May 2017 AGO Chapter News

New London County, Conn. Jan. 29, the chapter hosted its 19th annual Children’s Choir Festival at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Niantic, Conn. Approximately 80 children and teenagers from eight area choirs performed, first as individual choirs, then in an enthusiastic combined choir directed by Jake Troy with piano accompanist Kathleen Bartkowski. Prelude, offertory, postlude, and hymns were played by John Anthony on the Fisk organ.
—Elizabeth Limkemann

Boston, Mass. Feb. 17, the chapter hosted a recital by Faythe Freese, professor of organ at the University of Alabama, at St. Cecilia’s Parish. Freese played the 52-rank Smith & Gilbert located in the gallery in works of Reger, Vierne, and the Boston premiere of The Freese Collection by Pamela Decker that was inspired by the artwork created by an Alabama artist known as Nall, a protégé of Salvador Dalí. As an encore, Freese played the Toccata in G Minor by Jonathan Orwig. A review of the recital by Geoffrey Wieting, writing in the Boston Musical Intelligencer, is posted online at The following day, Freese conducted a masterclass for nine organ students at Old South Church. Students from the organ studios of Libor Dudas, Chris Lane, and Peter Sykes participated.

—Claire DeCusati

Cape Cod and the Islands, Mass. Jan. 20, at a regular chapter meeting a semi-staged reading of the play The Old Organist (OHS Press, ed. Rollin Smith) was presented by four members of the chapter. The play, written by lesser-known playwright Henry Jones (1851–1929) in the late 19th century, is a somewhat whimsical comedy of manners about an “old” blind organist who has been relieved of his duties at a village church in England because of a drinking problem. His organ job has been given to a younger organist who is also a suitor for the daughter of the old organist. Through mistaken identities and a series of strident verbal exchanges, a compromise is finally reached. Members and their roles were: Maury A. Castro as the old organist; Dilys Smith as Frank Seaton, the young organist and suitor; Josette Goff as the daughter; and Joan Kirchner as the ever-present bailiff who tries valiantly to keep the old organist off the bottle. The performance, that began with several organist limericks, took place after a delicious potluck supper at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, Mass.

—Maury A. Castro

Binghamton, N.Y. Dec. 18, member Craig Johnson, organist and music director at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Endicott, N.Y., organized and conducted the second annual St. Andrew’s and Friends Christmas Concert. The program included a variety of vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles. Members Tim Wetherbee and Jean Herman Henssler provided solos and choral accompaniments on the organ. Other instruments utilized in the program included harp, mountain dulcimer, piano, recorder, finger cymbals, tambourine, and acoustic guitar. The program, interspersed with several Christmas Carols, was highlighted by a performance of Rutter’s Candlelight Carol sung by all the members of the chorus, with Jean Henssler accompanying. Johnson studied instrumental and choral performance at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pa., and at the North Carolina School for the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. • Feb. 11, the chapter held the second of two sessions featuring the new six-DVD set issued by Fugue State Films (FSF) entitled Max Reger: The Last Giant. FSF has again provided a superb retrospective regarding prominent historical musical figures, having already produced award-winning DVD sets on Cavaillé-Coll, Franck, and Widor. Reger is perhaps best known for his organ music, but like Widor and Bach, organ music comprised only a small fraction of his total body of work. Three of the six DVDs each contain a one-hour biographical documentary, while the other three are comprised of video performances of organ, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. In this session, attendees were shown the second and third of the three hour-long biographical documentary films on the life and works of Reger. To both cheers and tears, the program concluded with a 2005 recording on YouTube ( of the Fugue from Reger’s Chorale Fantasy: Hallelujah: Gott zu loben played by the late Jonathan Biggers. Biggers, who passed away last September at age 56, was, among many other things, a Reger specialist, who introduced our community to the beauty of Reger’s organ music.

—John Holt

Buffalo, N.Y. Feb. 18, two competitors played for an appreciative audience in the beginning round of the AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists. They played on the 1876 Hook & Hastings at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Cathedral in Buffalo. The event was hosted by Tim Socha, cathedral musician and chapter sub-dean. Awards were underwritten by a generous grant from Heritage Pipe Organ Company of Springville, N.Y. Abigail Rockwood-Puehn, David Bond, and Peter Gonciarz had the difficult job of judging the competition. First prize was awarded to Jiaqi Shao, a 19-year-old from Shanghai, China, who is in her sophomore year studying organ performance with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music. Her piano study began at age four and continued at the Music Middle School affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She enjoys improvising, composing, and studying pedagogy, and is a VanDelinder Fellow at Christ Church Episcopal in Rochester, N.Y. Second prize was awarded to Jonathan Denham of Glenville, N.Y. He is a 20-year-old sophomore at Houghton College, where he is pursuing a bachelor of music degree in organ performance. His teacher is Judy Congdon. Prior teachers have included Elinore Farnum and Scott Trexler. His piano study began at age six and organ study at 13. Jonathan is the organist at Cuba United Methodist Church and regularly performs in chapel services and choral and instrumental concerts at Houghton.

—Caryn Lawler

Rhode Island. Feb. 11, nearly 30 chapter members braved the foot-deep snow in the narrow streets of Providence’s historic Benefit Street district to attend David Enlow’s informative and superbly played masterclass, “Ways with Hymns: Harmonizations, Interludes and Improvisation,” at First Unitarian Church (a beautiful Federalist-period building; the parish is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. The organ is a III/45 Möller from 1967 in a classically-inspired caseless freestanding position in the church’s rear gallery). After a welcome by Dean John Brooks and host organist-director L. Frederick Jodry, Enlow launched into a lecture-demonstration of his approach to hymn improvisation. Starting with knowledge of one’s “home” instrument and its quirks and capabilities (“Resources vs. Deployment”), he continued with an assessment of existing books of reharmonizations (used verbatim, as a starting point for one’s own creativity, and chosen carefully), and moved on to the purposes, styles, and material on offer for hymn tune-based improvised preludes, interludes, and postludes. In demonstrating specific period techniques and styles, he improvised short pieces based on Conditor alme siderum (plainsong, early polyphony), Gaudeamus pariter (Renaissance “wind band” style), Westminster Abbey (Baroque orchestration/trumpet tune style), Austria (Classical-period textures), Eventide (19th-century chromatic and dynamic development), and Michael (20th-century expansive “English Cathedral” style with mixed meter). After a break for refreshments and fellowship in the choir room, we returned to the gallery for a session on “Improvising in a Can,” in which Enlow demonstrated the use of hymn tunes as basic material for a two-part bicinium, various possible accompaniment figurations, the chorale prelude styles of Buxtehude, Bach, Brahms, and Dupré, the slow movements of the Men-delssohn organ sonatas, and the toccata styles of Vierne and Dupré. The masterclass closed with a few rousing examples of canonic and fugal styles. Enlow’s engaging wit and superb musicianship were endearing to all.

—John Brooks

Central Maryland. Feb. 4, the chapter sponsored a workshop titled “Working with Young Voices.” The workshop was held at Evangelical Reformed UCC Church, Frederick. The chapter was privileged to have Judith DuBose as the clinician. DuBose is the artistic director and cofounder of the Frederick Children’s Chorus and a retired public school music teacher. She brought rehearsal techniques and vocal teaching techniques alive to the members gathered. Area church children’s choir directors as well as Frederick County elementary music teachers were also invited. Participants were delighted with the very hands-on presentation and ideas to take with them.

—Peggy Brengle

Mid-Shore Maryland. The chapter met at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Michaels, Md., on Feb. 25 to share favorite anthems and organ pieces with the group. We heard beautifully played music by four of our members, Richard Strattan, Bill Wharton, Dale Krider, and Dean Wes Lockfaw. Each shared his insights about the music and the composers. We enjoyed singing along with many of the pieces. In addition, the group was happy to welcome new member Barbara Brady, who is organist at St. Michaels Mission Church in Saint Michaels. Following the meeting we enjoyed fellowship and lunch at Chesapeake Landing Restaurant. It was a helpful educational event and we all went away gaining many new literature possibilities.
—Donna Barker

Northern New Jersey. “Hymn Improv: A Jazz Touch.” Twenty-five members of the chapter welcomed celebrated American jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist “Dr. Joe” Utterback to their February meeting. Utterback used handouts to help explain the intricacies of jazz applied to hymns and other church-related music. It was a fantastic night.
—Stewart Holmes
Pittsburgh, Pa. Feb. 17, the Organ Artists Series presented Simon Thomas Jacobs at St. Paul Cathedral on the 1962 96-rank Beckerath, restored by Taylor and Boody in 2008. Jacobs, winner of the 2013 St. Alban’s Competition, presented a program of mostly Baroque music, familiar and unfamiliar, and two works by contemporary Dutch composers. • Feb. 27, the chapter gathered at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church for its monthly dinner meeting and program. The host was Joyce Moon Strobel. The program, “Luther and Bach,” was to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther’s theses. Leaders were Philip Pfatteicher, retired Lutheran pastor (“Luther’s Theology of Music”); Donald O. Franklin, professor emeritus of musicology, University of Pittsburgh (“A Musico-Theological reading of Cantata 38 from Old to New Adam”); Sara Ruhle Kyle, moderator and commentator; and Stephen Schall, organist. Franklin directed and Schall accompanied the members singing three chorales in German from the original notation. Schall then played Bach’s settings of the chorales from the Neumeister Collection and the Clavierübung III. There were also two excel-
lent handouts.
—J. Barbara McKelway

Southeastern Pennsylvania. Feb. 18, members of the chapter took a DVD tour of the great Wanamaker organ at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Drexel Hill. Curt Mangel, the curator
of the Wanamaker organ, and Michael Barone, host of Pipedreams, hosted a tour of the 29,000 pipes, including areas not safe to take visitors. Lunch followed the virtual tour.
—Nancy Brown

Charlottesville-Albemarle, Va. Feb. 4, the chapter hosted a Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event for children in middle school. A small but enthusiastic group of children, in addition to several interested parents and helpful volunteers, attended the program led by members Ted Bickish and Roger Daggy. The first stop was at First Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro where the children were able to explore and play on the 1893 Woodberry & Harris organ relocated by Andover Organ Company in 1986. Then everyone walked over to First Baptist Church to see the 1960s Austin. The event concluded with a showing of the movie Pulling Out All the Stops followed by a pizza lunch. —Alice Layman

Richmond, Va. Feb. 7, the chapter’s monthly meeting featured a program on the book of Psalms presented by the Rev. Dr. Melody Knowles, acting dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, whose academic interests include historic traditions within the Psalter, women’s use of the Psalms, and ancient religious practices. Sarah Beck-Berman, clergy intern and cantorial soloist at Congregation Beth Ahabah, Richmond, sang Psalm 133 in Hebrew to two tunes from the Ashkenazi and Iraqi traditions, and spoke on versions of the psalm and tunes to which they were sung. Joel Kumro, choirmaster and organist of St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, sang Psalm 146 to the Gregorian Graduale Romanum setting and spoke of versions and tunes. Sub-dean Tom Bailey accompanied two hymns, “New songs of celebration render” to Rendez à Dieu, and “O praise ye the Lord!” to Laudate Dominum, playing the 1905 Adam Stein organ at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond. —William Van Pelt

Winchester, Va. Feb. 27, a Clergy-Musician Dinner was held at Wesley United Methodist Church with Dr. Heather Ankerbrand hosting. There were four guest speakers, the Rev. Dr. Jack Martin, the Rev. Joanna Deitz, Wendy Oesterling, and Marcia Merry Baker. After dinner the group broke into three sessions: Choirs (adult, children, handbells), Global Contemporary Music, and Saving Money. Martin, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, led the discussion on choirs. He holds both BM and MM degrees in piano performance, and entered a DMA program prior to undertaking seminary studies. As a composer and conductor he founded choral organizations, including the Manassas Chorale, now an auditioned ensemble of more than 100 voices. He is a member of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving as senior pastor for large churches within the conference, including Annandale United Methodist Church. He also served as a district superintendent. The Rev. Joanna Deitz, a graduate of Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, and Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C., led the discussion on Global Contemporary Music. She has served as music director for several churches, as well as a music teacher in the Fairfax County School System. Most recently, she has been the music director for the Virginia Annual Conference, designing all worship services for the June sessions. Wendy Oesterling, a chapter member who is serving as the director of development for Bethania Kids, graduated from Kodaikanal School and is a church musician serving Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg. Her experience includes working in sales and marketing for 25 years and teaching high school music for the past 13 years. In addition, she has been managing director and artistic director for choral ensembles. She is the director of the Piedmont Singers. Marcia Merry Baker has been choir director and organist at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Leesburg since 2000. Before that, she was at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Sterling. She is a graduate of the Church Music Institute and active in community music. A part-time church musician, her full-time pro bono activity is promoting development and peace policy. Her latest project was producing the book The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge (2013). Oesterling and Baker led the discussion on Saving Money.
—Gloria Harris

Central Florida. In November, the chapter presented an Organ Crawl Concert on three large pipe organs in Lakeland, Fla. Lakeland is one of the fastest growing cities in the western part of the chapter, and with its growth, new pipe organs have sprung up in the city. The venues were First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, and College Heights United Methodist Church. Chapter members Josiah Armes, David Bellows, Matthew Corl, Thomas Ingui, Michael Petrosh, Timothy Smith, and Scott Ziegler presented an eclectic program of
exciting organ repertoire. The evening concluded with a gourmet dinner at the historic Terrace Hotel Grille. The Terrace Hotel opened in 1924 and was restored in 1998. It was a favorite of Henry Ford, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Sinatra in its heyday. • In January, the chapter presented its annual Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event, hosted by Morrison United Methodist Church in Leesburg. Guild members David Bellows, Cynthia Curtis, and Timothy Smith presented the program explaining the history, science, and music of the organ to an enthusiastic group of young students. All of the students had an opportunity to play electropneumatic, tracker, and digital organs at Morrison UMC and St. James Episcopal Church. Parsons Pipe Organ Builders generously supplied gift bags containing organ CDs and literature about the organ to all participants. Students had such a good time trying the organs out that they were late to lunch. —David Bellows and
John Reilly

Sarasota-Manatee, Fla. Jeremy Filsell and Dexter Kennedy were featured in two January concerts cosponsored by the chapter. Filsell and soprano Rebecca Kellerman presented French music including Vierne, Duruflé, Franck, and Dupré at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key, in Sarasota Jan. 13. Kennedy, recent winner of the 24th Concours International d’Orgue de Chartes, performed Bach, Langlais, Franck, Smyth, Duruflé, Pierné, and Reubke at Christ Episcopal Church in Bradenton Jan. 24. For an additional treat, members and friends enjoyed a hearty lunch together with Filsell and Kellerman as guests Jan. 12. It was a welcome opportunity to socialize and enjoy a question and answer session with the artists. —Nancy Siebecker

Tampa, Fla. Feb. 19, Chase Loomer, a junior at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., presented a recital on the Fisk at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tampa. The recital was sponsored by the chapter under the leadership of Michael Hunter, dean. Chase was awarded first prize in the AGO/
Quimby Southeast RCYO and has been a prizewinner at several other competitions throughout the region, including the Columbia and Winston-Salem AGO competitions.
—Richard Ferlita
Atlanta, Ga. The February meeting of the chapter was held at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer hosted by Sarah Hawbecker, organist and director of children’s music. After a wonderful catered dinner, the chapter presented Yinying Luo in recital on the III/73 Létourneau. Luo’s program included works by Men-
delssohn, Alain, Bach, Franck, Thalben-Ball, and Chelsea Chen. Chen’s suite Moon Lady was performed with Chen narrating. Luo is currently organist at First Presbyterian Church, Santa Barbara, Calif. She holds the BA degree from Agnes Scott College and an MM degree in organ performance from the Juilliard School. Yinying has studied with Calvert Johnson and Paul Jacobs. She was the Atlanta chapter scholarship recipient in 2015 and the first recipient of the Founder’s Prize created to commemorate the chapter’s centennial anniversary. —Don Land

Augusta, Ga. Feb. 2, the chapter and St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, Aiken, S.C., presented a concert featuring the treble choristers of St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, New York. This program was originally scheduled for October, but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Matthew. • Feb. 17 and 18, the chapter along with the South Carolina Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts sponsored a Hymn Festival with John Walker, past president of the AGO, at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Aiken, S.C. The choir of approximately 60 persons, comprised of St. John’s Chancel Choir and guests from both the chapter and the fellowship, was directed by member Christopher Nash. Walker’s Hymn Festival was arranged by the chapter after winning the event with the highest bid in the National AGO Silent Auction last summer. A large audience was present for the festival, which consisted of scripture readings and hymns. Each hymn was treated with Walker’s expert introductions, interludes, and improvisations. The following morning, Walker presented a two-hour workshop on hymn playing for both groups. During the second hour of the workshop, four of the attendees each played a hymn for him to critique and offer suggestions on technique and registration. The two-day workshop also featured choral reading sessions, two of which were presented by chapter member John Wilson, AAGO, ChM. —David Salter

Savannah, Ga. Feb. 12, the chapter held its semiannual Clergy-Musician Banquet at a local restaurant (Timothy Hall, coordinator). The guest speaker for the event was the Rev. Barbara Day Miller, retired dean of worship and music of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Miller’s message, “We Need Each Other’s Voices,” encouraged mutual support and collaboration among clergy and musicians. —Justin L. Addington

Jackson, Miss. Feb. 19, the chapter’s 31st Annual Choral-Organ Festival was held at Fondren Presbyterian Church in Jackson. The program began with a short organ recital by David Harrison. His program included the Prelude on St. Anne by C.H.H. Parry and Bach’s Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552. Additional program selections included a chorale prelude by Bach, Harrison’s original congregational hymn arrangement of “Amazing Grace,” and Bridge’s Allegro comodo. The organist for the last part of the program was Amy Lauren Jones. She began the second portion of the recital by playing her arrangement of the congregational hymn “We Are One in the Spirit.” Laurence Albert, bass-baritone, and Jones then performed recitatives and arias from Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and movements of Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion to close the program. Albert is a native of Memphis and teaches voice at Tougaloo College in Jackson. Jones is completing her master’s degree at Mississippi College in Clinton, and is organist at Fondren Presbyterian. Harrison holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College and a master’s degree from Indiana University. He currently resides in Kingsport, Tenn. Both Jones and Harrison have been associated with the chapter through the years. We also welcomed local artist Laurence Albert to showcase how the organ can be used as an effective accompaniment to vocal solos. The Krummhorn on Fondren’s Zimmer neo-Baroque organ was especially useful in the accompaniment of the selections from Bach’s Passions. —Barbara Tracy

Central North Carolina. Feb. 18, the chapter held its annual Cooper-Miller Scholarship auditions at Church of the Nativity in Raleigh. Jason Pace was host organist and Lorraine Magnuson, Cooper-Miller Scholarship chair, scheduled the day’s events. The 2017 Scholarship winner is 15-year-old Joshua Sobel, a student at Enloe High School, Raleigh. The prize consists of a check for $1,000 and a two-year membership in the Guild. He will spend part of his prize attending the POE this summer in Hartford, Conn. Joshua’s audition pieces were Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 553, by J.S. Bach, Prelude in Classic Style by Gordon Young, and the hymn tune Foundation prepared for congregational singing. At his audition Joshua was surprised by one of the judges when asked to improvise on a hymn, including key changes. Joshua’s response was, “What key would you like?” which was followed by a very pleasing rendition. Joshua’s teachers are John Hermann, piano, and Josh Dumbleton, organ. His practice time is limited only by school and homework as he has had a 1970s I/4 Laukhuff in his home since 2010. His spare time is spent in a flight simulator as he aspires to obtain his pilot’s license.
—Lee Harris

Fayetteville-Sandhills Area, N.C. Feb. 11, the chapter held a Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines, N.C., hosted by Homer Ferguson, organist and choirmaster. Twenty participants enjoyed the opportunity to play the new Fisk and climb inside the pipe chamber. Piping at the Circus, a Margaret Sandresky organ demonstrator, was performed by Marcia Heirman Mervin and narrated by Elizabeth Jordan. Stephen Gourley fascinated the attendees with a performance of the Vierne Final. All enjoyed gourmet pizza and great music.
—Marcia Heirman Mervin

Northeastern North Carolina. Feb. 12, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Edenton Baptist Church, the church and the chapter joined forces to present Adam Ward, organist-director at Providence United Methodist Church, Charlotte, in recital. He conducted a Festival of Hymns from the Austin console that included choirs from Edenton Baptist, Edenton United Methodist, and St. Paul’s Episcopal churches singing from the rear gallery and two side galleries. Readings were taken from Susan Palo Cherwien’s book Crossings. Ministers participating included the Revs. David Brooks, Malone Gilliam, and Patrick Cardwell. Organ voluntaries were by Craig Phillips, Geer, and Karg-Elert.
—Rodney Trueblood
Wilmington, N.C. Feb. 21, the chapter met at Grace United Methodist Church. Award-winning choral director Jerry Cribbs, director of music ministries at the church, presented a program on leading choirs. Cribbs led attendees in a mock choral rehearsal to demonstrate his techniques for working with singers. A lively question and answer session followed. Judy Siebold, Grace UMC organist, served as accompanist for the program.
—Sara Bryant

Charleston, S.C. Jan. 6, the annual Epiphany party actually happened on Epiphany this year. Members gathered at the festively decorated club room of Dockside Condominium for an evening of food and drink, hosted by Robert Gant and William Gudger. • Jan. 26, Grace Church Cathedral hosted the chapter for dinner and a program presented by Nigel Potts, master of the music at Grace. Presiding at the 1952/1997/2000/2009 Reuter (IV/79), Mr. Potts introduced examples of English organ music from the 19th and 20th centuries, music often neglected by American organists. Most of the major composers were represented, and played splendidly by Mr. Potts. —Edmund LeRoy

Greater Columbia, S.C. Feb. 11, the chapter presented a masterclass with clinician Laura Ellis, professor of music at the University of Florida and three-term AGO Councillor for the Southeast Region. Ellis began the session by discussing “How to Use Your Time on the Bench Effectively—the Difference Between Playing and Practicing.” Organists Amy Craig and Greg Stone (students of David Lowry), and Joe Setzer and William Douglas (students of Jared Johnson), performed on the mechanical-action 27-rank Andover at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (hosts Susan Sturkie and Jim Johnson). Following the morning session, the group of 25 members enjoyed a soup and sandwich lunch prepared by Jim Johnson with donations going to support the upcoming Young Organist Competition that took place on March 11 in Columbia. Now in its seventh year, this event that began as a local competition now attracts high school organ students from all over the nation.
—Frances Webb
Memphis, Tenn. Jan. 13, Barry Oliver and Idlewild Presbyterian Church hosted a recital presented by Walter Hilse playing Cou-
perin, Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor, and his own variations on Yigdal. The next day, Mr. Hilse presented a masterclass offering constructive criticism and historical background on each piece played by chapter members. His helpful hints for taking certification exams were well received. Participants included John Palmer, Carolyn Mason, Barry Oliver, Kelly Kramer, Marc Ceresier, Dennis Janzer, Phil Brown, and Karen Strawhecker. Both events were funded by the Billy Christian Fund—Mr. Christian having been a longtime organist and choirmaster of Idlewild Church. —Ty Legge

Nashville, Tenn. A festival of hymns for the church year titled “Blow Ye the Trumpet in Zion” was the February program, cosponsored by the chapter and St. George’s Episcopal Church, and directed by Richard Webster. Joining him in presenting the program were the St. George’s Choir, brass and timpani of the Nashville Symphony, and Gerry Senechal, associate director of music and organist. Woosug Kang, director of music, presented the closing voluntary.
—Rhonda Swanson

Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia. Sept. 20, the chapter held its yearly opening convocation at Mountain View United Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tenn. After the gathering meal, various chapter members led the service. Music was provided by member Chris Neal, resident organist, flutist Martha Egan, and member pianist, composer, and vocalist Robert Greene, who played and sang his composition “Open My Eyes, that I May See,” an arrangement of the famous hymn by Clara H. Scott (1895), as the prayer of illumination. The Rev. Sam Ward, pastor, presented an enthusiastic homily emphasizing the importance of the roles of music and musicians in worship.
—Joan Keith

Chicago, Ill. Feb. 10, the chapter presented award-winning international artist Chelsea Chen. The dynamic young organist and composer captivated her audience with a diverse program that included her signature composition, Taiwanese Suite, and the Chicago debut of her Chorale-Prelude on Bethold. The concert was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Plaines, and hosted by chapter board member and Trinity’s cantor Brad Whaley. This was the first program in which the chapter engaged the services of a media publicist to reach a wider audience.
—Steven Betancourt

Evansville, Ind. Feb. 11, the chapter sponsored its annual Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event on the campus of the University of Evansville. Participants were able to try out several instruments by Fisk, Holtkamp, and Noack.
—Helen Skuggedal Reed

Grand Rapids, Mich. Feb. 20, the chapter presented a members’ recital featuring music of Bach, Bolcom, Hewitt-Jones, Mardi-
rosian, Sandresky, and Widor. Performers included Matt Sandgren, Chris Dekker, David Heinze, Rhonda Sider Edgington, Eric Strand, and Helen Hofmeister Hawley.
—Peter Kurdziel

Greater Lansing, Mich. Feb. 19, the chapter presented its Pops Concert as a fund-raiser for the organ scholarship program.
It was held at the First United Methodist Church in Lansing. The performance was a glorious variety of organ, organ plus instrument, piano, choral, and other instrumental offerings. Our two organ scholars were featured in addition to the church’s handbell choir. An unexpectedly warm day in February brought out an enthusiastic audience who enjoyed a wonderful afterglow reception. We wish to thank the Pops Concert committee, Susanne Hoekzema, Brian Fowler, and Darlene Greenman-Ross, for their organization of a very fine event. —Barbara Hiranpradist

Muskegon-Lakeshore, Mich. Feb. 18, over 60 handbell ringers participated in “Ringing in the Round” at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Mus-
kegon. The ringers were representative of six choirs within the Western Michigan area. Each choir prepared a piece of its choosing and the combined choirs rang two anthems under the direction of Sharlene Bourdon, music director of the church. More than 75 people were in attendance for the program.
—Eileen Hoogterp

Lima, Ohio. For 30 years the chapter has presented a musical option before the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon. This year we were hosted by Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Lima where members played a newly updated IV/103 Schantz now equipped with solid-state relays and MIDI capabilities.
—Sandy K. Miller

Central Iowa. Each year, members of the chapter stir up their best recipes and gather for the chapter’s Twelfth Night party, where the close of the holiday season and the beginning of the new year are celebrated with good food and good friends. This year’s party took place on Epiphany, Jan. 6, at the home of Karma Cahill in Ankeny, Iowa. The chapter has a far-flung membership with some members traveling 60 miles or more to attend chapter events. —Bev Duffy

Twin Cities, Minn. Feb. 25, the chapter hosted a Pipe Organ Discovery Day that provided students an opportunity to learn more about the pipe organ and expand their knowledge with hands-on experience. The event was free to participants, and included a pizza lunch. Curious learners of all ages were also welcomed. Students played the Casavant at St. Louis, King of France Church in St. Paul, learned more about Pipedreams as they toured the Minnesota Public Radio headquarters including an editing demonstration in the studio where the program is produced, and played the Steer & Turner at Central Presbyterian Church. To better understand the instrument, short classes about how the pipe organ works and its history were included. This was our best-attended event ever: 24 students plus 15 parents, teachers, and interested adults. Many positive responses were received from students and parents. In addition to the increased publicity by the chapter this year, we also thank Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul for running articles in their newsletter that attracted several interested adults who wanted to learn more about the organ. Members volunteering were Brian Carson, Jennifer Anderson, Michael Barone, Joe Trucano, Margaret Gohman, Kirsten Uhlenberg, Bjorn Gustafson, Carsten Slostad, Sarah Garner, Jeremy Haug, and Phil Asgian.
—Philip Asgian

Greater Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 20, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Kansas City, Mo., (Thomas Vozzella, music director) hosted the chapter Schola Cantorum in a choral and organ program of “Mendelssohn Musik.” Jackson Thomas and Sara McClure were guest conductors of the choral ensemble in addition to Schola Director Anthony Maglione (director of choral studies at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.). Sub-dean Stephanie Henry (interim director of music at Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City) is organist and rehearsal accompanist for the ensemble. String quintet members were violinists Keith Stanfield and Eric Williams, violist Ashley Stanfield, cellist Trilla Ray-Carter, and double bassist Johnny Hamil. Vocal soloists included sopranos Kirsten Hyde, Breanne Jeffries, and Lauren Stafford, altos Sara Chesselow and Natalie LaMer, tenors Langston Hemmenway, Matthew LaMer, and Anthony Maglione, and basses Brad Cutcliffe and Jeff Hon. Additional members of the Schola Cantorum were sopranos Sara McClure and Niccole Murray, altos Christina Cutcliffe, Gayle Hathorne, Rebecca Kean, Alexis Lower, and Madeilin Martin, tenors John French, John Schaefer, and Jackson Thomas, basses Dale Bolyard, Paul Erickson, Doug Fishel, and John Ross. Solo organists were Paul Erickson (director of music and arts for Parkville Presbyterian Church of Parkville), Nicholas Good, CAGO (assistant director of traditional worship for Christ Church Anglican of Overland Park, Kans.), Ronald Krebs (vice president for the Reuter Organ Company), Paul Meier (director of music for Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of Kansas City), and John Schaefer (canon musician emeritus from Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of Kansas City).
—Norm Kinnaugh

St. Louis, Mo. The chapter soaked in a unique choral and organ reading session sponsored by MorningStar Music for its February meeting. The evening began with a shared meal at Hope United Church of Christ in the Francis Park neighborhood of St. Louis Hills. We were hosted in style, thanks to their music director, chapter member Jim Threlkeld, who invited us to enjoy their lovely space and the sounds of their Harrison and Harrison. New MorningStar organ publications in a variety of styles were showcased by members Travis Evans, Andrew Peters, Heather Martin Cooper, Shawn Portell, David Erwin, Brent Johnson, and Mark Scholtz. Recently published choral compositions were performed by a twelve-voice Schola of the Church of St. Michael and St. George, under the direction of Robert Lehman, and accompanied by Nick Bideler. The evening was woven together through commentary by MorningStar president Mark Lawson. Other MorningStar staff shared their gifts through the presentation, including composer Kevin Uppercue and a previous dean, Chuck Peery. This evening of skillful performance of quality sacred compositions offered ways to build and strengthen music ministries of those in attendance.
—Dawn Riske

Madison, Wis. Feb. 25, members of the chapter visited the Fulcher-Scidmore Sacred Music Lending Library, currently located in the choir room of Rock Prairie Presbyterian Church near Janesville. The collection was established in 1949 as the Louise Fulcher Memorial Library and was originally held by University of Wisconsin–Extension, then moved to various other sites before being housed at Rock Prairie Presbyterian. The library consists mainly of choral music, from simple anthems to larger choral works. Most are SATB, but there are works in other voicings as well. A shelf full of organ music is also part of the collection. Pianos are available for those who wish to play through a piece of music before checking it out. Access to the library may be gained by contacting the church office. The possibility of scanning the music online is being discussed, so that one could examine a piece of music without physically being at the library. This collection is beneficial for those with limited music budgets, as well as those seeking copies of out-of-print music. Jackie Davis is librarian for the collection and, although she was unavailable on the day chapter members visited, Bill Davis was present to welcome chapter members and show them the library.
—Naomi Matthees

Denver Rocky Mountain. Jan. 15–21, the chapter hosted an Organ Open House Week featuring many instruments in a variety of residential locations. A special high point, literally, of the tour was an ascent of 150 feet up the Williams Tower of the University of Denver (elev. 5,387 feet) to the console cabin of the Carl M. Williams Carillon and the stunning view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Carol Jickling Lens (Guild of Carillonneurs of North America) demonstrated the instrument, the 11th largest by weight in North America. The home of Denise (FAGO) and John Lanning featured a custom-made organ by Conifer, Colo., organbuilder Charles M. Ruggles, Opus 15 (2015). Mr. Lanning contributed hours of work at the Ruggles studio as well as the walnut wood for the organ case from a family concern in Iowa. The home of Norm Sutphin displays a 1936 Möller Artiste, the installation completed by Shaun Sanders of Houston just the day before the tour. John Ellis opened his home to display a two-rank instrument he designed and built himself. The home of Linda and Edward Mack with its cathedral ceiling and loft allowed viewers to look down upon the four-rank H. Ronald Poll (Salt Lake City) organ for a unique listening experience “from on high.” The largest home organ was the nine-rank Henk Klop (Netherlands) in the home of Mark Alan Filbert and Thomas Strickland. The home of Joyce (FAGO) and Stewart Kull offered a look into the latest digital technology with the four-manual Johannus digital organ, Rembrandt 497. The Kull home also contains three harpsichords built by Stewart Kull and a clavichord built by Stephen Dilts (2003). Gwen and Gary Blumenschein treated tour participants to “a proper English tea” with, among other delights, warm scones fresh from a local bakery. The Allen MDS 16 is equipped with several selections from the Hauptwerk collection of organs, and the home contains a Willard Martin harpsichord and two grand pianos, Mason & Hamlin and Steinway, located side-by-side where the Blumenscheins enjoy playing duos. The spacious home of David and Cindy Vogels, expanded around an original design by Frank Lloyd Wright, houses a three-rank J.W. Walker practice organ. Harpsichords, player pianos, and many other instruments graced the homes of tour hosts, and I would be remiss in not mentioning the insights into the personalities and interest of our hosts revealed by their homes: the Vogel residence adjacent to the Andover Morgan Horse Farm, owned and operated by the Vogels, the artwork in homes including a specially woven rug based on a design in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” (home of Ed and Linda Mack), and special talents in cooking offered to guests (John Lanning’s delicious cookies with chunks of candy orange slices). Special thanks to chapter member Denise Moore for the many hours spent arranging the venues on the tour.
—Samuel Chizmar

Southern Arizona. Feb. 10, James David Christie performed works by Bach, Buxtehude, Sweelinck, Vivaldi, and others on the Paul Fritts organ (II/22, 2012) at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Tucson. • Feb. 11, Christie gave a masterclass at St. Alban’s sponsored by the chapter. Students Joel Pierce, Alexander Meszler, and Karen Taylor played music by Bach and Clérambault. Christie shared insights about registration, tempo, articulation, ornaments, and much more with the students, their teachers, and members of the chapter and congregation.
—Stephen Keyl
Central Coast, Calif. Oct. 23, the chapter presented a program titled “Jazzing It Up,” designed to present music from the early part of the 20th century. Those who wished to do so were invited to wear period costumes. The beautiful 1922 sanctuary at First United Methodist in Santa Maria was perfect for this program. Highlighting the program was accompaniment to the 1908 silent film The Haunted House performed by member Katya Gotsdiner-McMahan. Also on the program were “The Entertainer,” “Dizzy Fingers,” a sing-along of old favorites, “The Japanese Sandman,” selections by Central Gold Coast Quartet, William Bolcom’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” and the “Rusty Pail Blues” performed by members Jed Beebe, William Woods, Louise Frye, Dawn Russ, Betty Hansen, Kathleen Hacker, and Greg Riley. Leonard Lutz led the singing and Kathy Wilding planned the program. The audience was very appreciative of this free program and new friends were made. —Kathy Wilding

Palomar, Calif. Feb. 19, Wei-
cheng Zhao, organist, and his wife, Fang Gao, violinist, presented a fabulous concert to a large audience at the Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe. The unique program included solo organ works Revelations of Saint John the Divine for organ and tape by Larry King, and Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20 by Dupré. Together the couple played a sonata by Jean-Marie Leclair accompanied on harpsichord, and lovely Chinese cultural pieces that they transcribed for violin and organ. Weicheng is a doctoral student of Cherry Rhodes at USC, and this past summer won both third prize and audience prize at the NYACOP in Houston. Fang recently received a graduate certificate of performance in Baroque violin at USC. The performers received a well-deserved standing ovation! —Bonnie Rex

Ventura County, Calif. The chapter held its annual organ crawl on Martin Luther King Day. The group traveled north by bus to the first stop at Carpinteria Community Church that houses a 1969 rebuild of a 1928 Aeolian. Several members of the group were able to play the organ and experiment with the stops. The second stop was the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church in Solvang. Its 40-rank organ was purchased from First Baptist Church in Long Beach and trans-
ported to Solvang. The new 650-seat sanctuary with its two large stained glass windows was designed specially to house the 2,500 pipes of the organ. Several members of the Santa Barbara chapter joined us as we had lunch at Brother’s Restaurant at the Red Barn in Santa Ynez. Our third stop was at St. Mark’s in the Valley Episcopal Church, Los Olivos. Several members again had an opportunity to play the Schoenstein and view inside the organ chamber. The final stop was the Cate School in Carpinteria with its fully unenclosed 1961 Casavant. Although the pipe works were impressive the console was not in working order, so we were not able to fully explore the organ. The trip itself took us through several mountain passes with gorgeous mountain views of the ocean and the cities of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Everyone who participated in the crawl thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
—Ivan Shobe

Salt Lake City, Utah. Feb. 4, members from the Salt Lake and Utah Valley chapters attended a special event on hymn introductions and last verses at the historic Granite Tabernacle on its III/21 George Kilgen & Sons. David Chamberlin, an organist, organbuilder, and composer, shared selections from his Introductions, Last Verses and More for Special Occasions. He offered insights into his creation process, and ideas on ways to improvise on and embellish hymns to add color and give them more meaning. Members enjoyed David’s enthusiasm for hymn playing at this wonderful event.
—Becky Ázera
Seattle, Wash. The Seattle and Tacoma chapters met jointly on Jan. 22 at Epiphany Parish of Seattle (Episcopal) to experience the new Pasi Opus 25 in the chapel. Music Director Tom Foster explained the chapel remodel project, his associate, Tim Drewes, demonstrated stops of the new organ, and the organbuilder, Martin Pasi, also spoke about the project. We then moved to the nave, where Foster explained the recent project to remove sound-absorbent ceiling material. Drewes then demonstrated Noack Opus 132 in the improved acoustics. The event ended with refreshments and open console time on both of these fine organs. — David Lepse

Tacoma, Wash. Feb. 11, the Tacoma and Olympia chapters partnered for a daylong introduction to two of Olympia’s noteworthy organs. Featured were the Fritts-Richards Opus 3 (1983) at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, and the Schlicker (1967) at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Lunch provided an opportunity for both chapters’ members to enjoy good food and fellowship. Mark Brombaugh demonstrated the versatility of the Fritts-Richards with works by Rheinberger, Buxtehude, and Bach, plus two anonymous English trumpet tunes and a work by contemporary composer David Dahl. Paul Fritts provided a historical background of the instrument. The Schlicker at St. John’s was purchased from Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle in 2015 and is currently being installed. Curt Sather provided a history of the building and its previous organs, and performed Bach’s Partita on Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig, BWV 768. A lively conversation about optimal organ placement in the sanctuary followed the demonstration.
—Satya Jaech

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