|Newsletter of the American Guild of Organists
Evansville, Indiana Chapter
From the Dean...
Hello and God’s peace to all of you!
I would like to say a few words today about The Future Of Our Profession. I do not mean to be glib; we are all well aware of the seriousness of the problem. There are deep and far-reaching roots, including the intense competition classical music by-and-large faces from the magnificent kaleidoscope of music available to modern American ears; the admission of the electric guitar and the drumset into the sanctuary (Praise Him with lute... with loud crashing cymbals! Psalm 150:3,5); and probably worst, the general fall from grace of the church itself (especially mainline denominations that traditionally make extensive use of the pipe organ and hymn singing) in the eyes of modern society. Volumes could and undoubtedly have been written on this last subject, and I surely wouldn’t be able to shed more light on the causes and effects of the phenomenon. I do think, however, that this last is the greatest threat to us, and the only one with which we cannot coexist. The pipe organ is not “cool” in large part because the church is not “cool”. This is a war the church must fight; she has fought it her whole life and will continue to fight it until He comes back. Our concern here, though certainly not to deny concern about the greater issue, is with the music.
The National Council of the AGO has formed the Committee of the New Organist in response to the fact that substantially fewer young musicians than in the past are choosing the organ and sacred music as a profession. There is certainly not a shortage of talented young musicians; in fact, there may be more now than ever before. However much difficulty classical music has in reaching the general public, and in succeeding financially, hordes of young people every year embark on attempts to succeed in the field. Our job is to educate young musicians on the possibilities the organ and sacred music field presents, so that they might be encouraged to explore it, and possibly earn their livings in it, enriching themselves and others in the process.
To this end, the Committee of the New Organist has recommended the Pipe Organ Encounter. What is a “Pipe Organ Encounter?” It is:
---a 4-5 day regional event organized by a local AGO chapter under the sponsorship of the national organization. It introduces participants to the world of the pipe organ.
---It provides individual and group instruction in the basic rudiments of pipe organ technique and service playing.
---It provides an invaluable opportunity for participants to meet others with similar interests.
---It provides a general overview of organ literature, history, and related topics.
---It exposes the participants to various concepts and examples of pipe organ construction and design.
---It provides an opportunity for participation in ecumenical worship, so as to experience the role of the sacred musician.
(Taken from Handbook for Pipe Organ Encounters, which can be found on the national AGO website.)
We are hoping to host a POE in the summer of 2009, and are in the early planning stages. We will need several people to organize and coordinate the event. National headquarters suggests the following, and suggests that one person could perform more than one task:
Those interested in serving our chapter, and our profession, in this capacity should contact me, Tom Drury, or any member of the Executive Committee.
I hope you all had a good summer, and that those of you who are choir directors (and take summer hiatuses (hiatii?)) had a restful break and are ready to start singing again. God’s blessings on the year to come!
September 10th, at Methodist Temple, 6 PM Dinner/7 PM “In Search of Bach,” a presentation by UE students. The menu: tossed salad, pork loin, oriental rice, green beans with water chestnuts and red peppers, dinner roll and dessert. Deb Deering is the caterer. Fee is $10.00. For reservations please contact Tricia Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-490-3538 by September 5th.
October 13th at St. John’s East UCC from 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon. Joy A. Schroeder, DMA, FAGO, AGO Region V Education Coordinator will do a workshop on “Service Playing and Colleague Certifications.” Registration/Refreshments at 9:45. No charge for this event.
November 11th at Neu Chapel at 4:00 PM “Milton Z. Tinker Memorial Recital.” This Recital is sponsored by UE AGO and will include North High School Concert Choir.
January 13th at Eastminster Presbyterian from 3:00-?“Organ Marathon Recital.” This is a fund raiser for AGO Dufford Scholarship Fund sponsored by the Evansville AGO and Christianity and the Arts Committee of Eastminster Presbyterian. Donations will be accepted.
February 18th at First Presbyterian Church, Evansville, 9:30-12:30, “Pedals, Pipes and Pizza.” Sponsored by the Evansville AGO, this event is for young pianists (ages 10 and up) to experience the organ. This fun event is always in need of more volunteer help. Please call Robert Nicholls, Tom Drury or Helen Reed if you’d like to get involved.