Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter


Last updated: September 11, 2018 at 14:00 pm

Message from the Dean 

Thank you for your interest in the Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter of the American Guild of Organists!  We are a diverse group of people, including church musicians, concert artists, students, teachers, organ enthusiasts, and music lovers.  We value performance, promote education, and enjoy social activities, as well as host AGO Professional Certification exams, provide scholarships for young organists, and host regional competitions for rising stars of the organ.

 We hope that you might join us at one of our many chapter events, especially our Mini-Convention, held each year on MLK Day in January.  Whether you live in New Jersey or the metro New York City area or anywhere else throughout the world, we welcome you to follow us as we promote the organ, encourage the organists in our area, and bring attention to the many wonderful instruments in our area.  If you wish to join our chapter, please feel free to contact me or our membership chair.

All the best,
Matt Webb, Dean


* * CHAPTER PROGRAMS 2017-18 * *

Monday, September 11, 2017 – 6:30 p.m. Fall Kick-Off Event to welcome back members with drinks, wine & cheese and a lovely catered dinner by Eight Hills from Verona. Music for Organ and Vocal Soloists presented by our chapter members and their vocalists. In the Main Hall of St. Catherine of Siena Church, 10 North Pocono Rd, Mountain Lakes, NJ.

Friday, September 29, 2017 – 7:30 p.m. Evening Organ Recital In the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Journal Square, Jersey City, N.J by David Wickerham, the 2011 American Theatre Organ Society’s “Organist of the Year.” Admission is FREE with a light reception to follow.

Friday, October 20, 2017 – 7:30 p.m. Organ & Theatre: Silent movie and reception. Chapter member, Trent Johnson will improvise accompaniment to the Harold Lloyd comedy from 1923, “Safety Last!” a 65 minute silent movie in the annual fundraiser for Oratorio Singers, co-sponsored by our Metro NJ chapter. Admission is FREE to Metro NJ AGO members. First United Methodist Church, 130 Ferris Pl., Westfield, NJ.

Monday, November 6, 2017 – 7:30 p.m. Members Recital, “Preludes and Postludes composed after 1950: Current Repertoire for Sundays” at St. Vincent Martyr Church, 26 Green Village Road, Madison, NJ 07940. Chapter members are invited by the Pastor to a wine and cheese reception in the rectory following the performances! This event is FREE to Metro AGO Chapter Members.

Monday, January 15, 2018 – 9 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast MLK Day Mini-Convention The focus for this event is French music from early/Baroque to modern-day with our clinician, Dr. Jeremy Filsell, Afternoon sessions on “Marketing the Organ” with Joe Vitacco of JAV Recordings; a Q&A session with Dr. Filsell; and panel discussion on “Navigating today’s Church.” The Episcopal Church of St James, 581 Valley Rd, Montclair, NJ 07043

Mid-March 2018 During Lent, Dean, Matt Webb will be organizing a Cocktail Reception entitled “If you pour it in Lent they will come…” a social get-together in a centrally located venue, open to all organists. Watch upcoming newsletters for further details.

Friday & Saturday, April 20-21, 2018 Organ Recital and Choir Workshop On Friday evening, April 20 & Saturday morning, April 21, 2018 we will be co-sponsoring an Organ Recital and Choir workshop led by Robert McCormick at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown, NJ. Admission is FREE for Metro NJ chapter members.

Monday, May 21, 2018 Processional to Princeton Metro mid-day crawl to the Miller Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University Chapel, St Paul Parish Church, and Nassau Presbyterian Church with performances by Martin Tel, Eric Plutz and Noel Werner. Afternoon tour of the home of Glenn Thomas who has one of the largest and finest collections of automated instruments on the East Coast. The cost for this event is a bargain at $35 which includes bus fare and lunch. Please look for more details in an upcoming newsletter.

Monday, June 11, 2018 – 6:30 p.m. June Soirée end of year gathering for Members with a potluck dinner & Installation of New Officers. Hosted by Joel Ramseyer in his Randolph, NJ home with a demo and tour of his 54 rank home Organ. Members are invited and encouraged to bring music to play! New officers for the upcoming term will be installed at this event. There is no charge for admission, however Chapter members are asked to bring a dish/drinks to share.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 7:30 p.m
GRACE COMMUNITY MUSIC GOES INTERNATIONAL!  LYRA, The Russian Vocal Ensemble of St. Petersburg presents music ranging from ancient songs of the Orthodox Church to works of little-known, but remarkable composers of the XVIII-XX centuries, as well as famous masters – Bortnjansky, Tchaikovsky, Tchesnokov, Gretchaninov,  Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and others.
Members of the Grace Church Adult Choir and School Choir II (6th grade and up) and Harmonium Choral Society will join them for the finale of the first half of the concert in a work by Rachmaninov.  The second half of the concert features the quartet, in traditional dress, performing lyric, dancing and ritual folk songs, including their own arrangements, and secular songs of Russian classics.
Grace Church
4 Madison Ave, Madison NJ 07940 – 973-377-0106

Sunday, September 16, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
The Cathedral Basilica Concert Series 2018-2019
Fiftieth Season of Concerts 
– A magnificent Cathedral Basilica…A world-class pipe organ…Timeless music…
Organ Recital with Christopher Houlihan – Program to include works by Bach, Schumann, Howells, and Vierne
Christopher Houlihan has established an international reputation as an “intelligently virtuoso musician” (Gramophone), hailed for his “glowing, miraculously life-affirming performances” (Los Angeles Times). He has appeared in recital at celebrated venues across North America and Europe, including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, Glasgow Cathedral in Scotland, and San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and Davies Symphony Hall.
Christopher Houlihan was appointed to the John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In addition to his studies at Trinity College, Houlihan studied with the Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School, where he earned a master’s degree, and with Jean-Baptiste Robin at the French National Regional Conservatory in Versailles.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ – 973-484-2400
Suggested donation – $15

Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3 p.m.
Brenda Arnold Day will play the dedicatory recital on the new Viscount organ in Saint Therese Church, Succasunna. The three manual, 52 stop organ was installed in May by Whitesel Organs of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and was voiced by Robert Darnall.  Ms. Day will be playing works by Bach, Buxtehude, Clerambault, Foote, and others, and closing the program with the monumental Prelude and Fugue on the Name ALAIN by Durufle.

Brenda Day is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.  She has studied organ with Donald McDonald, Allan Birney, William Whitehead, and Ruth Bittner.  Ms. Day is currently the Minister of Music and Organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Metuchen, NJ, where she is responsible for 4 singing choirs and 5 handbell choirs as well as a Lenten Concert Series.  She was recently honored by the church for 35 years in her position.   In addition to her duties at church, she is a busy accompanist in the NJ area as well as a piano and organ teacher.

A reception will follow the recital and there will be an open console.
Saint Therese Church
151 Main Street, Succasunna 07876.
For more information contact Anthony Celentano – 973.713.0996

Wednesdays At Noon at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
A series of half hour concerts featuring the great Schantz Organ in the gothic splendor of Newark’s Cathedral Basilica. Each recital is presented free-of-charge and is followed by an optional tour of the Cathedral.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at noon:  Miguel de Jesus, organist at St. Anne Church, Raritan, NJ
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at noon:  Marilyn Spesak, mezzo-soprano and Richard Nechamkin, piano
This concert takes place in the Cathedral Crypt, accessible via the entrance on Clifton Avenue.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at noon:  Colin MacKnight, organist at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at noon: Kirk Rich, organist at All Saints Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ – 973-484-2400
Free will offering.

Sunday, October 21, 2018, 4:00 p.m. 
Sacred Voices of the Cathedral presents Treasures and Favorites from Sacred Solo Repertoire including arias, duets, trios, and quartets.
Selections to be performed include works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Rossini, and Verdi by Theodore Chletsos, Sandra Mercado, Jorge Ocasio, Elizabeth Perryman, and Klára Zíková-English
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ – 973-484-2400
Suggested donation – $15

Sunday, October 28, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
Glen Ridge Community Concerts presents The Heimat Quartet.
Artist Diploma String Quartet-in-Residence at Cali School of Music, Montclair State University. All avid chamber musicians, each player brings a wide array of experience and renewed energy to both the music and the group. This past season saw them concertize in Hamburg, Germany; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Ecuador, South America. The quartet will have their Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall on March 4, 2019.  On the web at
Glen Ridge Congregational Church
195 Ridgewood Ave., Glen Ridge, NJ 07028. 973-743-5596 x26.
Admission: $20 Adults; $15 Seniors; $10 Students


The chapter newsletter is The Metro Mixtures and the Newsletter Editor is Patricia Woolley. She can be reached at

Issue Archive:

September 2015

October 2015 





The Membership Chairperson is Scott Jones. You may contact him via e-mail at



The Placement Chairperson is Chris Hatcher. To submit a position listing, please contact him via e-mail at


Christ Church New Brighton

Job Description For Music Director and Organist

The Music Director and Organist is called to provide the creative leadership for a music program that will encourage the congregation in worship that is vital, attractive and dignified. Under the leadership of the Rector, the Music Director and Organist serves as a pastor, educator, and principal musician of the parish. His/her pastoral concern for and counsel to all members of the choir and the parish are to exemplify the Christian spirit. As an educator, he/she will teach music and explain liturgical concepts. As a musician, he/she will be diligent in preparation and performance, and will cooperate with others to provide and enable the highest possible standard of worship in this parish, using organ and other musical instruments and genres at his/her disposal, e.g. Drums, steel pan, ukuleles, etc. This agreement is entered into with a spirit of cooperation and trust with the understanding that mutual respect and professionalism will be exercised in the execution of this position between Rector and Music Director/Organist.

Worship services are as follows:

Every Sunday, 10:00 a.m.: Choral Eucharist, Ash Wednesday: evening service, Holy Week services: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Thanksgiving Eve or Day

Periodic Sung Evensong as per calendar set by the Rector

Three (3) services in Christmas Season to be agreed upon between the Rector and Music Director and Organist

Support of Christ Church Community Youth Choir (CCCYC)

Other celebrations of ministry as needed from time to time.

Choir Rehearsals:

Every Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m., changed if necessary due to holidays, special services, etc. The Choir rehearses and sings in services mid-September through mid-June.

One hour after church and coffee hour each Sunday (usually noon – 1

p.m.) You are free to alter this schedule if mutually agreed to with the Choir.

The Organ

The organ is a three-manual, Moller four-division pipe organ in reasonable working condition. Significant work was done in 2000 – 2006.

The Music Director and Organist shall confer with the Rector to plan music for the worship services. These meetings shall be arranged as mutually convenient.

The Music Director and Organist shall present a listing of music chosen for each service to the Rector and Parish Administrator at least one week prior to each service to allow time for its inclusion in the published bulleting. The Music Director and Organist will be notified of all special services, meetings, etc. using the Sanctuary or Chapel so that he may plan practice times that do not interfere with them.

The Music Director and Organist shall be responsible for the choir library, and the musical instruments of the parish. He shall make necessary arrangements for the care of them, the cost of which is to be paid by the parish.

The Music Director and Organist shall be responsible for the employment of other musicians, such as choir members, instrumentalists, assistant organists, and substitutes. He shall also be involved with the Rector (or Wardens and Interim Pastor in the absence of a Rector) in the negotiation of any position descriptions, when appropriate.

The Music Director and Organist shall be responsible for the music budget of the parish, assuring that the financial resources allocated are sufficient for materials purchased and people hired. He shall provide appropriate information regularly to the Rector, Treasurer, and Vestry.

The Music Director and Organist will be given first opportunity to provide music for weddings, funerals and memorial services at Christ Church. He will be provided with dates and times of these services as far in advance as practical and will respond within one day regarding availability. Having accepted the responsibility of providing music for a special service, it shall become the Music Director and Organist’s commitment to find a suitable substitute if he cannot meet the obligation.

The Music Director and Organist shall be allowed to be absent from four Sunday services and four rehearsals as paid time off. This vacation time may not be taken during Advent or Holy Week, or on Christmas, Palm Sunday or Easter. If additional time is necessary due to an emergency, the Music Director and Organist shall provide and pay for a suitable substitute.


Christ Church offers a competitive compensation package including:

  • • Part-time Salary $17,000.00 – $20,000.00 annually.
  • • Paid vacation – Four (4) Sundays per year
  • • Travel at the current IRS rate. Travel must be documented and submitted for reimbursement and includes tolls, train fares, taxis etc. incurred in relation to the execution of your ministry.
  • • Will be open to negotiations based on experience.

Fees for all services not covered by this agreement will be as follows:

Weddings ($300), funerals and memorial services ($250) to be paid directly by the individual(s) who are making the arrangements with Christ Church. Rehearsals for any of the above: $75.00

If you are interested in this position please submit resume to the following email: on or before September 30th, 2018.

Employers and job seekers are invited to post and search listings of available positions on the Guild’s National Website.



As a chapter, we are committed to the certification process, which can be found in the July Issue of our national ‘house organ’ The American Organist.

We have members who have achieved certification in all of the programs offered, including: Service Playing, Colleague, Choir Master, Associateship and Fellowship. With our location in Central New Jersey, we are sometimes asked to accommodate candidates from surrounding chapters, and do so gladly. Certification chairman is Vince Carr. Contact him via e-mail at


Contact Us

Dean: Matthew Webb –
Sub-Dean: Gretchen Bilson –
Secretary: Eric Fahner –
Treasurer: Scott Jones –
Financial Advisor: Michael Newman –
Membership/Directory: Scott Jones –
Placement: Chris Hatcher –
Newsletter Editor: Patricia Woolley –
Publicity/Photographer: Beverly McGregor –
TAO Events Reporter: Beverly McGregor –
New Organist Committee: Vincent Carr –
Markey Scholarship: Linda Loria
Exam Coordinator: Vincent Carr –
Executive Board
Class of 2014-2018
Kristin Dabaghian
Peter Ncanywa+
Holland Jancaitis*
+Peter filling unexpired term of Matt Webb
*Holland filling unexpired term of Gretchen Bilson
Class of 2016-2020
Kathie Hegarty
Linda Loria
Joel Ramseyer

Member ex officio
Yvonne Sonnenwald-Melin



AGO National website