movement over long pedal notes. Variations were suggested for individual stanzas. Among other concepts, he discussed the substitution of the minor mode that could be resolved to the major, as well as various factors that govern the choice of tempo. He warned the listeners to beware of problems inherent in published versions of hymns that have little regard for either congregational singing (due to the choice of key) or weak support offered by poorly conceived organ accompaniment. He suggested some ways of training the ear to introduce harmonic variation such as using the circle of fifths, listening to good jazz music, practicing the harmonizing of common scales to discover alternative harmonic structures. He also warned organists that it is better to be guilty of the “sin of omission” to gain clarity and simplicity as opposed to the “sin of commission” that can lead to wrong notes and muddy textures. Behnken then spoke to the chapter about the need to know what and for whom the organist is playing. Different settings of common texts can be interesting or distracting. Once an appropriate setting is selected, registration should be designed to help interpret the text, stanza by stanza. He then demonstrated the need to pay attention to the principal beat when a hymn tune begins on a weak beat, as in the case of “Amazing Grace” (New Britain). He also showed that the organist can change rhythms very effectively on an unsung stanza or on a coda. Interludes can also use a minor mode for contrast as long as the congregation gets clues from the organist about the completion of the bridge and the return to the melodic line. Passages can also be repeated in echo style for or a prelude or a postlude. After a congregational sing-along to “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Nicaea), the meeting adjourned for conversation and refreshments.

—Robert Benson

Columbus, Ohio. Sept. 10, to celebrate the kick-off of Ohio State University’s first home game of the season, the chapter presented Todd Wilson (Cleveland Institute of Music) at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Upper Arlington. He shared valuable insights on how to tackle and register major choral music scores from piano accompaniment to the organ with question and answers from those in attendance.

—Brian Johnson

North Central Region

Central Iowa. The life and legacy of the late Robert M. Speed, a Des Moines organist, conductor, composer, and educator, were celebrated Oct. 8 in a concert presented by the chapter. An audience of 300 heard organists perform on the III/43 Reuter at West Des Moines United Methodist Church. Performers were Ruth Harris, Sawyer Shiffler, Linda Bryant, Deanna Snyder with flutist Joni Kinnan, Carl Gravander, the Grand View University Choir under the direction of Kathryn Duffy, Mark Babcock, David Raymond, and William Ness. Shiffler was Speed’s last organ student. Ness, now a Boston area church musician and concert artist, is acknowledged as one of Speed’s most accomplished students. Five Speed compositions were on the program. Speed was a native of Knoxville, Iowa, who played piano at an early age and by age 15 was a church organist. For 44 years, he taught music and English literature at Grand View University in Des Moines, and for 48 years was organist and music director at Des Moines’ Central Presbyterian Church. He was an active composer with at least 30 compositions published. He died June 18, 2017, at age 87.

—Bev Duffy

Wichita, Kans. Sept. 17, the first meeting of the chapter was held at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church. “Coda—A Sacred Music Reading Session” was presented by DeAnn Diller from Senseney Music Inc. and four chapter members. Designed as a follow-up to the reading session at the chapter’s January Jubilee 2017, Donna Hetrick, Galen Shriner, Chris Shaw, and Kathy Fehrmann played organ and piano excerpts of repertoire from collections available for purchase from Senseney Music. Following the presentation all enjoyed a reception of cookies, fruit, and iced tea.

—Christopher Shaw

Central Missouri. Sept. 17, the chapter presented a members’ recital of French music played on the Cavaillé-Coll suite of the church’s Allen digital organ. Guest artists were Mike Thornton, flutist, Susan Quigley-Duggan and Laura Wiebe, sopranos, and faculty members of Swinney Conservatory of Music at Central Methodist University in Fayette, and Jerome Cole, who is completing his master’s degree in organ performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music studying with Christopher Young. Members performing included Pam Huttsell, Laura Wiebe, Jerome Cole, Susan Quigley-Duggan, Thomas Halpin, Amy Crousore, Schuyler Wheeler, Rochelle Parker, Craig Datz, Carol Virkler, William Daly, and Mike Thornton. Following the recital, 20 members adjourned to Les Bourgeois Bistro for dinner in Rocheport located on the beautiful river bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. Dean Mary Kabiri conducted a short business meeting and distributed an outline of the 2017–18 program agenda.

—Tom Perkins

Greater Kansas City, Mo. Sept. 24, Village Presbyterian Church of Prairie Village, Kans. (Elisa Bickers, FAGO, principal organist and associate director of music) and the chapter cosponsored a recital by distinguished organist Douglas Cleveland (John Delo faculty fellow in organ at the University of Washington School of Music, and director of music and liturgical arts at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina, Wash.). Also present at the concert was composer Pamela Decker, named Distinguished Composer for the upcoming 2018 AGO National Convention, where Cleveland will premiere her new composition at Village Presbyterian Church. The September program was presented as part of the opening series of concerts for the new Opus 22 instrument by Richards, Fowkes & Co.

—Norm Kinnaugh

St. Louis, Mo. A joint meeting of the St. Louis AGO Chapter and the St. Louis Chapter and Duchesne Branch of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians took place at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis, on Oct. 23. Members from both organizations shared a meal, then moved to the historic church for a program on “Gregorian Chant and Organ Music and Motets Based on Chant.” Host Nick Botkins, director of sacred music and master of choirs, noted that this occasion might be the first time that the chapter has gathered in this historic, Gothic Revival church. The cathedral-like space was the ideal setting for the ethereal music that was presented. Twelve singers, directed by Botkins, began the program with 16th-century chant by de Zacharia that was proper to the beginning of the office for that hour. Compelling chant from the front was often sung in alternatim with the organ in the balcony, as when Marian antiphons set by Dupré were complimented by sung versets from “Ave Maris Stella.” Gregorian and Solesmes chant, and motets by Sheppard and Stolzer were interspersed with chant-based organ works by Howells, Oldroyd, and Alain. Organist Nicholas Bideler’s spectacular organ playing concluded with Duruflé’s Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le thème du Veni Creator. This was made all the more amazing when Botkins disclosed that 40 percent of the three-manual Wicks (1924) is not working and in need of updating and repairs. The masterful singing and playing brought shimmering whispers and growling magnificence to this joint AGO/NPM gathering.

—Dawn Riske

Lincoln, Nebr. Oct. 23, member and associate dean at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music Christopher Marks presented “American Organ Sonatas 1863–1935” at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Organ sonatas are not well known because they were not written for church performance. A few can be found on YouTube. According to Marks, organ sonatas represented “compositional ambition and seriousness—the best the composer had to offer.” These pieces were written for solo organ, contain three or four movements, and use cyclic elements. Eugene Thayer and Dudley Buck were among the first American composers of organ sonatas, and Thayer even used variations on “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the third movement of his Sonata No. 2 in C, written ca. 1863. Felix Borowski was an early 20th-century composer who wrote three large-scale, Romantic organ sonatas. Edwin Lemare was the most highly regarded and highly paid organist of his generation, as well as the greatest performer and one of the most important composers of the late Romantic English-American Organ School. Other early 20th-century sonata composers were Pietro A. Yon and E.S. Barnes. Programmatic organ sonatas were written by Clarence Dickinson, Storm King, in 1920, A Pageant in 1921 by H.B. Jepson, and The Chambered Nautilus in 1922 by Humphrey Stewart. Sonatas of the 1930s solidified the American style, using syncopation that sounded almost like ragtime, jazz influence, and purely American harmonies reminiscent of Copland. Marks identified Leo Sowerby’s 1932 Symphony in G Major as the ultimate American organ sonata. After the well-received program, members enjoyed a social time.

—Sinda Dux

Madison, Wis. Oct. 7, chapter members visited the main chapel of the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Franklin (a suburb of Milwaukee). Charles Ludwick, director of liturgical music at the school, talked about the chapel (which is in the round, with the altar in the center, and utilizes a triangle motif in its decor) and its organ. The two-manual Berghaus mechanical-action organ was built in 1994 and has 35 ranks. The organ case, made of solid red oak, is 30 feet tall. The five slender towers built into the case were inspired by the high, narrow stained glass windows in the chapel. Those who wished to try out the organ had the opportunity to do so, after which Ludwick gave the group a tour of the building in which the chapel is housed. Following the visit to Sacred Heart School, the group went to Organ Piper Pizza in nearby Greenfield, where they enjoyed pizza, conversation, and live music played on the restaurant’s Wurlitzer theater organ.

—Naomi Matthee

Southwest Region 

Las Cruces, N.M. Oct. 1, the chapter and Peace Lutheran Church of Las Cruces cosponsored a chamber recital. “The Little Organ that Could!” celebrated the relocation of Wicks Opus 5675 from New Mexico State University to the church’s fellowship hall. Participants included Teresa Ross Savage (violin), Christine Sanders (vocalist), Karen Billings, CAGO, Pamela Shaffer Reinhard (violin), Laroy Borchert (clarinet), Howard Smolleck (dean), Stephen Helmreich, CAGO (host), Lisa Van Winkle (flute), David Kendrick (trumpet), Vicar Day Hefner (vocalist), and Monte Coleman (sub-dean). The program included selections by Bach, Buxtehude, Liddle, Mozart, Poulenc, and Telemann, that showcased the organ’s adaptability for solo performance, vocal and instrumental accompaniment, and congregational singing. The program concluded with a rousing jam session on Martin Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

—Karen S. Billings

Dallas, Tex. Oct. 10, the first recital of the Robert T. Anderson Recital Series for 2017–18 was played by the amazing Thomas Ospital, titulaire of the grand organ of Saint-Eustache in Paris and newly appointed organist-in-residence at Maison de la Radio (Radio France Concert Hall). The recital was on the Schudi Opus 6 (1978) at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Dallas. Ospital offered a program of French organ works and transcriptions, concluding with an improvisation on “Promenade” from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition that sparkled, bringing the audience to its feet at the end. It was a great beginning for the series. It is interesting to note that one of his teachers at the Paris Conservatory, Michel Bouvard, played a recital on the Opus 100 Recital Series on Oct. 15 in the Meyerson Symphony Hall on Fisk Opus 100.

—Michael Shake

West Region

Orange County, Calif. Oct. 9, the chapter together with Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, presented an afternoon and evening featuring Johann Vexo, choir organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris. During the afternoon program, Vexo gave an informative talk on the organist music scene in France for church organists and recitalists. After a delightful dinner, Vexo played a stellar recital in the Cathedral Arboretum. His registrations utilized the rich sounds of the organ and blended them into perfect balance and clarity. Included on the program were works of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck, Widor, and Litaize. He concluded the recital with Prelude et fugue sur le nom d’Alain by Duruflé, capturing the profound nature of this work.

—Jennifer Puhl

Ventura County, Calif. Oct. 1, the chapter held its first annual meeting at the Westlake Methodist Church. Members shared “accessible” organ favorites for the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. The members who shared were Ann Luthringer, Linda Fern Fay, Joseph Peeples, Barbara Artinian, Mark Holmstrom, Raymond Egan, Roberta Palmer, and Leslie Frank. Those in attendance enjoyed the organ music on the Rodgers hybrid organ and left the meeting with new musical ideas as well as ordering information for the selections of their choice. Following the presentation an Installation of Officers was held. The Rev. Lewis Fry, chaplain, and Peter Bates, district convener, installed the officers for 2017–18: Gary Henricksen, dean, Leslie Frank, sub-dean, Joseph Peeples, secretary, Jim Pearson, treasurer, and Lance Crane, Ann Luthringer, and Ryan Macias, members-at-large. After the meeting several of the members and friends enjoyed dinner together at Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant in Westlake Village.

—Ivan Shobe

Hong Kong. With the generous support of the Centennial Millennium Fund from the New York City chapter and Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Man, S.C., the chapter organized the first Summer Organ Academy from August 22 to 29. Sixteen young people, ages 13–18 and new to the organ, received intensive and vigorous tuition over the weeklong program on pipe organs in Hong Kong. The program also included visits to other instruments in Hong Kong. The Academy closed with a concluding recital of short performances by each youngster on the four-manual Rieger at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. • Sept. 2, Anne Lam, former dean of the chapter, joined with local cellist Eric Yip to give a recital of music for cello and organ on Fisk Opus 149. The recital included music by Bach, Chopin, Schumann, and Wammes. The unusual combination of the two instruments was received with great acclaim.

—Felix Yeung

Seattle, Wash. Oct. 23, the chapter gathered at University Lutheran Church for a tour of the III/27 organ recently built by member René Marceau and Associates (see February 2017 TAO). Marceau described how and why components of the previous instrument were kept, modified, or replaced, while host organist Logan Hamilton demonstrated the audible results. Marceau thanked past dean Carl Dodrill and his Pipe Organ Foundation for studying the mechanical structure of the previous instrument and suggesting practical ways to accomplish the new work. After this, members got to experience organbuilding first hand, assembling the Orgelkids USA organ kit, in town for the upcoming Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event, under the supervision of members Beverly Roecker and Sam Peters. A sumptuous dessert table, an open console, and a used music exchange featuring Advent and Christmas music completed the evening.

—David Nichols

Spokane, Wash. Oct. 1, chapter members and fellow musicians presented a celebration of musical arts for organ, piano, strings, and choir at Messiah Lutheran Church. Works performed included Haydn’s Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo, Mozart’s Church Sonatas No. 5 and No. 10; Karg-Elert’s Choral-Improvisations, Fauré’s En Prière, Haydn’s Divertimento “Il maestro e lo scolare” (piano, four-hands), Zipoli’s Versets and Canzona in C, and Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 31. This varied program of choral, organ, and instrumental music was presented to a near capacity crowd. Comments from so many attendees were glowing and many expressed the hope that similar programs will be offered soon and frequently! Chapter members performing included Janet Ahrend (piano), Nisha Coulter (piano and choir), Jim Holmes (continuo and piano), M. David Matney (organ), Germaine Morgan (cello), Chris Nelson (organ), and Jim Tevenan (organ). A fine volunteer choir of 16 voices was featured in the Haydn choral work under the superb direction of Stan McDaniel. Messiah’s II/23 Werner Bosch tracker organ was an exceptional instrument proving its versatility in both ensemble and solo works. The Haydn Divertimento, written at a time when works for piano four-hands were rare, displayed the composer’s keen sense of wit throughout with Janet Ahrend and Jim Holmes embellishing their parts to the delight of the listeners in an attempt to out-do each other as in “anything you can do, I can do better!” It is also worth mentioning that member M. David Matney designed and produced a beautiful, informative printed program for this concert, which showcased the dedication and talent of the chapter in every regard.

—James M. Wallrabenstein

Singapore. Oct. 7, the chapter and Queenstown Lutheran Church jointly presented “Word Through Music” in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Guest flutist Cheryl Lim, together with members of the chapter on organ and cello, presented one of the flute sonatas by J.S. Bach. Various organ and vocal works based on Lutheran hymn tunes were also presented. The audience participated in singing the hymns. The Rev. Lee graced the evening with a reading of a paraphrase of Psalm 46 by Martin Luther.

—Yap Wai Hoong


  1. Burlington, Iowa is in which AGO chapter?

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