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||David Enlow, Dean
From the Dean
We have, at the time of writing, just finished
the Presidents’ Day conference. This
year was one to remember, with snow and cold
proving no obstacle to 100-something in attendance.
Gundula Kreuzer, suddenly ill, was replaced
by the magnificent Sylvia Kahan, who introduced
many of us to the salon of Winaretta Singer,
Princesse de Polignac, for the first time;
our own Sebastian Glück lectured with
the utmost care on the French organ between
the Revolutionary and Romantic periods and
its transition; distinguished member Matthew
Lewis gave us a glimpse inside his teaching
studio; and two performances by the eminent
performers Renée Anne Louprette and
Jeremy Filsell took the mighty Mander through
its paces. The organ, having been both heated
and air-conditioned for the preceding 24-hours
due to a techno-mechanical fault, gave a
very fine account of itself nonetheless.
One thing I have noticed at NYC AGO events
is the nice atmosphere and welcoming nature
of the membership. All of you who were present
are to be congratulated, those of you who
might have reached out to make an introduction,
to speak to someone new to the chapter, or
simply to applaud those who presented and
organized the conference. Keep up the good
work, everyone! James Kennerley, Sub-Dean
extraordinaire, is much to be congratulated
on having organized a great day for the pipe
organ and its local practitioners.
Our next program is the Pedals, Pipes & Pizza
event, coordinated by my wife Loraine. This
is a wonderful event to acquaint children
with the organ — please, if you have
a children’s group or choir, let them
know about it. The PP&P portion of the
event is open only to children and their
parents. It is followed, however, by a recital
from our competition winner (and my organ
scholar) Colin MacKnight, which is open to
all. He was a great hit at the convention
in New Haven; if you missed that, here’s
your chance to make it up, and to hear the
mighty Schoenstein of St. James’, Madison
The report of our Nominating Committee is
to be found later in this issue of the newsletter.
The committee, under Dr. John T. King, chair,
has nominated the existing officers to an
unopposed slate in their current positions,
as each is eligible to serve for another
term. The committee has also put forward
eight candidates for membership on the board,
six of whom will fill the class of 2018 members-at-large.
A group of five or more members in good standing
may also nominate an additional candidate
or candidates for any of the open positions,
according to our procedures, which are available
on the chapter website. John King and his
committee have tried to make the nomination
process as open, welcoming, and transparent
as possible, and I am most grateful. The
election will take place after April 1st,
by electronic means.
The best recent news from your chapter board
is that the inaugural Distinguished Career
Award has been awarded unanimously by the
executive board to Diane Bish. Perhaps the
most visible organist in the world, known
to many through her television series The
Joy of Music, and an inspiration to countless
organists of all ages, Miss Bish does the
AGO an honor by accepting the first-ever
award. The award will be presented at her
recital at the Marble Collegiate Church on
It’s a wonderful month for NYC AGO!
Please accept my best wishes for all you
do, and I hope to see you at our events!
Upcoming Chapter Events
|Colin MacKnight, winner of the Chapter's
2015 competition, will give an organ recital on Saturday,
March 12 at 5:00
PM as part of our Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event. The
recital is free and open to all.
The Chapter will hold a Pedals,
Pipes & Pizza event on
Saturday, March 12 from 3 PM at St. James'
Church, Madison Avenue (Dr. Davis Wortman,
Students from the Juilliard School will demonstrate the many
facets of the pipe organ, from the thousands of pipes that
make up the instrument, to the five different sets of keys
(including one for the feet alone!) that are played by a single
The event starts at 3:00 PM and finishes at 5:30 PM. We
will start with a tour of the pipe organ, play games related
music, and then everyone gets to have a try at playing the
instruments! After a break for pizza, we will have a special
performance by the 2015 NYCAGO competition winner Colin MacKnight.
If you or someone you know has children aged 9 and over that
would be interested in participating, please
email the chair, Loraine Enlow at firstname.lastname@example.org (or by
clicking here) to
register. Please include their name, age, musical/keyboard
experience, and emergency contact info. St. James' Church is
located at 865 Madison Avenue at 71st Street. Click
here for directions.
Feel free to forward this message to anyone you think may
Click here to download
the PDF flyer.
The final chapter event of the year will be a dinner
with special guest Dr. David Hurd on Monday, May 23. We are
close to confirming the final details for the dinner and will
communicate those as soon as possible.
The Executive Board wishes to express thanks
to those who contributed very generously when renewing their
Bishop John O'Hara
Many of the above and others contributed to Pipedreams and
Pipe Organ Encounters. We pass Pipedreams gifts on to WQXR,
and record and retain the POE funds for Chapter use in the
Christopher Babcock, Treasurer
of the Month
I'm with Pete.
From the Registrar
2015-16 NYC Chapter Directories have arrived! If your membership
was current as of November 28, 2015, you should have already
received your copy in the mail. If you joined or renewed since
that date, contact Registrar Larry Long (email@example.com)
and he will send you a copy.
A reminder: The information in the directory comes from the
national AGO membership database which you can maintain and
update at any time. If your information is incorrect, go to
the national website: www.nycago.org. Click on "Membership," then "Renew
Membership/Update Personal Information." Sign in and make
any changes necessary. If you need help, contact Larry Long.
From the Nominating Committee
From John King, Chair, NYC AGO Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee of the New York City Chapter of the
American Guild of Organists is pleased to announce the slate
of officers for the 2016 Election:
Officers (2 year term):
Auditors—Chelsea Chen and Steven Lawson
Class of 2020 (4 year term): Vote for 6
The Committee wishes to thank those members who have agreed
to offer their names for service.
The Nominating Committee 2016,
John T. King, chair, Bernadette Hoke, Steven E. Lawson, James
D. Wetzel and E. Davis Wortman
As the interminable preludes to "Tonight's Feature Presentation" wind
down in your local movie theater, the audience is admonished
through expensive animation that the bright little screens
on their cell phones are disturbing to their neighbors. "No
texting during the movie." For years, it has been routine
in a concert hall that a message is broadcast or projected
regarding cell phones. And as the audience buzzes with excitement
before each performance of the über-hit Broadway musical,
Hamilton, the broadcast voice of the hilarious character King
George suggests that audience members should silence their
Last Sunday morning, a visiting couple was sitting in the
pew in front of us. I guessed that it wasn't her first experience
with public worship as she managed the book juggling pretty
well, but it was clear that they were not usual church-goers.
His tee-shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes with
red piping around the collar, powerful bared tattooed triceps,
and his tight little pony tail made him look like an extra
in a movie about the Russian Navy, and I'll limit further
comments to saying she was disheveled.
We were not the welcoming congregants we might have been,
we didn't speak to them, and we learned nothing about them.
And I admit that I was the disapproving Episcopalian when
she raised her mobile phone to make a video recording of
the anthem. It was a real interruption. The sailor's phone
rang during the sermon. He turned it off fast, but it still
rang. I was annoyed, and it probably showed. You don't have
to say, "harrumph," to be harrumph.
Later, I wondered about my reaction. We were all sitting
in a beautiful place surrounded by elegant stained glass,
carved wood, a spectacular pipe organ, and fabulous architecture.
The choir's singing was splendid, and there was an air of
spirituality. I wonder if that couple watched the video an
hour later at the brunch table, or in bed that evening before
turning out the light? Maybe they had never been in a place
like that and never heard singing like that. Maybe they were
truly moved. I was there because I relish and revel in those
experiences. Should I be judgmental of the uninitiated who
might be experiencing for the first time that which I love
I'm certain of two things. If I had tapped her on the shoulder
and hissed that she should put the phone away, they would
never come back. And if they do come back, I'll do my best
to welcome them.
of the Month
A little lighter on the pedals, please.
You Be My Neighbor?
Approaching St. Michael's Church heading north
on Amsterdam Avenue, the first visual impression is the magnificent
bell tower on the corner of West 99th Street with two tiers
of arches capped by a copper pyramid. The tower signals the
presence of grandeur, and when you enter the polychromed nave,
the grandeur is real. Try to go there on a sunny day so you
can see the Tiffany windows in their greatest glory - the lancet
windows in the Apse and a tremendous piece in the side chapel
are especially gorgeous.
The church is home to an iconic organ built in 1967 by Rudolph
von Beckerath. The imposing blond Werkprinzip case with its
spiky towers is a harsh contrast to the building's ubiquitous
Romanesque arches, to say nothing of the opulent color scheme.
But the contrast may be forgiven as the acquisition of this
instrument was a bold statement early in the great revolution
that was the Revival of Classic Organ Building in the middle
to late twentieth century. Without these controversial experiments,
American organ building would never have progressed to its
John Cantrell is the Choirmaster and Organist at St. Michael's,
and while organ voices like Septimenkornet III may not be the
ideal for a Yale-trained musician, his use of the marvelous
instrument is inspired and inspiring. Besides the large Beckerath
organ in the rear gallery, the church owns a newly restored
1938 Steinway B and an eight stop Beckerath Positiv organ.
And since Gospel Hymns are just outside the natural scope for
the Beckerath, a 1950's Hammond C3 completes the musical fleet,
magically commandeered by Dr. Cantrell.
There are Children's Choirs in the traditions of RSCM and
Kodály, a High School Choir, and a semi-professional
choir of adult singers. Sunday morning celebrations of the
Eucharist with plenty of musical variety are complemented by
intimate sung Compline on Wednesday evenings. Worship at St.
Michael's is rich and lively, the surroundings are fantastic,
and the focus on the arts make the experience complete.
is published monthly, with the exception of combined issues
for December/January, May/June, and July/August. The deadling
for submissions is the 15th of the month prior. Send materials
to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding email addresses
should be sent to Larry
J. Long, Registrar.
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