FROM THE DEAN:
As you read this, we will have turned the corner on 2017 and started a new year! For us, that means we are now in high gear for National Convention '18. No turning back now! Please be sure you have considered volunteering for one of thousands of duties needing attention. AND register early!
On other fronts, our venue for Bachathon (GHT) this year somehow slipped away, so over Thanksgiving myself, John Schaefer and Rebecca Bell (Bachathon Chair) met to consider alternatives. The 2018 event will now take place at Village Presbyterian Church (April 15th, 2-6pm) and will highlight the new Richards, Fowkes & Co. Pipe Organ. In Bachathon's earlier years (2018 being the 50th!), churches with new instruments were featured as venues, a positive precedent that we will reactivate.
In this newsletter, I want to point out an article some of you will find interesting. The University of Michigan is inviting proposals for events at its 58th Annual Organ Conference, September 30-October 2, 2018, on the theme: "Trailblazers: Women’s Impact on Organ, Harpsichord, Carillon and Sacred Music.” Please read further on this topic. Perhaps it may peak your interest and submit a proposal!
As you reemerge refreshed and energized, plan to attend the January 22nd Member Program at Central Presbyterian Church which will feature a practical, idea-packed session with Mike Graves (SPS) on pastoral/musical collaboration. Invite your favorite clergy to join us for this event. As always, dinner will be served at 6:15pm.
I have also noticed that our ranks are gradually swelling (couldn't resist) …good work! Continue to spread the word about our KC chapter and all that we offer. I am still recruiting for a Youth Activities committee chair…if we don't capitalize on this, we shall soon become extinct…not a pleasant thought.
GKCAGO Chapter Dean 2017-18
DATE: Monday, January 22, 2018
Central Presbyterian Church
3501 Campbell Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64109
6:00pm Punch bowl and Fellowship
Catered by Bob and Tracy Henry
Italian Pork Loin
Green Beans Italiano
Please call Nancy Ramirez at 816-436-9467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 9:00 pm Wednesday, Jan. 17th. Nancy will confirm your e-mail reservations. Please call if you don’t get a confirmation. Remember, if you have a reservation (permanent or one-time) and miss dinner, you are still obligated to pay for your meal if you have not cancelled by Monday, Jan. 22nd.
***Please note: New “Walk-in” Dinner Price***
In an effort to assist our new caterer, and encourage timely reservations, the price for unreserved dinners will be $15. If you reserve your meal in advance, the price remains the same a $10.
Dr. Mike Graves: Collaborative Skills for Church Musicians
~Elisa Bickers, DMA, FAGO
Sister Claudette has asked me to reflect on my preparations and long-term benefits of having taken the Fellow certification exam. I am delighted to do this, because I did not anticipate how wonderful this process would be! I know, I know... I must be a giant organ nerd to VOLUNTARILY subject myself to hours of lonely practice, reading, and composing. Well, it's true. I am a giant organ nerd! That means that I really did enjoy the countless hours of work that it took to properly prepare for this rigorous exam.
The FAGO exam tests many skills. At the organ: perform literature from several eras; sight read a traditional score; sight read an open score using bass, tenor, alto, and soprano clefs; arrange a piano score for organ on sight; transpose a newly composed chorale up to a major third in either direction; improvise a brief piece in ternary form, on a given theme. At a desk: compose 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint on given themes; write an essay on a certain composer (disclosed in TAO beforehand); take two-part and four-part aural dictation; orchestrate a passage of keyboard music and answer orchestration questions; compose a brief piece for SATB choir on a given text.
There are many of these skills that I believed I already had "in the bag." For example, I feel like half of my career requires me to improvise on a moment's notice. I've played for enough vocalists and choirs that I can sight read accurately. I have played in enough orchestras and bands in my life to have a pretty good grasp on orchestration. But transposing up or down a major third? Well, that's just cruel. BUT the need for that skill does come up more often than I'd realized. I probably spent most of my preparation time working on that skill. I got hymnals from non-main-line churches so that I was transposing hymns that I didn't already know (otherwise, I was doing it by ear, and that's not the name of the game here). It took a lot of will power and even more brain power than I ever dreamed, but with each week I got better and better! And it exercised a different part of my mind. I find myself using this skill all the time, to better accommodate a children's choir or soloist. It's invaluable.
I thought that the "weird clef" sight reading would be a skill that I'd learn for this exam and then promptly forget. It turns out that I use that skill all the time as the harpsichordist for Bach Aria Soloists. We frequently play from very old scores, many of which use these funky clefs. I also was gifted the entire Buxtehude organ works some years ago, and have never cracked their cover because these scores use tenor and alto clef. Now I can play them! Of course, I have modern editions of Maestro Dieterich's works, but there's something very satisfying about making my mind wrap around these clefs.
The certification guidelines provide a swath of literature from which the candidate chooses four pieces. For both the AAGO and FAGO exam, I decided to play some pieces that I already knew and some that were unfamiliar to me. And I have gotten so much out of that decision! One piece from the AAGO list was a piece I learned as an undergraduate student. It was really delightful to dust it off and apply many more years of experience to its performance. Several of the new pieces I learned, including the Allegro Vivace from Vierne's first symphony and Egil Hovland's "Nun danket alle Gott," were featured on my dedication recitals for our church's new organ, as well as in some concerts in Europe this past summer. Learning new literature when your job isn't "concert organist" can be tough - who has the time, really? But it's so very important that we stretch ourselves beyond prelude and postlude material and keep our minds flexible by learning new pieces.
One additional part of the process that was surprisingly rewarding to me was researching Leo Sowerby. I knew literally nothing about him. But as he was the designated composer for my exam, I purchased every score, dug up an excellent thesis about his life and works, and immersed myself in learning about a truly wonderful figure in American organist history.
I am very grateful to the AGO for creating the certification process, and to wonderful folks like Ted Stewart and Claudette Schiratti, who dedicate themselves to helping us all unlock our fullest potential as organists. The need to improve doesn't disappear once one finishes her terminal degree, or has "achieved" a comfortable position at a church or educational institution. It is absolutely vital to our profession that we keep learning: "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" to our individual status quo, laziness, or even exhaustion. Our calling is to make the world better through the creation of a completely invisible beauty, and I hope that I never lose the drive to make myself better at that craft.
Thanks, Elisa. Elisa must have done wonderful time management to accomplish this certification along with the many hats that she wears. May it spur you on to pursue certification for yourself. If I can assist you in preparing for certification, please contact me.
Claudette Schiratti, AAGO
KCAGO Certification Chair
Our 2018 National Convention will feature many new compositions – 15 new compositions and two new hymn texts to be exact! The compositions range in type from 3 to 4 minute gospel song to a major new concerto with organ and symphony. Highlights of these compositions include:
Pamela Decker (2018 AGO Distinguished Composer) – Decker’s The Seven Last Words and Triumph of Christ is a major solo organ work of several movements. This piece will be performed by Doug Cleveland at Village Presbyterian Church and also will include dancers.
Emma Lou Diemer – A Kansas City native, her new piece, Remembering is for organ solo. She is a former AGO Composer of the Year (1995). Her new piece will be performed by Chelsea Chen in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center on Wednesday, July 4.
Frank Ferko - He has been heard in live performances and radio broadcasts around the world and is one of the most sought after composers of new choral music today. His new set of pieces for organ and mezzo-soprano, sung by Julia Scozzafava is named Cartes Postales de la Guerre (Postcards from the War) and will be played by Ben Sheen at St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Thursday, July 5.
Sir James MacMillan – His major piece for organ and choir, Everyone Sang, will be a part of the Opening Celebration in Helzberg Hall. Scottish traditional music has a profound musical influence on his compositions, and is frequently discernible in his works. It is also infused with the spiritual and the political. Sir James was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004, and a Knight Bachelor in 2015.
Cecilia McDowall – McDowall’s O Antiphon Sequence, a major solo organ piece, will be played by Vincent Dubois at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church on Tuesday, July 3. She has been described as having a communicative gift that is very rare in modern music. She is often inspired by extra-musical influences; her writing combines a rhythmic vitality with expressive lyricism which is, at times, very moving.
Jean-Baptiste Robin – Todd Wilson will play Robin’s Hands of Time during the St. Cecilia concert at the Temple of the Community of Christ on Thursday, July 5. At home in France, he was appointed Organist of the Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles in 2010. He has composed over forty works ranging from those for solo instruments to symphony orchestra. A new CD of his compositions with organ was released last March 2017, including an organ concerto with string orchestra and timpani.
Chen Yi - Chen Yi is a Chinese composer of contemporary classical music. She was the first Chinese woman to receive an MA in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Chen Yi was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Si Ji (Four Seasons). She began studying piano at the age of three, heavily influenced by the music of Western composers such as Bach and Mozart. However, once the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, Western attitudes were severely shunned, arts were opposed and she was sent to a labor camp at age 15. When she was released from the labor camp, she was able to come to New York City where she earned her DMA in composition at Columbia University. As of 2006, both Chen Yi and her husband are professors of composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Christopher Houlihan will play her organ solo composition Totem Poles at Country Club Christian Church on Tuesday, July 3.
Benjamin Cornelius-Bates – Jennifer Pascual will play Cornelius-Bates’ Sonata No. 1 on Friday, July 6 at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. This is a piece intended for the intermediate organist. Benjamin, grew up in Alaska, but did not study the organ until he attended the University of Montana, Missoula. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Music Composition at West Virginia University. His piece, Fête, was a finalist in the 2012 Kansas City AGO Composition Competition and we have invited him back to Kansas City where a major new work for organ will be premiered.
Mel Bringle – Mel’s hymn text God’s Dream Is like a Haunting Song written to the hymn tune RESIGNATION. This beautiful hymn will be sung during the Hymn Festival on Wednesday, July 4 at the Kauffman Center. She is a recent president of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and served as the chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, the group responsible for the most recent Presbyterian (PCUSA) hymnal, Glory to God (2013). She is also professor of philosophy and religious studies at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina.
Susan Palo Cherwien – Her hymn text Blesseìd, How Blesseìd Are They, set to the hymn tune Flowers of the Forest, is an ancient Scottish folk tune commemorating the defeat of the Scottish army of James IV at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513. It will be sung during the Hymn Festival at Kauffman Center on Wednesday, July 4. Cherwien prepares a thoughtful commentary for a new hymn text by reading. She says, “I have no original thoughts, but I have original ways of putting things together. I draw material from theology, science, poetry, and art. When I sit down to write, I might pull it all together in a couple days.”
Mark Kurtz – As the winner of the AGO/Marilyn Mason Award in Organ Composition, Mark’s composition, Re-Formations (after Bach), will be premiered at Kansas City’s 2018 AGO National Convention as well as published by Hinshaw Music. He is an avid performer and his compositions are full of surprises, whether he is doing jazz riffs on a pipe organ, composing choral music for the words of cutting-edge theologians, playing meditative recitals in total darkness, or encouraging children to come to his concerts dressed-up and ready to dance. He is the music director at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska. His piece will be played as the prelude to the Hymn Festival in Helzberg Hall on Wednesday, July 4.
Mary Beth Bennett – Ms. Bennett has been awarded the Sixteenth AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition for her commissioned piece, Deep River. This is a work for SATB choir and organ with congregational participation, utilizing the text of the American spiritual “Deep River.” This will be premiered at the Hymn Festival in Helzberg Hall on Wednesday, July 4. Dr. Mary Beth Bennett is a nationally recognized performer, composer, and improviser living in historic Richmond, Virginia where she serves on the adjunct music faculty of the University of Richmond.
Forrest Pierce – The Kansas City Chorale under the direction of Charles Bruffy will perform Pierce’s Mirror Cantata, a sacred cantata for choir, solo soprano, and organ on Monday evening, July 2 in Helzberg Hall. Pierce was educated at Indiana University, the University of Minnesota, and University of Puget Sound. He was raised in eastern Washington State, the grandson of Dust Bowl immigrants, and now resides on and draws inspiration from the Great Plains in Lawrence, Kansas.
Rosephanye Powell – The KC Chorale will also perform Powell’s Walk with Me, Lord in the same program as above. This will be a short gospel song. She has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music with an impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation’s leading publishers.
Anthony Maglione – Anthony’s The Wedding of Solomon will be performed at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Friday, July 6. He was recently appointed Artist-in-Residence and Choir Master at the church. Anthony is also the Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College where, under his direction, the Concert Choir was Runner Up (2nd Place) for the 2015 American Prize in Choral Performance, College/University Division.
Tarik O’Regan – The Te Deum Choral Ensemble led by Matthew Shepard will sing As One, an a capella piece by O’Regan during their performance at Village Presbyterian Church on Thursday, July 5. O’Regan, born in London, is one of the leading British composers of his generation who is writing music of startling beauty. He grew up predominantly in South London, spending some of his childhood in Morocco, where his mother was born, and in Algeria.
Thierry Escaich – Thierry Escaich will perform Quatre Visage du Temps, his own organ concerto with the Festival Symphony Orchestra at the closing concert of the convention at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, July 6. This is the North American premiere of this new concerto. He studied organ, improvisation and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP), where he won 8 First prizes and where he has taught improvisation and composition since 1992.
Be sure to register for the 2018 National Convention in Kansas City soon. Lowest registration rates will be gone after December 31, but excellent rates are still available. Registration is available by visiting the convention website, agokc2018.com. Come see what so many of your fellow chapter members have been very busy with for so very long!
Lynn Bratney, Convention Coordinator
Tickets are now available to the general public for selected performances and events taking place during this National Convention. Visit www.agokc2018.com and review the Schedule of events and performances under the Schedule tab for detailed event descriptions.
Under Contacts, you can navigate via a link to our ticket sales site -- or you can go directly to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/3176883 -- and purchase individual tickets for selected performances. These are extra tickets; and not needed for those registering for the Convention. Check back every few weeks to see when additional tickets may become available (depending upon the capacity of the venue and the number of convention registrations). You are urged to share this ticket sales site with your personal and church friends. Also: A Flier with this same information is being prepared and you can pick one up at the next Monthly AGO meeting and post it at your home church to help publicize this opportunity. If you’re unable to pick one up, send a request for one to be emailed to you, to: email@example.com You can then print it and post it to help spread the word and increase our ticket sales. Tickets are currently available for:
Opening Celebration / KC Chorale
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
July 02, 2018 6:45 PM
Doug Cleveland Recital
Village Presbyterian Church
July 03, 2018 7:00 or 8:30 PM
Vincent Dubois Recital
Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
July 03, 2018 7:00 or 8:30 PM
Chelsea Chen Recital and Hymn Festival
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
July 04, 2018 2:00 PM
Te Deum Choral Ensemble -
Village Presbyterian Church
July 05, 2018 1:30 PM
Pipedreams Live!® With Michael Barone and the 7 Rising Stars
Community of Christ Auditorium
July 05, 2018 3:30 PM
Todd Wilson - St. Cecilia Recital
Community of Christ Temple
July 05, 2018 7:30 PM
Nicole Keller Recital -
Unity Temple on the Plaza
July 06, 2018 9:00 AM
Closing Celebration - Kauffman - "Gratitude and Genesis"
July 06, 2018 8:00 PM
Trailblazers: Women's Impact on Organ, Harpsichord, Carillon and Sacred Music
Deadline for proposals: February 1, 2018
Women have established distinguished careers as performers, composers, educators, and builders of the organ, harpsichord, and carillon. They have faced unique challenges in their professions and forged new paths, from the harpsichord works of Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre to the prolific recording career of Jeanne Demessieux to women keyboard builders today. The importance and scope of women's contributions, systematically overlooked, has yet to be adequately reevaluated or put in dialogue with current gender issues in the profession.
The University of Michigan invites proposals for Conference events exploring women’s impact on the disciplines of organ, harpsichord, carillon and sacred music, including both historical studies and the presentation of new works. Proposals for presentations in diverse formats are encouraged, including performances, lectures and lecture-recitals. The Conference theme is inclusive of all individuals who identify as female or non-binary. Proposals are invited from persons of all gender identities.
Proposed events should be from 50 to 55 minutes in length. A stipend of $700 is available for each presentation selected, which may be shared by collaborating presenters. Presenters will receive complimentary conference registration and will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses and arrangements. Available performance instruments include the E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner organ in Hill Auditorium, the Fisk organ in the style of Gottfried Silbermann in Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, the carillons in Burton Tower and Lurie Tower, and a variety of harpsichords.
To submit a proposal, please email the following by February 1, 2018 to James Kibbie at firstname.lastname@example.org:
• Presenter(s) name(s)
• Title of presentation
• Category (performance, lecture, lecture-recital, etc.)
• 1-paragraph description
• Optional: supporting materials (recordings, publications, videos, etc.)
• Brief biography of presenter(s)
• Equipment or instrument needed, if any
The Steering Committee for the 2018 AGO National Convention is seeking submissions for pre-convention and post-convention events to be published in the convention program book as well as the convention website and newsletter.
Events we would like to publish include: Sunday services, recitals, concerts, or other artistic events. Events should be of interest to individuals and/or families that may arrive in town before the convention or stay after it is concluded; not all events need be musical in nature. Events will be considered that take place between Friday, June 29th, 2018 and Monday, July 2nd, 2018, as well as Saturday and Sunday, July 7th and 8th, 2018.
Please note that submission of an event does not guarantee publication as acceptance of any event is subject to the approval of the Steering Committee. Please send information for any and all events you would like to advertise to John Deahl at email@example.com. Thank you!
Fictitious stop names:
8' Tibia Santa Clausa
1' Piccolo Tuba Miserabalis
4' Harmonic Toot
8' Dull Seanna
8' Roar Flute
II Plain Jew
III Fancy Jew
IV Fancy Christian
My wife and I recently visited a beautiful organ built by Noel Mander in nearby Fulton, MO in St. Mary's church on the campus of Westminster College. It is a very interesting story of how this London church building ended up in Fulton. There is also an excellent museum in the basement devoted to Winston Churchill.
During the Nazi bombing of London in 1940 a young fire warden, Noel Mander, watched St. Mary's burn. He later reflected on the experience: "I will never forget hearing the bells fall down the tower, hearing the organs burn.... the hot air blowing through the organ pipes almost sounded as if the poor old organs were shrieking in agony in their destruction."
Sunday, January 7th @ 3pm
701 SW 8th Ave
Topeka, KS 66603
Celebrate the new year with an organ concert by the internationally recognized Simon Johnson, organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England.
Organ Dedication Recital
Sunday, January 21st @2pm
Christ Episcopal Church
136 E Gay Street
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dedication of Lasater and Associates rebuild and relocation
of Opus #4. The organ is the first pipe organ for this 149-year-old congregation.
Recitalist will be Mr. John Arndt. Reception to follow.
Placement Coordinator: John Schaefer firstname.lastname@example.org
Placement listings are available only to paid GKCAGO members. Become a paid AGO member by clicking on the Join Our Ranks link at the bottom of any page on the website.
I have inherited my mother’s practice organ, an old Allen Organ, and am interested in donating it to someone who could make use of it. It would simply need to pick it up in Atchison, KS. Please contact me either by email at email@example.com or by phone at 913-370-1322. Kay Dolenz.
Substitutes listed are members of the local organ guild. The people who hold AGO certificates have passed requirements of the National American Guild of Organists for various levels of service playing and choral conducting. However, the GKCAGO is not an endorsement agency for service provided by the persons listed here. To learn proficiency of substitutes, feel free to ask them for references. Feedback regarding the hiring of GKCAGO substitutes is welcome and encouraged. Please send feedback to John Schaefer firstname.lastname@example.org.
These substitutes have passed various levels of AGO certification requirements:
|Mary Bronaugh Davis,
MA, CAGO, org
|(816) 436-1419 or
(c) (816) 456-0343
BME, SPC, organ, piano
|(816) 353-4826 or
(c) (816) 289-9760
MM, SPC, org
AAGO, ChM org, dir, lit
MM, AAGO, org, dir, lit
|(c) (913) 530-0960 or
|SPC = service playing certificate | CAGO = Colleague certification | AAGO = Associate certification | FAGO = Fellow certification org = organist | lit = liturgical worship | dir = choral director | piano = pianist|
The following have various degrees in organ or church music at the college or post-graduate level:
MM | org
|(816) 741-7388 or
MM | org, piano
|(913) 406-5327 or
MM | org, dir, lit, bass soloist
|(785) 250-4141 or
DMA Choral Music org, piano, dir.
DMA | org, lit, dir, handbell
|(785) 842-2053 or email@example.com|
BM, Church Music | org, dir, piano
BM, MM | org
|(785) 843-2622 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
DMA | org, piano, lit, dir
|(309) 333-8745 Sarah.email@example.com|
MM | org, lit
|(913) 341-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ann Marie Rigler,
DMA | org, lit
|(816) 415-3792 or
BA | org, lit
The following also offer their services:
|Boyd Ahrens org, lit||(816) 453-8406
|Betty Bauer | org, lit||(913) 814-9021 or
|Rebecca Bell | org, lit||(816) 405-1957
|Doris Daniels | org, lit||(816) 431-3244|
|Phillip Grubbs | org||(816) 721-2325
|Shayla Van Hal | KU student email@example.com|
|Edward Poston | KU student firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Marilyn VanderLinden | org, lit||(816) 665-4441|
|Margaret Werth | org||(785) 478-0256|
|org = organist | lit = liturgical worship | dir = choral director | piano = pianist|
The absolute deadline for submissions to the Bombarde editor is the 20th of each month. Please email your information to email@example.com.