August 2015 TAO Feature Article

Trinity Episcopal Church, Mobile, AL Goulding & Wood Organ Builders, Indianapolis, IN By Jason Overall Mobile, Alabama, saw severe, unusual weather on Christmas Day 2012, culminating in a destructive tornado. This Gulf Coast town, more accustomed to dealing with hurricanes, suddenly faced dealing with the precision damage unique to tornados. The storm's path led straight to the front doors of Trinity Episcopal Church, and the winds lifted the entire roof of the historic church building completely off the walls, setting it back at an angle. In the weeks that followed, the congregation struggled to recover from the emotional impact of the damage while also finding solace in the fact that, given the time of the storm, no one was in the … [Read more...]

Twenty three young musicians attend Pipe Organ Encounter in Wichita, KS

Twenty three young musicians, ages 13 through 17, from seven states attended a Pipe Organ Encounter in Wichita, Kansas, on June 14-19, 2015. The event was centered at Wichita State University with housing in the new Shocker Hall residence facility with classes, performances and workshops at various locations around Wichita State. Each morning the campers traveled to area churches for their daily lessons and practice times on a variety of organs throughout the city. The afternoons were filled with faculty recitals and workshops, more practice time, tours and recreation. Each evening featured a performance by faculty members, including a hymn festival on Wednesday. Faculty members included Tate Addis, recent Yale University graduate; Dr. … [Read more...]

July 2015 TAO Feature Article

United Church, Canandaigua, NY Parsons Pipe Organ Builders, Canandaigua, NY By Richard Parsons History Located in Upstate New York’s picturesque Finger Lakes region, United Church is situated in the heart of Canandaigua’s downtown historic district. The church was built in 1871 and dedicated in 1872 to house the newly formed First Presbyterian Church of Canandaigua. Constructed in the eclectic style of religious architecture common to the latter part of the 19th century, the edifice features a charming blend of Romanesque and Gothic Revival influences. On December 13, 1942, the neighboring First Baptist Church of Canandaigua was totally destroyed by fire. In 1947, First Presbyterian suggested that the two churches worship jointly … [Read more...]

Call for Nominations for the 2016-2018 National Council

The AGO National Nominating Committee is responsible for preparing a slate of 14 candidates for the seven positions on the 2016-2018 National Council. In an effort to identify the most talented and dedicated leaders of the Guild, the committee seeks names of potential candidates from all Guild members. Please review the committee’s "Call for Nominations" below and take a few moments to assist the committee in its work either by offering to serve the Guild yourself or recommending one or more colleagues for Council positions. —James Thomashower, Executive Director American Guild of Organists … [Read more...]

2015 Spreckels Organ Society & AGO Competition Held

The annual San Diego AGO/Spreckels Organ Society scholarship auditions were held recently in San Diego. Congratulations to young organists Miranda Kaack, Reiley Fleischbein, John Yokoyama, Suzy Webster, Lauren A., Margaret Campbell, Alex Kramer, and Vincent Pham for presenting an excellent concert on May 31. Robert Lang’s photos of the concert can be seen here. … [Read more...]

Claude Baker Wins First Ronald G. Pogorzelski – Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition

Advertising a new prize with a $10,000 commission for a solo organ composition, the AGO’s Committee on New Music fully expected a large body of applicants, but they were nonetheless overwhelmed when they received nearly 80 applications. Committee members were even more thrilled to learn that the applicant pool was not only broad but equally deep, boasting applications from many highly accomplished and internationally recognized composers. In the end, the panel of judges—Pamela Decker, Hans-Ola Ericsson, and David Shuler, all important figures in new music and the organ—selected as the winner a renowned composer new to our instrument, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music professor of composition, Claude Baker. Read more about Claude … [Read more...]

June 2015 TAO Feature Article

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Bryn Athyn, PA Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, Hartville, OH By Charles Kegg The Bryn Athyn Cathedral organ has been one of the most fascinating and challenging instruments in the history of the Kegg firm. The donor, Oberlin graduate and active Philadelphia organist Fred Haas, has always admired the work of Ernest Skinner. In the discussion of the new organ for the cathedral, all roads led to a recreation of Skinner’s work. We were asked to marry two modest E.M. Skinner organs, expand the combined instrument in Skinner style using new or vintage pipe work, and add a dramatic fourth manual division that complements the theology of the congregation and the dramatic building architecture— all while creating new … [Read more...]

John Walker Visits Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s Organ Department

AGO President John Walker (center) recently visited the organ department of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He met with Professor Lei Zhu, department chairperson (to Walker's left), Professor Dan Wu, organ teacher (to Walker's right), and many students.   … [Read more...]

June 2015 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region New Haven, CT March 7, at First Church, Middletown, the chapter hosted a silent-film event featuring member Shari Lucas and two films from the Roaring Twenties. The audience loved the pre-performance lecture and the elegant and entertaining presentation of films. Funds were raised to support the AGO North­east Regional Convention taking place in New Haven this summer. March 14, the chapter presented a successful Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event, with about 20 guests, at United Church on the Green and Woolsey Hall at Yale. Presenters and hosts were Caesar Storlazzi, Simon Jacobs, Joseph Dzeda, George Fergus, and Lars Gjerde. Chapter members, presenters, and guests had a blast. The chapter is thankful that the … [Read more...]

McNeil Robinson 1943-2015

The American Guild of Organists is sad to announce the death of internationally renowned organist and composer McNeil Robinson on Saturday, May 9, 2015, in New York City, following a long illness. The Guild extends its deepest sympathies to his family and friends, especially his wife, Cristina Cassellato Robinson. A public memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 p.m. Church of the Ascension Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street New York City, NY 10011 All are welcome. McNeil Robinson, who chaired the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music for more than two decades, was a world renowned improvisateur who taught more winners in the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation than any other teacher. He … [Read more...]