Welcome to the Southeast Region Blog!

Welcome to the Southeast Region Blog!

Greetings to all members in the Southeast Region of the American Guild of Organists. I hope that this blog can be an easy way for us to keep in touch. Please contact me for news and events from your chapter that should be included. I'm happy to spread the word! Scroll to the bottom of the page for the regional events calendar.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2015-2016 season.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Greater Greensboro Hymn Festival and Masterclass

Rob Ridgell, director of Music-Organist at Christ Church, Charlotte, led a masterclass and hymn festival for the Greater Greensboro chapter. The improvisation masterclass was well attended with three performers gracing the bench. The hymn festival, entitled "The Gift of Creation", included a choir of around 25 singers from area churches. Pictured below are Ridgell and some of the hymn festival participants:

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Tennessee Centennial

The AGO has been in Tennessee for 100 years (1914-2014)! On Sunday evening, I had the pleasure to attend “Night of 100 Stars: Organ Concerto Concert” at Bartlett United Methodist Church. 

The orchestra? The GPAC Youth Symphony (GPAC=Germantown Performing Arts Center!). The program? In addition to the opening of “Also sprach Zarathustra” and the Overture to Candide, we were treated to Widor’s Symphonie pour Orgue et Orchestre, Op. 42 (different performers for each mvt: Jane Gamble, Eva McPeters, and Karen Strawhecker) and the world premiere of Dennis Janzer’s Concerto No. 2 for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 24. Oh, what a night!

From left, performers of the Widor Symphony: 
Jane Gamble, Eva McPeters, and Karen Strawhecker

Dennis Janzer following the premiere of his organ concerto. 
Movement titles: Intrada, Basso Ostinato, Flourishes and Fanfares

Earlier posts on this blog have outlined the yearly events – check it out, perhaps you can attend one of the remaining concerts!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

High School Organ Festival & Competition

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts/Salem College/Winston-Salem Chapter of the AGO announce the 2014 High School Organ Festival & Competition to be held on January 24-26, 2014.  On Sunday, January 26, Salem College artist-in-residence and world-renowned keyboard pedagogue, Barbara Lister-Sink, will present a workshop on Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique. The workshop will also offer an introduction to Alexander Technique by Salem faculty member, Susan Perkins. Following the workshop will be a master class and optional individual lessons with UNCSA & Salem College organ professor, Dr. Timothy Olsen.

For more details, please visit the competition website

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some more photos from NE Tenn/SW Virginia

You all may recall that I visited Johnson City, Tennessee, last week. Well, now more pictures to prove it! Here is a candid pic of me speaking to the members of the Northeast Tennesse/Southwest Virginia chapter in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, Johnson City. (I must use my hands a lot when I speak, eh?)

Here I am with the chapter officers and members from the host church. 
What a great time. Thanks NETN/SWVA!

A visit to Central Florida

On the road again . . . . this time, not too far (just a two hour drive down to Orlando). On Sunday evening I joined the executive board of the Central Florida AGO chapter for their meeting. Great discussion and a great meal (bring your own salad toppings!) What a lovely group (and they all have great smiles, too!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A visit to NE Tennessee/SW Virginia Chapter

Your regional councillor traveled to Johnson City, Tennessee, to visit the NE TN/SW VA chapter. In the afternoon, members of the chapter drove me around the beautiful area. Here's a pic of the Court House on Main Street in Jonesborough (Tennessee's oldest town). Ah, the weather was beautiful.

Pictures from the dinner meeting will appear tomorrow :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saturday's Tour of Boston, continued . . . .

Next on our tour of Copley Square was Old South Church. This organ will be featured in recital and for a silent movie . . . lots of strings, and (indeed), a thunder stop!

Finally, we stopped at Trinity Church--Scott Dettra will perform here and we'll be there for the annual meeting!
The Organ Console (at right):

The altar area (at left)

Join us at AGO Boston 2014 this summer!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday, National Council Meeting, Boston

Today's highlight was being able to visit four venues in the Copley Square area that will be highlighted during our summer convention. Pictures speak louder than words, so, here you go!

Here is a great view of the area near The Mother Church:

More views of The Mother Church (http://christianscience.com/church-of-christ-scientist/the-mother-church-in-boston-ma-usa).

Among other events scheduled here, Stephen Tharp will perform a recital that includes a transcription of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"!

Ceiling view of The Mother Church.

Venue #2 on our morning walk: St. Cecilia's (http://www.stceciliaboston.org). Among other events, Chelsea Chen will perform here.

Await another blog posting during my layover in Nashville!

Friday, National Council Meeting in Boston

While thinking about all my colleagues in the gulf, here’s my top five for the meeting:

5: Have your chapter dues report forms been submitted yet?
4: Online Registration (called ONCARD) will be used for this next fiscal year. Tutorials for chapter administrators will be available on Feb. 1.
3: Has your chapter considered hosting a RCYO Competition, POE, January Jubillee or Regional lately? Try it, you’ll like it!
2: Okay, we really all need to contribute to the annual fund J
1: A full day of meeting is, well, a full day of meetings!

Our meeting tomorrow morning includes a look at some of the local church venues for the Boston Convention. Hmm, I think I’ll take pictures! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

AGO Meetings in Boston, Day One

On Thursday, your regional councillor traveled to Beantown for a series of AGO meetings. The regional councillors met from 1-6PM at the convention hotel, the Marriott Copley Boston. In the heart of Copley Square . . . just steps away from Trinity Church and the Hancock building.

Following tradition, here is my top five list from the day one meeting:
5: Reminder to all chapters to be sure all paperwork is up-to-date with the IRS (argh! please encourage your treasurer to fill out that pesky postcard)
4: The new AGO board structure will be in place this summer (officially after the installation of officers at the annual meeting this summer).
3: The chance to eat great seafood, just a short walk from the hotel.
2: The hotel is connected to a very ritzy mall -- window shopping only for me (can you say Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton? Okay, so I probably could afford something at Nine West . . . )
1: Boston 2014 will be great! Register today: http://www.agoboston2014.org

Monday, September 30, 2013

Treasure Coast Chapter Choral Festival and Officer Installation

Your Regional Councillor took a lovely Sunday drive down to Vero Beach for the Treasure Coast Chapter's annual choral festival and officer installation. This year the event was held at First Baptist Church with Dr. John Sinclair (Rollins College) serving as guest clinician. Installed were Ron Mattie (Dean), Baden Griffin (SubDean), Ray Hoag (Treasurer), and Daniel Kroger (Secretary). Thanks for a wonderful afternoon!

Monday, August 19, 2013

RCCO 2014

The 2014 RCCO Convention will take place in London, Ontario from July 6-8. London is a two hour drive from both Detroit and Buffalo and easily accessible from most of Michigan, western Pennsylvania and Northern New York. You can learn more about the Royal Canadian College of Organists at: http://www.rcco.ca/index.cfm

Maybe a trip to Canada is in your future?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Memphis AGO Chapter presents a Centennial Celebration Concert Series honoring Tennessee AGO’s Centennial

See below for a detailed listing of events associate with the "Centennial Celebration." Sure to be a wonderful event! 

1) SEPT 8, 2013
    Organ Virtuosi: The Next Generation – An exciting, diverse program of music for organ performed by former scholarship winners, sponsored by Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO). Several of these young musicians now hold professional music positions. This concert is the opening event of the Centennial Celebration hosted by the Memphis Chapter, AGO.
- Sunday, Sept. 8, 4:00 p.m.
- Location: St. Peter Catholic Church, 190 Adams Ave., (intersection: Third St. and Adams), Memphis, TN; Tel: (901) 527-8282, ext. 15.

2) OCT 7,  2013    Play It Again, but on the Organ – Popular orchestral favorites performed by concert artist/composer Dr. Dennis Janzer, hosted by Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO) in its Centennial Celebration season. This program includes organ arrangements of Ravel’s Bolero, Entry of the Gladiators by  Julius Fučík, Light Cavalry overture by Franz von Suppé, and Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune. All ages will enjoy this event that includes all the bells and whistles of the 1921 Möller Organ!
- Monday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.- Location: Scottish Rite, 825 Union Ave. Memphis, TN; Tel: (901) 526-7679  

3) NOV 3, 2013
    Night of 100 Stars: Organ Concerto Concert – A rare opportunity to see Memphis’s Kimball organ starring as the soloist with orchestral accompaniment! Program to be introduced by Kacky Walton and Darel Snodgrass of WKNO, and guest host Michael Barone, Director of National Public Radio’s Pipedreams.
    This once-in-a-lifetime Centennial celebration event showcases members of American Guild of Organists (AGO)—Memphis chapter, the GPAC Youth Symphony Orchestra, and musicians from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
    Program includes the world premiere of Concerto No. 2 for Organ and Orchestra composed by Memphian Dennis Janzer; Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss; and Symphony for Organ and Orchestra by Charles-Marie Widor. A reception will follow. Hosted by Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO), in its Centennial Celebration season event presented by the Memphis Chapter, AGO.
- Sunday, Nov. 3, 6:00 p.m.
- Location: Bartlett United Methodist Church, 5676 Stage Road in Bartlett, TN 38134; Tel: (901) 386-4563

4) FEB 3, 2014
Centennial Celebration Choral Service – Featuring premiere performance of “You Shall Go Out with Joy “ a Tennessee AGO-commissioned anthem by nationally acclaimed Tennessee composer Daniel Gawthrop. Rhodes College choral ensembles and Christ Church Chamber Choir join together in presenting an all Gawthrop service. Hosted by Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO), in its Centennial Celebration season.
- Monday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Wilson Chapel at Christ United Methodist Church, 4488 Poplar Avenue;
Tel: (901) 683-3521

5) MARCH 21, 2014
    Paul Jacobs in Recital – Called “precisely what the organ scene needs right now” by the Los Angeles Times, Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs has been lauded by critics and audiences alike for his tremendous technical abilities and for the wide range of emotions he is able to coax from the instrument. First receiving acclaim for his sweeping marathon performances of the complete works of Bach and Messiaen, Jacobs has proven himself a tireless advocate for new organ works and core repertoire for nearly two decades.
    At 26, Paul Jacobs was invited to join the faculty of the Juilliard School, and in 2004, at age 27, was named chairman of the organ department, one of the youngest faculty appointees in the school’s history.
   In addition to his concert and teaching appearances, Paul Jacobs is a frequent performer at international and national festivals, and has appeared on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, Performance Today and Saint Paul Sunday, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition, Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral and ABC-TV’s World News Tonight, among others.
This program is sponsored by St. Mary’s Cathedral and by the Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO) in its Centennial Celebration.
- Friday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.
-Location: St. Mary's Cathedral, 700 Poplar Avenue; Tel: (901) 527-6123

6) MARCH 22, 10:00 a.m.
    Master Class with Paul Jacobs – Especially for organ students and professionals, an opportunity to learn from one of the world’s best! Paul Jacob chairs the Organ Department at the Juilliard School.  Hosted by Memphis Chapter, American Guild of Organists (AGO), in its Centennial Celebration season.
- Saturday, March 22, 10:00 a.m.
- Location: St. George’s Episcopal Church, 2425 S. Germantown Rd., Germantown, TN; Tel: (901) 754-7282

Monday, July 15, 2013

From the 2013 POE in Birmingham . . .

Day One of the Birmingham POE 2013. Many fine students, instructors, and organs. Opening program of organ and instruments at Birmingham-Southern last night. In addition to student lessons and practice today, Dr. Faythe Freese gave a talk on Practice Techniques and Bryan Anderson (former POE/POE-Advanced attendee and 2012 Region IV Rising Star) gave an inspiring recital at Reid Chapel on the Samford University Campus.

Below: Bryan Anderson following his recital on the Aeolian-Skinner/Quimby organ in Reid Hall, Samford.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Columbia 2013 Regional: Top Five List for Day Four

What a successful convention in Columbia! Thanks to all involved (Tony Roof, Convention Coordinator, steering committee, performers, presenters) for all of their hard work.

5: A post-convention journey to Winthrop University to hear the Skinner organ at Byrnes Auditorium played by Christopher Houlihan (I especially liked the newly commissioned piece entitled 'Steel Symphony')
4: Workshops (I went to two very good sessions -- care of the young and aging voice and improvisation with David Arcus).
3: A great recital at St. Peter's by Janette Fishell -- complete Vierne 3 . . . what more can be said?
2: Meeting so many wonderful folks from Region IV and beyond. Thanks to all that attended!
1: Columbia . . . a great destination :-)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Columbia 2013 Regional: Top Five List for Day Three

My, what a busy day on Friday! Sorry for the late posting, but here is my Top Five List for Friday at Columbia:

5: Charles Tompkins in recital at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. Stunning - AND - the premiere of a new work of Robert Powell.
4: Evensong in Trinity Cathedral . . . what a way to end the evening.
3: Rain, again??? (and, again?)
2: Hymn Festival by Michael Burkhardt -- if you have never attended one of his hymn festivals, do. Inspiring and innovative!
1: Intriguing Haitian Mass performed by the Sandlapper Singers. Who knew??

Ready for Day Four . . .

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Columbia 2013 Regional: Top Five List for Day Two

Another fine day in Columbia, South Carolina.

5: The raffle at the regional meeting. Some good prizes this year!
4: Hearing fireworks as we left Shandon UMC following a performance of the Stars and Stripes by the Chenaults! What a way to end the 4th of July.
3: Seeing lots of people at the exhibit hall after our busy day -- exciting to meet artists, composers, and presenters.
2: Dongho Lee's performance at USC . . . graceful.
1: Carolyn Craig's performance as the Quimby/RCYO winner. Gotta love hearing young organists . . . the future is bright!

More news tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Columbia 2013 Regional: Top Five List for Day One

Ah, to be with friends at a regional convention . . . priceless! Missing all of you that cannot attend.

So, the top five list for Day One at the Columbia Regional:

5) Nice reception at the exhibit hall one the first floor of the Hilton. Smiles all around!
4) Got caught in the rain while walking to the hotel following the Quimby/RCYO competition at Trinity Cathedral. Hey, the rain is really keeping Columbia cool so far!!!
3) Stefan Engels playing Karg-Elert on the E.M. Skinner/Colby at Washington Street United Methodist. Lovely strings and yes, an antiphonal! Also, wonderful to hear the newly commissioned work by Trey Clegg (Toccata on "Go Tell It On The Mountain")
2) Watching the young faces of the Capella Pueri sing at the opening convocation at St. Peter's Catholic Church.
1) Listening to a great Quimby/RCYO competition this afternoon. Congrats go to all who performed. 1st Prize went to Carolyn Craig; 2nd Prize to Thomas Williford.

Photo on left: RCYO Competitors and Judges.

In back row are judges Patrick Pope, Dr. Pamela Decker, and Susan Talley.

In front are competitors Thomas Williford, David Harrison, Emily Caitlin Dowling, and Carolyn Craig.

And the winners are (from left): Thomas Williford, 2nd Prize and Carolyn Craig, 1st Prize. Carolyn will represent Region IV as a Rising Star at the National Convention in Boston. Congratulations, Carolyn!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Deadline Extended!

The deadline for applying to the upcoming POE in Birmingham has been extended to July 1. Please encourage young organists to check it out at: http://POE2013.birminghamago.org/ 

Inquiries and questions may be directed to Greg Roberson, POE 2013 Director at: poe2013@birminghamago.org.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Central Florida "Meeting of the Deans"

On Tuesday, May 14, leadership from chapters in Central Florida gathered at Hyde Park United Methodist Church. The event was hosted Penny Walsh (Tampa) and Michael Hunter (Florida District Convener). Also in attendance were Tom Huffman (Clearwater), Glenn Osborne (Central Florida), Charles and Annette Sims (St. Petersburg), Michelle Klima and Shawn Thomas (Gainesville), and your regional councillor, Laura Ellis. Always wonderful to brainstorm about the AGO with colleagues!

Pictured in front of the organ at Hyde Park UMC are (from left): Penny Walsh, Tom Huffman, Glenn Osborne, Michael Hunter, Charles Sims, Annette Sims, Michelle Klima, Laura Ellis, and Shawn Thomas.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Officers of Clearwater Chapter installed

Your Region IV Councillor had the honor of installing the new officers and executive board of the Clearwater chapter this evening. Following a wonderful meal, the chapter members had a chance to visit the recently renovated sanctuary of St. Jerome's Catholic Church, Largo, Florida. A thank you is extended to host Thomas Kurt, Director of Music at St. Jerome's Church. Thanks also to Kevin Johnson, outgoing Clearwater Dean, for inviting me down for the event!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Birmingham POE still accepting applications

Calling all young organists . . . 

The Birmingham Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) is still accepting registrations. Please visit their website at www.birminghamago.orgclick on the POE link and register today! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Greenville Chapter Meeting

Your Regional Councillor is 'on the road again!' This time for a visit to the Greenville (South Carolina) Chapter on Thursday, April 25. The meeting was held at Christ Church Episcopal (David Turner, host)  where we had a wonderful dinner, followed by an engaging talk by liturgical mystery author Mark Schweizer (https://www.sjmpbooks.com/pages/bio.html). It was a hard act to follow, but I concluded the evening with all things AGO . . . national restructuring, online dues, etc. A wonderful evening. Thank you to Charles Tompkins for inviting me to Greenville. Below is a pic of the attendees!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Congratulations to Region IV's RCYO winners!

The winners have been announced! (see previous posts) Congratulations to Carolyn Craig, Emily Caitlin Dowling, David Harrison and Thomas Williford for winning their local chapter competition of the 2103 AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)!

All four young organists will be competing in the finals of the Region IV Quimby/RCYO in Columbia, South Carolina. The competition will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (http://www.trinitysc.org)

Again, thanks to all who made the local chapter competitions a success. Join me in Columbia this summer to hear these fine young organists compete! Remember, the winner will appear in Boston 2014 as Region IV's Rising Star . . . . neat, eh?

RCYO, Knoxville Chapter

The Knoxville Chapter hosted their chapter competition of the 2013 AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO) on MArch 9, 2013, at First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The winner of the competition was Carolyn Craig. 

Carolyn Craig
Carolyn Craig, 16 years old, began her organ studies two years ago with John Brock, Professor Emeritus of organ at the University of Tennessee. She was the first place winner of the 2012 Greater Columbia AGO Young Organist competition. As a pianist, she performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as a 1st place winner in the American Protégé International Talent Competition. She represented Tennessee three times in the solo piano performance competition at the Southern Division of the Music Teachers’ National Association, where she received Honorable Mention and was named Alternate in successive years. She won the J. Mark Metcalfe Memorial Scholarship in the Steinway Society of Nashville’s International Piano Competition. Carolyn is a rising senior at West High School in Knoxville, TN, where she is pursuing an International Baccalaureate diploma. An AP Scholar and member of the National Honor Society, she was selected to participate in the Medical Explorations program at UT’s Graduate School of Medicine. She is a member of the Youth Choir at Church Street United Methodist Church, where she is also the Children’s Choir assistant under Dr. Edie Johnson.