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.


Monday, October 20, 2014

January Jubilee 2015

Has your chapter considered hosting a January Jubilee?? This is an education outreach of the AGO -- join the excitement. Here are the details: 

The Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources announces seven Jubilees to be held in 2016, with a $1,000 subsidy from National to each Jubilee. It is the goal of the committee to have one Jubilee from each of the seven regions. January Jubilees are for the purpose of nurturing musicians working for religious institutions, introducing those musicians unacquainted with the AGO to its work and mission and encouraging them to become members of the Guild. We hope you will consider this unique opportunity to reshape your chapter into a more accessible and welcoming image, to fill the gap between local chapter activities and conference level efforts, and to meet and interact with peers who share an interest in the King of Instruments.  February 1, 2015 is the deadline for submitting an application to host a 2016 Jubilee. The program is outlined in the JJ handbook available online at the American Guild of Organist website. You are welcome to contact Sheila (info below) if you have any questions.

Sheila Hess, Director
Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources

Oh, yes, Sheila is from our very own Southeast Region. Thanks for your great work, Sheila!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

National Council Meetings, Version October 2014

Your roving regional councillor has spent the last four days in the greater Louisville area in AGO meetings.

As I sit at the airport awaiting my flight back home, I glanced at my boarding gate information. Hey, destination CHARLOTTE!!  I hope YOU have destination Charlotte for our 2015 Regional Convention in July.

Here is your day-by-day 'low-down':

Wednesday was a meeting of the Regional Councillors. Here is the time that I get to bring your concerns to the ears of our national officers.

Thursday brought a meeting of the Committee for Conventions with the convention coordinators for the 2017 regional conventions (yes, we are thinking that far ahead for you). Thanks to Peter DeWitt and the Jacksonville chapter for stepping up for our region!

Friday and Saturday were meetings with the national council. As usual, I bring you my Top Ten list from the most recent edition of national council meetings:

10: Have you joined the AGO's Facebook page? Great information is shared. Check it out by Searching "American Guild of Organists".
9: What have you done to personally bring a new person into the guild? How about sponsoring a high school student with a membership?
8: One of our own, Sheila Hess from Jackson, Mississippi, is on the Committee for Sharing Skills & Resources. Has your chapter considered sharing their chapter expertise with a January Jubilee? Ask Sheila if you have questions.
7: Our new President John Walker was at the helm during Council meetings. I remember when I first met him back in the early 90's. I served as his host when he performed a recital in the chapel at University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas (my first teaching job). My, how time flies by.
6: I touched down in a sunny Louisville, after leaving a very soggy Sunshine State. I guess they don't call my home city "The Swamp" for nothing . . .
5: Register for Charlotte 2015!
4: On Friday evening, four members of the Indiana University organ department played a recital for us. Imagine my delight to see our own Carolyn Craig (2013 Region IV RCYO/Quimby Winner) on the bench performing. Go Knoxville girl, we are proud of you!
3: Please ensure that your members are renewing (either via ONCARD or mail). We don't want to lose any members during this cycle!
2: Have you contributed to the annual fund? How about becoming a member of the Clarence Dickinson society? Let's ensure that the guild has a bright future.
1. The guild has a number of great initiatives, has your chapter considered hosting a POE?

Great minds, good energy, and love of the guild are evidenced in these meetings. Day by day, let's remember the AGO mission: "to enrich lives through organ and choral music". What have you done lately??

Monday, September 29, 2014

Durham-Chapel Hill Hymnfest

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter and University United Methodist Church co-sponsored a hymnfest titled "Lord Send Out Your Spirit and Renew the Face of the Earth: A Festival of Hymns" led by organist-composer, Dr. Michael Burkhardt. The choir consisted of members from Christ United Methodist Church, Chapel Hill; St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Durham; United Church of Chapel Hill; and University United Methodist Church, Chapel Hill. The service consisted of readings from various sources of literature, including John William Lowe, Jaroslav Vajda, Jan Berry, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert Baden; and hymns, most of which were Burkhardt's own settings for choir, organ, and brass quartet. Many thanks to Michael Burkhardt, who led a wonderful hymnfest, to Tim Baker and University United Methodist Church for hosting, to Daniel Steinert for arranging to bring Dr. Burkhardt to Chapel Hill, to Laurel and Nick Siviglia for their hospitality, and to Daniel Steinert, Jacqueline Nappi, Mary Beth Peterson, and Tim Baker, who brought their choirs to participate in this hymnfest.    

Above, acting Dean, Tim Baker (l) and Michael Burkhardt pose for a picture next to the Möller organ at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Treasure Coast Chapter Installation

Your southeast regional councillor traveled to Vero Beach on Sunday, September 21, to install officers for the Treasure Coast chapter. The AGO officer installation was part of the annual Massed Choir Festival Service. Guest director for this year's festival was Andrew Walker, Director of Music at St. Micheal's Episcopal Church, Orlando.

Here's an impromptu 'after-festival' photo of the choir. Fun event!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brennan Szafron in Recital at Holy Cross

Comes Autumn Time is the theme of Brennan Szafron's organ recital at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Tryon, NC, on Friday, October 10, 2014, at 7:00 pm. Autumnal music by composers Leo Sowerby and Joseph Bonnet will be heard, as well as music by J. S. Bach and Charles-Marie Widor.

A native Canadian, Brennan received a Bachelor of Music degree, with distinction, from the  University of Alberta, a Masters of Music degree from Yale University, and a Doctoral of Musical  Arts degree in organ performance from the University of Michigan. He was hired in 2003 as the first full-time organist/choirmaster of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Spartanburg, SC.

Dr. Szafron maintains an active recital schedule. In 2012-13, he reprised the Barber Toccata Festiva with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra), and gave recitals at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, GA and St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, NC. In the summer of 2013 he dedicated the organ at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Spartanburg and gave a recital at First United Methodist Church, Charlotte. 2013-14 included a recital at the Church of the Advent celebrating their organ’s 25th anniversary, a solo recital with guest pianist Doug Weeks in Twichell Auditorium, a performance with the Converse College Symphony Orchestra as the soloist for the Poulenc organ concerto, a recital at Central Synagogue, NYC, and a recital at Landrum Presbyterian Church, Landrum, SC.

The Chancel Organ at Holy Cross was rebuilt by John Dower and Company in 1994-1995, incorporating pipes from the previous Möller and Holloway instruments.

Dr. Szafron’s concert at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 150 Melrose Avenue, Tryon, NC, is free, and the public is invited to attend. For more information, please call the church office at 828-859-9741.

Submitted by Susie Mahnke, organist/choir director, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Tryon, NC

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A report from the National Convention in Boston!

Greetings from Boston! My favorite events so far: the regional meeting held on Wednesday morning (with lots of door prizes!); the Rising Star concert on Wednesday afternoon performed by our own Carolyn Craig; and seeing good friends and renewing acquaintances.

Here's a photo from the first concert at Boston Symphony Hall (James David Christie performing with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A visit to Blue Ridge!

On Thursday, May 22, your trusty Regional Councillor made a visit to the Blue Ridge chapter in North Carolina. A fine dinner (prepared by host Jamie Bryson -- thanks!) and fine conversation was held at Ewotah United Methodist Church. Your RC shared information about the guild, ONCARD, the national restructuring, etc. Thanks to all who attended (see picture below). It was a joy to meet you all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Installation of officers in St. Petersburg

Last evening, I took a wonderful drive south to St. Petersburg to install the newly elected officers. A wonderful evening prayer service and dinner held at Holy Faith Catholic Church. Congratulations!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

News from the Spring National Council Meeting

Members of AGO National Council met in St. Louis this past week. Here's my top ten list:

10. Buds and blossoms in St. Louis – spring is certainly in the air!
9.  The view from the 11-floor reception site following the Charles Callahan recital. Yes, I could see the Arch!
8. The TAO should be going online soon. Look for it.
7. Have you considered joining the Clarence Dickinson society? What is it? A group of people who have decided to leave an estate gift of any size to the guild.
6. There is still time to register for Boston; be sure to book your hotel if you haven’t done so.
5. The Charles Callahan AGO Endowment Recital. He even played his “Aria”! (Bet you all know it).
4. Welcoming a new chapter to our region: Fayetteville-Sand Hills Area (NC)!
3. A chance to share membership concerns from Region IV/Southeast with the Council.
2. Online renewal of dues. Invoice should be coming to an inbox near you J
1. Getting excited about the Region IV/Southeast meeting at Boston. Will there be raffle prizes? Yes, there will. See you there!

Charles Callahan, the AGO Distinguished Artist, performed a recital at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. What a wondrous space!

Monday, March 3, 2014


Did you know that there is a new POE page on Facebook? Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/PipeOrganEncountersoftheAGO

Our Southeast region is looking for chapters to host POEs during the summer of 2015. Let me know if you are interested in becoming a part of the most fun and exciting outreach program the AGO has to offer!