May 2016 Chapter News

Northeast Region

Merrimack Valley, MA

February 27, the chapter held its 18th annual mini-convention at First Calvary Baptist Church in North Andover. The event was well attended, and the day was full of musical information and socializing. The day began with sing­ing as attendees were led in a variety of anthems by sub-dean Abbey Siegfried and past deans Joyce Painter-Rice, Maggie Marshall, and Cyndi Bliss—who also offered suggestions for working with children and younger choirs. The second morning workshop was presented by Jay Lane, past dean of the McClosky Institute of Voice, who demonstrated how to deal with the aging voice in adult choirs. In the afternoon, Siegfried introduced the audience to the lives and music of woman organ composers from Elizabeth de la Guerre in the 1600s to Gwyneth Walker of the present day. The final presentation was given by well-known author Barbara Owen, who carefully analyzed the composition and symbolism of Brahms’s chorale preludes. Throughout the day, choral and organ music from the publishers ECS and MorningStar was on sale. An additional flea-market table was set up for the sale of used music; proceeds went to the chapter’s scholarship fund. A delicious catered lunch was provided.

—Jodi Templer

Worcester, MA

February 5, the chapter presented Alcee Chriss III in recital as part of the chapter’s Young Artist Showcase series, cosponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church. “Rising Star” seems insufficient to describe the musical virtuosity he displayed at this performance. His technique, masterful interpretations, and creative registrations were surpassed only by his warmth and rapport with the audience. It was a breathtaking recital enjoyed by all. Chriss is pursuing his doctorate at McGill, having completed his degree at Oberlin.

—Will Sherwood

Bangor, ME

February 20, the chapter hosted a workshop at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Camden. Sessions in choral rep­ertoire and organ literature for various seasons of the church year were led by Carlton Russell and Jane Schroeder.

—Douglas Beck

Binghamton, NY

February 20, the chapter held the second of two sessions on the life and works of C.-M. Widor, featuring the DVD/CD set issued recently by Fugue State Films titled Widor: Master of the Organ Symphony. The first DVD contains three one-hour chronological biographical documentaries; at this session, the third documentary was shown. After an intermission, video performances of selected Widor works from the second DVD were shown; all per­formances were played on
Ca­vaillé-Coll instruments.

• February 21, Timothy E. Smith played an organ recital of German music at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church as part of the Lenten series “Sundays at Seven.” The performance on the three-manual Phelps-Casavant organ featured works of Buxtehude, Scheidt, Jacob Praetorius, Schumann, Hindemith, and Bach. The congregation joined in by singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” with organ chorale preludes on the same theme by Nikolaus Hanff, Helmut Walcha, and Max Reger interspersed among the four stanzas.

—John Holt

Buffalo, NY

February 20, at the chapter’s student competition, four young organists played the 1876 E. & G.G. Hook & Hastings organ for an appreciative audience at St. Joseph Cathedral. The event was chaired and coordinated by Tim Socha. Each competitor played an extended work by J.S. Bach and a contrasting piece of his or her own choosing for a panel of four judges: David Bond, Carole Harris, Curt Holmes, and Molly Saviola. Alexander Straus-Fausto was awarded the top prize of $100, Peter Gonciarz received a $75 prize, and Christian O’Lone and Maria Chomicka each received a prize of $50. After the competition, the student players were invited to join the judges and chapter members at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery for refreshments and conversation.

—Caryn Lawler

Suffolk, NY

January 18, the Suffolk, Nassau, and Queens chapters cosponsored the biennial Long Island AGO Mini-Convention at St. John’s Episcopal Church of Lattingtown. Workshop offerings included “Approaches to Improvisation,” “Conducting from the Console,” “The Intergenerational Choir,” “Keys to the AGO Exams,” and a masterclass with Eric Milnes (organist and director of music at St. John’s) on the works of Cou­perin and de Grigny. Other presenters included Suffolk Dean Matthew Koraus (FAGO, ChM), Mark Engelhardt, Paul Elsener, Cynthia Holden (AAGO), and Deanna Muro (CAGO). During lunch, Chris Cusumano moderated the screening of a newly released documentary on Widor. The day ended with a recital by Milnes on the 2014 Glück, Opus 18.

• January 29 and 30, the chapter presented its 25th Anniversary Children’s Choir Festival, co­sponsored with St. Pat­rick’s R.C. Church, Huntington. Guest conductor Madeline Bridges presented a workshop for children’s choir directors on Friday evening and then conducted the rehearsal and Festival Service the next day. Ninety-one children, from twelve children’s choirs across Long Island, came to hone their skills as choristers and wrapped up the day with the presentation of the Festival Service. Matthew Koraus and Deanna Muro accompanied on organ, enhanced with a string trio and harp. In addition to thanking Bridges, Koraus acknowledged members Helen Kegerreis and Deanna Muro for their leadership and hard work in developing and coordinating the Children’s Choir Festival for the past 25 years. They were presented with commemorative plaques from the chapter.

—Paul Elsener

Westchester County, NY

February 23, Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, Scarsdale, was the scene of an anthem reading session. Featured was music of British composer Philip Stopford, who conducted his own anthems. Host John King conducted additional anthems, which were all beautifully accompanied by Ruaraidh Sutherland. Delicious refreshments were served.

—Joyce Gardner

Rhode Island

November 8 at St. Ste­phen’s Church in Providence (James Busby, host organist), the chapter hosted Peter StoltzfusBerton for a lecture-recital on the art of transcribing the improvisations of the late Gerre Hancock. With recordings of Hancock’s live improvisations and hymn playing in services at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City, and of improvisations on commercially released recordings, Stoltzfus-Berton elaborated on the practical and artistic process of transcription, and played many examples of Hancock’s improvi­sations being prepared for publication.

• January 8, the chapter host­ed a festive, informal Twelfth Night Dinner for about 40 guests at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Greenwich (Phil­­ip Martorella, host organist). A predinner concert featured local gifted young musi­cians: organist Michael Ryan (student of Alan Morrison at Westminster Choir College), a rising talent who grew up in East Greenwich, and twin-brother tenors Joseph and Tho­mas Burdick of Warwick (graduates of the St. Thomas Choir School in New York City and now high-school juniors), who sang and played piano and featured their newly composed arrangement of “Silent Night” for two voices and guitar. At the catered dinner, musical entertainment was provided by two of “The Three Amigos,” a lively male trio of singers from St. Luke’s Church, East Greenwich; door prizes (including CDs and DVDs of seasonal music and items from the AGO Resources “store”) were raffled off with much mirth!

• February 7, the chapter hosted a choral workshop on “Building the All-Age Choir,” with guest clinicians Don St. Jean (director of choral activities at Salve Re­gina University, Newport) and Eden Casteel (voice faculty at Salve Regina and president of the Rhode Island chap­ter of National Association of Teachers of Sing­ing), at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich (Rod­ney Ayers, host organist). St. Jean enthusiastically covered topics such as building a sense of community in the choir, breath support, resonance and vocal register, understanding diction and pronunciation, and self-motivated inner hearing and rhythmic acuity, through various a cappella singing techniques. Casteel spoke with engaging humor about “Common Choral Complaints and Some Solutions,” elaborating on techniques directors can use to improve their amateur singers’ abilities in reaching high notes, breathing, listening, tuning, and interpretation. Student singers from Rhode Island College seeking to advance their careers as section leaders in area choirs presented a short recital, and useful discussion ensued relating to topics of hiring choral scholars, use of student singers in choirs, and broadening the “average” organist’s awareness of basic choral training techniques.

—John Brooks

Mid-Atlantic Region

Central Maryland

February 20, 14 members gathered at Frederick Presbyterian Church for a presentation by Wayne Wold (AAGO) about the AGO certification process. A chapter member, he is also a member of the Guild’s Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources and author of the “Musicians ‘On the Side’” monthly column in TAO. He provided handouts of the requirements for all five certifications, and talked us through the process of one of these levels. A lively question-and-answer period was part of the presentation, with chapter members asking pertinent questions about timelines, resources, and strategies to prepare for the exam. Other members related their experiences going through the process. Mem­bers left the workshop with a greater personal understanding of the value of AGO certification.

—Peggy Brengle

Metropolitan New Jersey

January 18, the chapter held its annual January JumpStart Mini-Convention at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown (Matt Webb, host organist). Guest artist Kent Tritle—director of music-organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and music director of Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York—was the clinician for the day. In the morning, he held a conducting masterclass; participants in­cluded Jim Little, Matt Web, Brian Harlow, and Anne Matlack. Christopher Jennings provided accompaniment. The afternoon session consisted of a service-playing workshop led by Tritle, with assistance from Ray Nagem, associate organist at the cathedral.

—Bev McGregor

Southwest Jersey

February 7, the chapter held its annual service at First United Methodist Church, Glassboro, where host William Mitchell has been organist-director of music for 60 years. The church’s chancel choir sang six anthems directed by Mitchell, who also played the prelude and postlude. Additional members playing were Marilyn Rabbai, Charlene Cranmer, Dean Rob Hobgood, and Larry De Pas­quale. The offertory was played by Philadelphia Orchestra members Peter Smith (oboe) and Angela Anderson Smith (bassoon). Glenn Rodgers, regional councillor, installed the chapter officers. Dinner at a local restaurant followed.

—Joyce Ann Routon

Chambersburg, PA

February 20, a chapter meeting was held at First Church of God (organist Douglas McCulloh, host). Tony Val­lillo, one of the newer members, provided the group with an interesting look behind the scenes at Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France, with organist Daniel Roth—by means of videos he had made. Vallillo, a retired airline pilot, flew to Paris a num­ber of times and became good friends with Roth. The second part of the program was presented by organbuilder Mark Cooley, who talked about the installation and ongoing work being done to the Möller organ at First Church of God. Afterward, McCulloh demonstrated some of the unique stereo sound effects of the instrument. Following that, members were given an opportunity to play the organ.

—Helen Wingert

Harrisburg, PA

February 12, the chapter met with residents of Bethany Village in Mechanicsburg for an evening of musical entertainment. A hymn-sing was accompanied by organist Anna Royer, and soprano Karen Appel was accompanied by Charles Yocum, who also played some popular keyboard tunes. Charles and Anna are current residents of Bethany and were chief planners of the program. Other participants were Bob Bell (organ), Ray Edmison (piano), and Dean Shawn Gingrich, accompanying three of his family’s student members—Sarah (viola), Peter (cello), and Christian (bass)—in individual string solos. Phyllis Conrad, hospitality chair, provided for a snack time, following the music.

• The chapter’s Pipe Organ Encounter Plus organizers are hard at work planning for a successful event July 10–14 at Messiah College. The chapter’s website has been designed to include information about the POE+, and the response has been favorable. Adults over age 19 who are interested in learning more about organ playing are cordially invited to register.

—Mary Jane Nelson

Lehigh Valley, PA

February 21, the chapter and Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem (host Rebecca Kleintop Owens, director of music), cosponsored an organ program featuring performances by four Moravian College students. The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon, senior pastor, welcomed everyone, after which 
all sang an opening hymn. The college students included Luke DiGiacinto, who opened and closed the recital (with works by Marchand, Buxtehude, Wagner, and Pierné); Emily Brands (Vivaldi and Bach); Matthew Obszarny (Brahms); and Patrick Oswald (Langlais, Pinkham, and Karg-Elert). The students prefaced their performances with informative remarks about the pieces they played.

—Lou Carol Fix

Pittsburgh, PA

February 22, members gathered for the monthly dinner meeting and program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Douglas Starr, host). Following a brief meeting, Dean Edward Alan Moore presented the dean’s pin to Alan Lewis, immediate past dean. As a prelude to the program, Regina Kettering, a Pipe Organ Academy student and student of Craig Dobbins, played the third movement of Widor’s Symphony No. 1. The program was presented by Justin Bischof, director of music at the Episcopal Church of St. James the Less, Scarsdale, N.Y., and winner of the 2000 AGO National Improvisation Contest. He presented a program on hymn improvisation, explaining and demonstrating the great variety of improvisation opportunities available, whether leading hymns in singing or as a composition. Three members volunteered to improvise on several hymns, which proved very enlightening. The program concluded with Bischof improvising on “Go Down, Moses.”

—Barbara McKelway

Charlottesville-Albemarle, VA

February 19, the chapter and First Presbyterian Church’s Music on Park Street Concert Series sponsored an organ recital by Ste­phen Buzard, assistant organist at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City. His playing was brilliant, displaying his virtuoso technique, and he demonstrated the III/59 Casavant (1995) to its fullest capabil­ity with works by Bruhns, Bach, Duruflé, and Vierne. Highlights included an improvisation on “St. Clement” by Gerre Hancock (transcribed by Stephen Buzard), and “Lacrimae” by Andrew Carter, written in memory of John Gavin Scott. A lovely reception sponsored by the chapter followed.

—Alice Layman

Richmond, VA

September 8, the monthly program included a dinner, installation of officers, announcement and introduction of the organ scholarship students, and a recital by chapter members of denominational organ repertoire through the centuries on the Kenneth Jones tracker organ at River Road Presbyterian Church.

• October 10, chapter members enjoyed an organ crawl of six significant and historic churches with interesting organ installations in the neighboring city of Petersburg.

• November 10, Ann Labounsky, FAGO, gave a talk on AGO certification exams and showed examples of skills and pieces for each level. She also presented a mini-recital on the Schantz organ of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, playing the music of Jean Langlais, with whom she studied in Paris.

• February 12, the chapter cosponsored, with Trin­ity Lutheran Church, a recital titled “The Spiritual Bach,” featuring organist Marvin Mills and soprano Marlissa Hudson. In an outstanding performance, they musically contrasted works of J.S. Bach with traditional Negro Spirituals, as composed by Hall Johnson, Undine Smith Moore, Evelyn Curenton, and one of Mills’s own compositions: “Jesus, Lay Yo’ Head in da Window.” The program, which was advertised and open to the public, was well attended. A reception at Trinity Lutheran was held afterward. Pictured with Mills and Hudson are (left) Daniel Stipe, director of music at Trinity Lutheran Church, and Cheryl Van Ornam (dean).

—Bruce E. Dersch and John DeMajo

Winchester, VA

January 27, James Kriewald was recognized for 45 years as organist-director of music at Christ Episcopal Church. He came to Winchester in the early 1970s, to teach at Shenandoah University. He had been in Winchester only a few months when the position at Christ Church became available; he accepted the job, and the rest is history. The Winchester chapter was asked to make a presentation; a resolution with input from several members was read by James Laster and gratefully received. In part, it recognized him as a “thoughtful and generous colleague, sharing his time, skills, and resources with other church musicians” and cited his devotion to excellence in directing his choirs; his skills as an organist; and his service as “a consummate church musician with an eye toward God in all the music performed at Christ Church.”

• February 8, the chapter held a program on “Jewish Faith and Music for All” at Braddock Street United Methodist Church. Rabbi Scott Sperling of Temple Beth El was the speaker. President of the Valley Interfaith Council, he is an adjunct assistant professor of religion at Shenandoah University and serves as vice chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Convention in Israel. Before coming to Beth El, he was interim executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America and also director (2001–2009) of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mid-Atlantic Council, based in Washington, D.C. During the last two years, he served as congregational consultant on communications technology. Most of his life, however, Sperling was a West Coaster, serving as associate rabbi for Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, Wash. While there, he was asked to take part in 
the AGO national convention. Other years, he served congre­gations in New York and Los Angeles, including seven years with the Synagogue for the Performing Arts. Sperling’s wife, Laura—a flutist for whom composer Michael Isaacson has written several works—played several of Isaacson’s works with chapter member Judy Connelly accompanying.

—Gloria Harris

Southeast Region

Central Florida

In December, the chapter held its annual Christmas party at the home of Dean Shannon Fore. Members enjoyed an evening of relaxation, fun, and fellowship after the busy Christmas season. An entertaining highlight of the eve­ning was having an ensemble of “Christmas Cracker” whistles being played by members and directed by the dean serenading the guests at the party.

Janu­ary’s event was a Pedals, Pipes, & Pizza presentation at Winter Park Presbyterian Church (Bill Kent, host), where many young pianists and organists had the opportunity to learn about and explore the Reuter organ there. Tim Smith, director of music at All Saints Episcopal in Winter Park, and Candace Travis, music teacher at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Altamonte Springs, led the program. Jessica Bailes, current chapter scholarship winner, played Randolph Currie’s “A Young Person’s Guide to the Pipe Organ” to demonstrate the organ. Many organ companies, publishers, and vendors provided donations for the students at this event. The program was underwritten by a generous donation from Florida Organ Works and member Clarence Cloak.

In February, the chapter presented a progressive organ crawl, starting at All Saints Episcopal; Tim Smith hosted a program of music provided by members Josiah Armes, Tim Hanes, and the Resurrection Brass ensemble. Then it was off to First United Methodist Church, also in Winter Park, where Michael Roberts had prepared Rutter’s Gloria, complete with full choir, organ, brass, and percussion. This was followed by a program of organ music by George Atwell. Pictures of these events and more can be found on the chapter’s Facebook page.

—John F. Reilly

Jacksonville, FL

In January, the chapter held a post-Christmas gathering at the home of the Rev. Mary Holladay to view and play the new pipe organ installed in her home. The four-rank instrument was recently installed by another chapter mem­ber, James Freeman. Delicious food and fellowship started the eve­ning, which was rounded out by a good old-fashioned hymn sing.

—Tony Cruz

Southwest Florida

February 12, the chapter sponsored its annual members’ recital at Messiah Lu­theran Church, Cape Coral (John Renfroe, host organist). Participants included Benjamin Ball, John Geib, Hank Glass, Tom James, Ric Jaeggi, Paula Leighton, Norm Libby, and John Renfroe.

—Hank Glass

Atlanta, GA

February 2, the chapter met for a dinner and hymn festival at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church. “A Festival of Hymns for the Church Year” was led by Richard Webster, conductor, composer, and arranger. Webster is the director of music-organist at Trinity Church in Copley Square, Boston. The hymn festival featured the Holy Innocents’ Parish Choir with David Brensinger, organist. Members of the Atlanta Symphony Brass were also featured on the program.

—Rachel Ficklin

Augusta, GA

February 15, the chapter enjoyed dinner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish House (Keith Shafer, host). During the dinner, the chapter recognized longtime member Laura Camer­on, who celebrated her 100th birthday on January 30. Dean Don Dupee called for a toast, which was followed by enjoyment of a cake provided in her honor. Afterward, members and more than 200 attendees were treated to a music program (instrumental and hymns) in the church. Eleven brass players and two percussionists, along with organist Shafer, were directed by Sub-dean John L. Wilson (AAGO, ChM). Composers represented included Copland, Rutter, Campra, Wagner, Rimsky-Korsakov, Vaughan Williams, Grainger, Dukas, and Gillis. During intermission, Dupee recognized Laura Cameron with the audience singing a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” accompanied by brass and organ. The program concluded with the Toccata from Widor’s Symphony No. 5, arranged for brass and organ by Shafer. The chapter has made a contribution to the AGO Annual Fund in Cam­eron’s honor.

—David Salter

Savannah, GA

February 28, the chapter held its annual mem­bers’ recital at First Presbyterian Church (Bill and Anne McNair, hosts). The fun program consisted of organ transcriptions of pieces by Handel, Saint-Saëns, Joplin, Arcadelt, Mussorgsky, Mahler, Telemann, Williams, and Sousa. Participants included Jim Adams, Justin Addington, Kyle Ballantine, Timothy Hall, Monica Harper, Rebecca McClain, Bill McNair, Richard Myers, and James Richardson.

—Justin L. Addington

Jackson, MS

January 12, the chapter continued its season with the presentation of organist Nicole Keller in recital at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral. Her program was a fascinating period mix of the Renaissance/Baroque, including works by Sweelinck, Mendelssohn, Craig Phillips, Daniel Pinkham, David Conte, and Anne Wilson. Keller, who played the program with mastery, beauty, and ease, is on the faculty at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio.

—Carol S. Durham

Charlotte, NC

February 19, a program was presented by the Young Voices of the Carolinas with Sandy Holland, director, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church (Lee Northcutt, host). The children performed several pieces beautifully, paying close attention to their director. Holland then led a choral reading session for members and guests, plus a discussion about the children’s choir in today’s church. Each person in attendance received a packet of children’s anthems, provided by Choristers Guild.

—Gay Pappin

East Carolina, NC

January 22, the chapter hosted “Jazz and World Music Improvisation” with Dorothy Papadakos at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Green­ville. Area organists and students of the East Carolina University organ department attended, and were treated to an inspiring, practical, educational, and entertaining event. Most of those attending participated at the organ, and the musical styles dem­onstrated ranged from Cel­tic to Greek to bossa nova and jazz. Valuable tips and resources for improvisation were in abundance. Jason Schodt instructed on improvisation of a hymn by Papadakos. Other participants included Ashlyn Batton, Katherine Johnson, Jacob Montgom­ery, Jordan Prescott, Andrew Scanlon, Tyler Schodt, Sharon Veitch, Sylvia Wall, and Bill Wood.

—Sharon Veitch

Charleston, SC

February 8, the chapter gathered at the Steinway Piano Gallery of Charleston (Charles Fox and George Hiatt, hosts) for a program of duets for piano and organ. The instruments were a Steinway D concert grand and a three-manual Allen Bravura L-323. The gallery provided a sumptuous spread of comestibles. Music by Brahms, Gounod, Franck, Fauré, Lani Smith, and Clifford Demarest was performed by members pictured: (front) George Hiatt, Roy Burbage, Hugh Knight, Kathy Collins, Robert Gant, Edmund LeRoy; (back) Brennon Szafron, Mark Bebensee, William Gud­ger, Nancy Lefter, Todd Monsell, and Jason Pedeaux.

—Edmund LeRoy

Columbia, SC

January 23, the chapter presented David Stultz in recital at Trinity Cathedral. Winner of the 2015 Young Organist Competition sponsored by the chapter, he is a 17-year-old student of Jason Duroy in Chattanooga, Tenn. He garnered both the first-place award and the hymn-playing award in the competition held in March 2015. His program included three works by J.S. Bach, the Pièce héroïque of Franck, and works by Mendelssohn, Frank Bridge, Paul Manz, and Nancy Faxon. The program opened with his improvisation on a hymn, which the audience joined in singing. Stultz joins a long line of alums from the Young Organist Competition who are rising stars in the profession.

—Frances Webb

Grand Strand, SC

February 6, the chapter held its annual Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event for local piano students and other young musicians at Trinity Church in Myrtle Beach (Ashley Sosis, host organist). The event featured Trinity’s 1876 mechanical-action, 30-rank William A. Johnson organ and included a dem­onstration of the families of pipes by Bud Esper, a guided tour through the organ’s case, and an opportunity to play the instrument. Each student crafted his/her own functional PVC organ pipe and participated in an experiment using different air sources for a homemade organ.

—Ashley Sosis

Spartanburg, SC

February 20 at Southside Baptist Church, the chapter held a workshop on teaching organ and keyboard to students of all ages. The six-hour session was presented by Wayne Leupold of Wayne Leupold Editions in Colfax, N.C. In the morning, Leupold explained his philosophy of teaching organ and keyboard and let attendees examine the different method books his company has produced with input from organ and keyboard teachers from around the county. He emphasized the importance of getting young people involved and interested in the organ and talked about the organist’s assistant programs he has started to allow young people to help the organist during services. After lunch, Leupold discussed the new Leu­pold Bach Edition and let members examine copies of the volumes that have been published.

—Bill Cooper

Knoxville, TN

January 16, 14 young piano students participated in a Student Organ Encoun­ter Day at the University of Tennessee. It began with an organ demonstrator piece and a recital by four UT organ students: Jeremy Anantharaj, Mich Walter, Erica McCarty, and Trey Ogle. High-school student Chase Benefiel also played, as did John Brock and Edie Johnson, UT organ teachers. Students were then divided into two groups. Each had a chance to work with Brenda Goslee at the Richards, Fowkes organ in UT’s Cox Auditorium and at the Kney organ in the organ studio at the Haslam Music Center, also on the UT campus. John Brock and Dale Stanton were with the students there. Every student had an opportunity to play both instruments, and Bradley Rule donated pipes so that each of them had a wooden pipe to take home. • Feb. 1 at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, “Music of the Jewish Tradition” was presented by a choir of 13 voices and five vocal and instrumental soloists: Cath­erine Greer (soprano), D. Scot Williams (cello), Gary Sperl (clarinet), James Garvey (organ), and Eunjin Choi (organ). The program was jointly sponsored by the chapter and by the church’s Friends of Music and the Arts.

—Allison Ensor

Memphis, Tenn.

February 1, David Perry Ouzts presented a program titled “Musical Settings of Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis” at First Presbyterian Church. Participants then lifted their voices in song to myriad musical settings of the two. It was an informative and inspiring evening.

—Jean Jones

Nashville, TN

February 1,

Stuart Forster, author of Hymn Playing: A Modern Colloquium, present­-ed a “Hymn Accompaniment Workshop.” He gave a detailed review of good hymn-playing habits and suggestions for creative introductions. His discussion also included phrasing, fixing the tempo accurately, treatments for unfamiliar hymns, and motivating the congregation. The workshop and pre­ceding dinner were hosted by Julia Callaway of Vine Street Christian Church.

—Rhonda Swanson

Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia

September 15,

the chapter gathered at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Johnson City, Tenn., for a buffet dinner and convocation service. Dean Joy Smith-Briggs led members in an inspirational 2015–16 opening convocation worship service, bringing thoughts garnered from her attendance at the 2015 AGO Regional Convention in Indianapolis.

• October 27, members gathered at Seeger Chapel of Milligan College, for dinner and an evening “onstage” exploring new music for fall and Advent. Elizabeth Smith of Lois Fyfe Music, Nashville, brought abundant selections, which she displayed on the stage adjacent to the beautiful Schantz organ. She discussed and demonstrated a number of the collections and pieces, leaving ample time for member browsing and purchase.

• November 17, members congregated at First Broad St. United Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tenn., for dinner and a members’ recital on the fine Möller/Dyer organ. Selection themes reflected thankfulness in general, as well as remembrances of chapter member Randall Farley, who had died of a heart attack two days prior.

• In December, as customary, chapter members attended to Advent and Christmas duties, postponing a gathering until January, when the chapter’s Saturday brunch was then canceled because of a blizzard.

—Joan Keith

Great Lakes Region

Chicago, IL

February 16, the chapter gathered for a gala recital featuring James O’Donnell, organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey in London. He played a varied program to a capacity audience on the 33-rank C.B. Fisk (2005) at St. Chrysostom’s Church. The recital was hosted jointly by the chapter and the church. Under the outstanding leadership of resident organist Richard Hos­kins, an extensive publicity campaign was utilized to attract a wide audience from the church, the chapter, and the greater Chicago musical community.

—Steven Betancourt

Southern Illinois

February 6, the chapter and the Baldwin Organ and Piano Center of Herrin cosponsored a program titled “Does Your Church Need an Organist?” Pianists from several churches were invited to attend a workshop at the Baldwin center in order to experience playing an organ. Members of the chapter served as teachers, explaining and demonstrating some basics of organ playing. The students were encouraged to try out their keyboard skills on several of the organs in the center sales rooms. The program was well received, and participants look forward to further opportunities to expand their 
organ playing experiences.

—Sidney G. Smith

Indianapolis, IN

February 28, the chapter presented the 10th Annual Indianapolis Pipe Organ Festival at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (IV/80 Gould­ing & Wood). The theme was “ABCs of Organ Music” and highlighted pieces by composers whose last name starts with A, B, or C (including C. Griffith Bratt, J.S. Bach, Albert Brumley, William Bolcom, Jan Bender, William Albright). The program also included recognition of Black History Month. Recitalists included Michael Boney, Randall Frieling, Luke Kessler, Marko Petricic, Patricia Rozeboom, and Raina Wood. Poetry was read, between performances, by Clarice Stegall (who chaired the event), Addie Yoder, and Tim Needler. A reception with refreshments was arranged by Addie Yoder.

—Susan Raccoli

St. Joseph Valley, IN

February 7, members gathered at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Elk­hart for a presentation by Craig Cramer, professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame. His topic was “Alexandre Pierre François Boëly and His Work in 19th-Century France.” (Boëly was also Cramer’s subject for his DMA dissertation in 1983.) Cramer provided organ stoplists for the two churches in Paris where Boëly served as organist, and discussed Boëly’s role in adding stops to manuals and expanding both the range and the stops in the pedals. An overview of Boëly’s organ compositions showed his prolific output written in a quasi-classical, somewhat experimental style. Cramer played several works, including Fantasia on the Te Deum (a “storm” piece) and Fantasia and Fugue in B-flat, which became Boëly’s most famous organ work.

—Beverly Butler

Louisville, KY

February 13, the chapter sponsored a Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event at Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Alan Martin, host) and St. Paul United Methodist Church (Jim McFarland, host). Students heard demonstrations and were each invited to play the pipe organs. Afterward, the kids toured the organ chambers, led by Pete Webber. Dan Martin (sub-dean), Josh Duncan, and David Lamb were coordinators for this event.

—Josh Duncan

Cherry Capital, MI

February 21 in Traverse City, the chapter held its sixth annual Two by Two duet recital, featuring duets of all kinds for pianos, organs, voice, and harpsichord. Bruce Ahlich, former dean, hosted the event at Trinity Lutheran Church with its Schantz/Buck antiphonal organ. AGO participants included Dorothy Clore, Sally Lewis, Bruce Ahlich, Jan Mudgett, and Mark Peters (dean).

—Mark Peters

Canton, OH

January 25, members and guests came to the Palace Theater to watch the 1920s Buster Keaton silent movie One Week and listen to the Kilgen organ played by the house organist. Attendees had the opportunity to ride the lift with the organ as it was being played while coming out of the pit. The event also included a time to see places in the historic theater not normally available to the general public.

• February 22, a members’ recital was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Massillon. Performers were David Carnell, Karl Harsney, Terry Harsney, Anthony Montagno, Vicki Ryan, Sandy Simpson, and Mark Thewes. Afterward, refresh­ments were served, and participants viewed the IV/41 Möller organ recently installed in the church’s balcony.

—Elaine Vaughan

North Central Region

Arrowhead, MN

December 6, the chapter sponsored a Christmas concert at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth to raise funds for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of Sacred Heart’s 1898 historic Felgemaker pipe organ. The program featured young musicians from the community, including six of the chapter’s former and current organ scholarship students (Elizabeth Franck, Rachel Franck, Max Hahn, Parker Hinnen­kamp, Jace Jordan, and Joshua Peterson); Class Ring, the high-school handbell ensemble from Duluth’s First United Methodist Church; Sterling Strings, a string orchestra from Duluth East High School; and Philip Hommes, harpist. The well-attended concert concluded with an audience Christmas carol sing-along led by Sacred Heart’s resident organist, the Rev. Dr. David Tryg­gestad. A lovely reception followed with lots of sweet refreshments, as well as Friends of the Felgemaker T-shirts and CDs for sale.

—Velda Graham Bell

Twin Cities, MN

January 24–February 7, the chapter presented a Widor Festival. Featured were the Bakken Trio; choirs from the Cathedral of St. Paul (Sean Vogt, director), St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church (Jayson R. Engquist, director), and the Church of the Holy Childhood (Robert Vickery, director); organists Engquist, Vickery, Law­rence Law­yer, Catherine Rodland, and Brian Carson; a lecture by Widor biographer John Near; and a performance of Widor’s Symphony No. 3 by the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis (Cary John Frank­lin, conductor) and organist Diana Lee Lucker. We sincerely thank all who worked so diligently to put this expansive fes­tival together—especially the brainstorm of a “good idea” by the program committee (David Jenkins, Bob Luther, Bob Vickery, Kraig Windschitl, and Jere­my Haug). The event could not have been executed successfully without the host locations, choirs, organists, conductors, performers, and promoters for successfully doing their part with grace and commitment. Our deepest appreciation and respect to John Near, around whom the idea grew while providing intriguing content and context throughout.

—Jeremy Haug

Greater Kansas City, MO

February 15, the chapter’s Schola Cantorum vocal ensemble (Anthony Maglione, conductor) and organist Leora Nauta were featured in a program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Kansas City, where Nauta is organist. She played Widor’s Symphony No. 5. Organists John Schaefer and Vaughn Scarliff assisted with the choir organ score in the Messe Solennelle by Louis Vierne, playing a portative organ. Nicole Murray was vocal soloist for Du­pré’s setting of the Ave Maria. Additional members of the Schola Cantorum included Mag­gie Anderson, Jay Carter, Brad Cutcliffe, Jonathan Daniel, Lori Davies, Tristan Dorsey, Paul 
Erickson, Gayle Haw­thorne, Kristen Hyde, Jeffery Hon, Mat­thew LaMar, Natalie LaMar, Ryan James Leonard, Erin Lillie, Mad­e­line Martin, Sara McClure, Lesi McDaniel, John Rosa, Alex Spence, Lauren Stafford, Mitch­ell Staf­ford, Kristen Sullivan, Jackson Thomas, and Lora Williams.

—Norm Kinnaugh

Southwest Region

Central Arkansas

January 15, the chapter met for its monthly dinner meeting, preceded by a social hour, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock (host Tim Allen, organist-choirmaster). Then attendees adjourned to the sanctuary for a recital by Scott Dettra, who presented a program of organ music by Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn. The recital was sponsored by Richard Hixson—a longtime chapter member and former dean. For more than 20 years, Hixson has underwritten an organ recital as a gift to the community in celebration of his birthday, allowing his fellow organists and organ-music lovers to celebrate not only his birthday but also a very special evening of music.

—Betty Cohen

Tulsa, OK

December 8, the chap­ter sponsored an Advent Ser­vice of Lessons and Carols at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, presented by the church’s Camerata Singers and musicians from the Tulsa Symphony, directed by Joel Panciera. • Feb. 5, members met at Trin­ity Episcopal Church (Casey Cantwell, host) for dinner and a meeting. Afterward, Damin Spritzer, assistant professor of organ at the University of Oklahoma, presented a recital for 
an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

—Karen Rich

Beaumont, TX

February 20, the chapter hosted a Pedals, Pipes & Pizza educational event for area keyboard students, providing the opportunity to hear and play the pipe organs located at Calder Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The tour concluded with a pizza lunch at St. Mark’s. We were pleased to have 45 participants—including 26 students, their parents, their instructors, and chapter member hosts.

—Chris Richter

Dallas, TX

February 7, Jonathan Gregoire assembled another excellent Neighborhood Recital on the Möller organ of Oak Lawn Methodist Church. Performers included Andrew Kenney, Greg Santa Croce, and Alex Gilson (students of Jesse Eschbach, University of North Texas); Richard Gray and Jordan De­Rouen (students of Stefan Engels, Southern Methodist University); and Christopher Wi­domski, an SMU organ alum. Works by Bach, Messiaen, Bonnet, and Dupré were performed with great musicality and technique, proving that the future of organ music is alive and well in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We are truly grateful.

—William Leazer

Houston, TX

February 6, George Baker led chapter members through an improvisation workshop and masterclass at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he is a lecturer on improvisation. During the first half of the event, he shared highlights from his incredible journey of studying with many of the French “greats,” including Marie-Claire Alain, André Marchal, Jean Langlais, and Pierre Cochereau. Following lunch, attendees moved from the lecture hall to the Fisk/Rosales organ in the Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall. There, Baker conducted an improvisation class on the “essences” of various composers, which help one to emulate their compositional style and musical language. He provided takeaway materials, including related resources and a wealth of improvisation guidance.

—Andrew Bowen

West Region

Central AZ

February 14, the chapter held its annual Phoenix Youth Rising Benefit Concert at American Lutheran Church, Sun City (Tom Ohnesorge, host). This event raises funds and awareness for the chapter’s young scholarship students, and is part of its educational outreach. Members, including two scholarship recipients, played a wide variety of works, showing off the talents of chapter members and the colors of the instrument. Participants included Eli Arnold, Gillian Flack, James Gerber, Virginia Harmon, Skye Hart, Craig Jorgensen, Peter Mahigian, Jeffrey Porter, Gary Quamme, Michael Salazar, Elaine Smetters, Tatiana Tawney, and Craig Westendorf.

—Skye Hart

Kern County, CA

February 5, 
the chapter hosted a recital by organist Carol Williams at Valley Baptist Church on the Olive Drive campus. The program was well attended, and Williams received a standing ovation for her marvelous talent at the organ.

—Shirley Foster

Long Beach, CA

February 7, members of the Long Beach and Orange County chapters attended an organ concert at Se­gerstrom Concert Hall. The organists were Paul Jacobs, Chris­toph Bull, Frederick Swann, and Craig Williams. The first and last piece featured the percussion section of the Pacific Symphony, conducted by Carl Sinclair. Many varied and unique percussion instruments were employed in these two pieces.

—David Feit-Pretzer

Los Angeles, CA

December 14, the chapter held a joint gala with the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society. Participants enjoyed a festive Christmas dinner at the elegant Wilshire United Methodist Church. Then they crossed the street to the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre and were entertained by Mark Herman (member of both organizations). He played several holiday selections on the Barton theater organ, creatively accompanied the hilarious Laurel and Hardy film Big Business, and skillfully accompanied the singing of some favorite carols—with words projected on the screen! It was a fun diversion in our busy season. • Jan. 10, a recital was presented by Tom Mueller at St. James’ in the City, where he is associate organist. The performance was preceded by the church’s monthly Solemn Evensong and reception.

—Karla Devine

Orange County, CA

October 2–4, the region was privileged to have Michael Burkhardt in town for a series of events and a masterclass held at and cosponsored by Concordia University Irvine (CUI). Oct. 2, Burkhardt played an impressive recital, including works by Buxtehude, Bach, Franck, Langlais, Pärt, and King, as well as some of his own improvisations. The next day, his masterclass featured young local organists from the Orange County area, including AGO members Katrina Liao and Agatha and Aletheia Teague.

October 4, Burkhardt led a hymn festival titled “People of God, Gather to Sing,” showcasing two of CUI’s finest choirs and various guest instrumentalists. Hymns from a broad variety of traditions were included, spanning Early American, English, Central European, Hebrew, and Latino roots. • Nov. 6, the chapter hosted a concert at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana featuring Thomas Strauss, organist, cantor, and choir director at St. John the Baptist in Oppenau, Germany, and the Trinkle Brass Works from the University of Nevada. The program featured works by Bach, Mozart, and Torelli, among others.

—Anselm Friesen

San Diego, CA

February 8, the chapter presented a members’ recital at St. Brigid Catholic Church (host Jensine Nolan, organist-director of music); the theme was “Music that Works.” Nolan kicked off the evening with a lovely processional on Thaxted by Charles Callahan. Jon Naples, choir director-organist at St. Margaret’s Church, Oceanside, played two movements from his composition Etna. Kris Abels, organist at Mission Hills Congregational Church, shared chorale preludes by Barbara Harbach and Aaron David Miller from the Augsburg Organ Library collection. Ste­phen Price, associate director of music-organist at First United Methodist Church, played two movements from Troisième Son­ate pour Orgue by Canadian composer Raymond Daveluy. Gregory Funk, parish musician at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, played six liturgical pieces that he composed for his congregation. Following the re­cital, members gathered in the choir room for wine, dessert, and fellowship.

—Leslie Wolf Robb

San Francisco

January 16, the chapter hosted nine young organists and pianists on an all-day Youth Organ Crawl. In addition to hearing and playing organs at St. Mark’s Lutheran, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and St. Luke’s Episcopal, they were treated to a pizza lunch at a local restaurant. Each participant also received a stack of music from the chapter’s collection of donated used music, as well as several CDs from the host organists.

—Elizabeth Forsyth

Southern Nevada

February 26, the chapter presented Chelsea Chen in recital at Doc Rando Recital Hall, University of Nevada–Las Vegas. This was the fourth program in the Artist Series for 2015–16. She presented an interesting mix of standards by Bach, Franck, and Dupré, to which she added original compositions on Taiwanese folk songs by herself, and a well-known Chinese folk tune by Yui Kitamura. She interpreted Miroir by Dutch composer Ad Wammes as a delightful samba. Works by Alain and Duruflé rounded out the exacting and difficult program played entirely from memory.

—Dorothy Young Riess

Seattle, WA

February 14, chapter members presented a recital to a sizable and appreciative audience at Our Lady of Fatima Parish. Compositions ranged from 17th- to 21st-century works. Several performers offered sidelights on the music, such as why “Diderich” Buxtehude’s birth name doesn’t look quite German (his family was Danish) and how Joel Martinson’s Twelve Organ Trios are related to those of Rheinberger. Organists were David Barela, Jiyoung Lee, Samuel Libra, Roger Meers, Sylvia Oines, Charles Rus, Will Simpson, and Wyatt Smith. Erin Simpson, soprano, graced the program with an organ-plus selection from Bach’s Magnifi­cat, taking full advantage of the church’s four-second reverberation. A reception concluded the meeting.

—David Nichols

Spokane, WA

December 26, the chapter hosted its second annual Christmas Carol Walk in the downtown area. About 100 people walked to three participating churches to sing hymns. Entire families attended, and young and old were present. Each church had a host song leader to keep the tempo moving and the crowd movement on schedule. Host churches and organists were: Central United Methodist (Taylor Giese), Westminster UCC (Thomas Jefferson), and Central Lutheran (Alice Hostetter). At the conclusion of sing­ing at the third church, participants were rewarded with hot drinks and goodies before heading back out into the snow.

• February 14, the chapter hosted a recital by Chris­topher Houlihan at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral. Eighty-six people attended this second in a series of three recitals in the chapter’s “Year of the Organ Series.” Houlihan was introduced by Dean Janet Satre Ahrend. His program—which included works by Sow­erby, Bach, Saint-Saëns, and Vierne—was played on the cathedral’s Aeolian-Skinner organ with excellent interpretation and entirely from memory. He received a standing ovation and respond­ed by playing Ravel’s Vocalise-étude en forme de Habanera. A reception followed the program.

—Vince Roland

Speak Your Mind