Region IV of the American Guild of Organists covers the Southeastern United States and Bermuda, including the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana. There are seven districts, 58 local chapters, and over 3,000 members. Our work supports the mission of the Guild: To promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide forum for mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members.

December 11, 2008

East Carolina University Religious Arts Festival

The thirteenth annual East Carolina Religious Arts Festival will take place from Thursday, January 29 to Saturday, January 31, 2009. All events will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 401 East Fourth Street, Greenville, NC.

John Rutter's Requiem will be the choral focus for this year's festival. Clinicians include Dr. Wilma Jensen, Frances Fitch, Colin Andrews, and Dr. Jeffrey Ward, along with the Reverend Robert Hudak and the Reverend Ann Bonner-Stewart.

For more information and the registration form, please click here, e-mail , or call 252-328-1261.

Positions Available Listing Change

In an effort to increase the value of the benefits package for AGO voting members, access to the Positions Available listings on the AGO National Web site will be limited exclusively to AGO voting members as of Monday, December 15th. It is appropriate that these listings should be made available only to voting members, since members' dues pay for the operation of the Guild's Web site and maintenance of its job postings board. In addition, this new limitation will ensure that only those organists who have agreed to abide by the AGO's Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Standards will have access to the jobs advertised on the AGO's Web site.


Starting Monday, December 15th, when you go to view the details of a Position Available online, you will be asked to fill in a User Name and Password. Your User Name and Password will be your unique AGO identification number. If your email address is on file at headquarters, you should have received a message with your ID number. This number is also located above your name on the address label that appears on your copy of TAO each month. When prompted to fill in the User Name and Password fields, please enter your ID number in both fields to gain access to the details of all job openings. This login procedure may be further refined and enhanced in the weeks ahead.

We look forward to providing this valuable benefit exclusively to AGO voting members. The Guild is widely recognized by religious institutions as the world's largest and most prestigious association for professional organists, and this new policy will help us to preserve and protect our well-deserved reputation for excellence.

If you have any questions about this change, please feel free to contact AGO Headquarters during business hours at 212-870-2310 or e-mail us here.

With all best wishes for a blessed Holiday season,

Sincerely yours,

James E. Thomashower
Executive Director

December 4, 2008

University of Alabama Church Music Conference

The University of Alabama School of Music 2009 Church Music Conference is celebrating "A Mendelssohn Year" with a unique and wonderful, world class series of events which will take place at the Moody School of Music on Friday and Saturday, January 30 and 31, 2009. Click here for the conference brochure.

On Friday evening, January 30 at 7:30 Gail Archer, organ faculty at Manhattan School of Music, Barnard College, and Columbia University will perform works by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Max Reger and others.

On Saturday, January 31 at 4:30 pm Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise will be performed by massed Tuscaloosa area church choirs under the direction of Dr. John Ratledge. Guest choirs from Independent Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, First United Methodist Church, Christ Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, Tuscaloosa including University Singers will also perform individually an anthem of its choice.

Saturday workshop topics include a lecture on Felix Mendelssohn and Company, organ masterclasses, handbells, Psalm singing, liturgical drama and dance, choral singing and a choral reading session. The Saturday sessions take place from 9-4:30 am.
Guest masterclass artists and clinicians include: Faythe Freese, Paul Houghtaling, Marvin Latimer, Jeff McLelland, Karen Nicolosi, John Orr, C. Noelle Partusch, John Ratledge, and Larry Smith. Cost is $85 if registered by noon on Friday, January 23, 2009. Registration at the door is $95.

Register online today!

December 1, 2008

Jacksonville Chapter to host Pedals, Pipes and Pizza

In 2009 the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will sponsor another Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza--a popular event designed to introduce young people to the organ.

This event will involve explanations and demonstrations of the pipe organ as an instrument. Students will have the opportunity to explore the organ console with the assistance of a teacher, and play a piece from their current repertoire. The primary purpose of the program is to expose them to the instrument and to expand their keyboard experiences.

Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza will be held on Saturday, February 7, 2009 from 9am to approximately 2:30pm, beginning with the organ at Riverside Park United Methodist Church at 819 Park Street in Jacksonville’s west side. A non-refundable $7.00 fee will include all materials and pizza.

Click here for the registration form.

Registrations should be returned not later than January 1, 2009 to:

Joanna Corbett
1348 Red Maple Court
Orange Park, FL 32073

Registrations will be limited to the first forty (40) students. All registered students will receive a copy of the schedule, directions, and a medical release form prior to the event.

If you have questions or need additional information, please call Jane Daugherty at 737-3218 OR the Dean of the Jacksonville Chapter, Rodney Cleveland, at 733-8055.

October 17, 2008

Our Organ events in the news

The "King of Instruments" is getting a lot of press with our Organ Spectacular and International Year of the Organ! You can read this article from Burlington, NC and more news from Nashville. E-mail more links, and I will share them here.
More news:

October 7, 2008

Organ Spectacular is almost here!

Organ Spectacular! — the World’s Largest Organ Concert, an international event celebrating the King of Instruments, will bring singular focus upon the unique value of the organ and the contribution of its art to the culture at large. This celebration of the organ is designed to increase appreciation for the enduring majesty of the instrument and its music in people of all ages and backgrounds.

On Sunday, October 19, 2008, the American Guild of Organists in cooperation with various other organ organizations, including the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) and the American Theater Organ Society (ATOS) will present more than 2,000 performers in more than 225 concert venues throughout North America and abroad. A family audience of more than 100,000 is expected to attend these concerts. In addition, special TV and radio organ music programming promoting the event will reach an estimated 300,000 people or more. This one-day celebration of the pipe organ is designed to increase public awareness of the organ and is one of various events celebrating the International Year of the Organ, 2008-09. The events comprising Organ Spectacular! — World’s Largest Organ Concert will feature the organ in its historic and evolving roles as a solo, accompanying and ensemble instrument — showcasing the talents of the nation’s leading professional organists in collaboration with some of the country’s most distinguished musical artists. Concert programs will feature the organ with dance companies, brass and other instrumental ensembles, acclaimed choral groups and vocal soloists, marching bands, symphony orchestras, and many other musical and arts organizations. Concerts will be presented in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout North America and abroad in a diverse array of settings — from performing arts centers and concert halls to churches, universities and outdoor pavilions. In addition to the great variety of instruments and performers presented with the organ, programs will feature “informances,” organ “crawls,” multimedia presentations, and audiovisual enhancements.

Included on the program in many locations will be the winning composition of a competition held just for this concert. Also included will be a work by Stephen Paulus commissioned for this day.

Organ Spectacular! was created as a result of the 2000 “Pipes Spectacular--the World’s Largest Organ Recital.” That celebration, with hundreds of simultaneous performances nationwide that commemorated the Centenary of the AGO’s founding, became the most successful community outreach effort in the history of the organ in the United States. There are numerous concerts taking place in our region on October 19. The AGO website lists all the known Organ Spectacular events.

September 17, 2008

Thanks to these chapters for contributing to the Annual Fund!

I would like to acknowledge the following Chapters in Region IV that contributed to the 2007-08 AGO Annual Fund :
Atlanta (Ga.) Chapter
Boone (N.C.) Chapter
Charlotte (N.C.) Chapter
Clearwater (Fla.) Chapter
East Alabama Chapter
East Carolina (N.C.) Chapter
Jacksonville (Fla.) Chapter
Nashville (Tenn.) Chapter
NE North Carolina Chapter
Pensacola (Fla.) Chapter
Sarasota-Manatee (Fla.) Chapter
Southwest Florida Chapter
Western North Carolina Chapter
Wilmington (N.C.) Chapter
Congratulations, and THANK YOU for your gifts!

Some interesting statistics: 27% of our region’s chapters contributed, compared with 31% nationally. The average amount given by our region’s chapters was $155.94. Although this is up 104% from last year, the average nationally was $208.09.

The Guild does not function solely on membership dues, but relies heavily on gifts. I would love to see at least 50% of our chapters on this list a year from now! Contributions from individual donors are also welcome!

Will YOUR Chapter be a host for an RCYO?

One important program of the Guild is its competitions. One of these is the AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO). It is for younger organists (mostly college age), starting at the local level, and concluding at the regional level. This event occurs every two years in conjunction with the Regional convention with a performance by the winner at the Regional Convention and at the National Convention as a Rising Star the following summer. Jonathan Hehn was the 2007 winner for Region IV.

Local chapters have an oppotunity to be involved. It is not an enormous amount of work to host a local competition, and it is extremely rewarding. My goal is to have eight chapters in our region to host a chapter competition. Please visit http://www.agohq.org/competitions/index.html to view additional information and to download the chapter application form. Please note that applications must be postmarked no later than October 18, 2008, for listing in the January 2009 issue of THE AMERICAN ORGANIST Magazine. No applications will be accepted after December 1, 2008. Please contact me if you have further questions.

August 26, 2008

Spartanburg Chapter to host Pedals, Pipes and Pizza

The Spartanburg Chapter will host a Pedals, Pipes and Pizza event on Saturday, February 7, 2009. This wonderful outreach program teaches young people about the organ. It is perfect for a group of young pianists, or anyone interested in seeing and hearing the organ up close and learning about the "King of Instruments." Help spread the word to area piano teachers and schools. If I knew how to put the brochure on here, I would, but if you want one, please e-mail me at shawbecker@redeemer.org, and I would be happy to send a PDF brochure to you. Please contact AGOSparkle @gmail.com for more information.

Tallahassee Church Music Conference, January 22-24, 2009

Jonathan Hehn, Director of the Tallahassee Church Music Conference, has asked me to help publicize this event, coming up in January. Here's what he says:
"The purpose of this conference is twofold. Primarily is a continuing education opportunity for regional church musicians and clergy. This is a way for our chapter to advance the educational causes of the Guild. Also, the conference "aims to increase the public awareness of church music practice in the Southeast by providing the public with concerts and worship services offering a broad and representative spectrum of music and worship." In this way we hope to further the primary cause of the Guild, which is to promote the arts of organ and choral music, without discounting the undeniable influence of other musical and liturgical styles. We have almost two dozen workshops and concerts this year and are very excited about our faculty, who include Marva Dawn, Boyd Jones, John Ferguson, Andre Thomas and several others." You can check out the website for full information.

Our Regional Calendar is up and Running

Now our members can see AGO events that are happening all over the region. I will be glad to post chapter events and other major organ and choral concerts and conferences. I hope that this will be a useful tool for folks traveling and for others who just want to see what's happening across our region. I will post events that include a chapter website or other e-mail for contact information. Feel free to share the calendar (and the whole blog) with non-members as well.

July 24, 2008

Charlotte Summer Recital Series

The Charlotte Chapter has had a hugely successful Summer Organ Recital Series for many years. All are invited to these concerts. This year the series received excellent publicity on the radio and in print. Patrick Pope, the sub-dean, was interviewed about the Summer Series as well as the POE. Here is a link to that radio interview:
The concert schedule is as follows:

2008 Charlotte Chapter AGO Summer Recital Series
For further information contact
Gay Pappin, Summer Series Coordinator, at gpappin@carolina.rr.com or see www.CharlotteAGO.org
All concert times are
7:30 p.m., unless noted otherwise.

6 - Christopher Brayne
Christ Church, Episcopal
1412 Providence Road

13 - Charlotte POE Opening Event
James David Christie
Baptist Church

301 S. Davidson Street

20 - Kenneth & Sharon DeBoer
Sardis Presbyterian Church
6100 Sardis Road

27 - Darwin Shaver
Plaza Presbyterian Church
2304 The Plaza

1 - John Apple
Westminster Presbyterian Church
101 Colville Road

8 - Stephen & Susan Talley
Covenant Presbyterian Church
1000 E. Morehead Street

15 - Student Recital
Myers Park Presbyterian Church
2501 Oxford Place

Featuring the Stigall Scholarship
Recipients and students of the
Charlotte Chapter AGO

22 - Matthew W. Noonan
Ascension Lutheran Church
1225 E. Morehead Street

29 - RSCM Evensong (4:00 p.m.)
Myers Park Baptist Church
1931 Selwyn Avenue


3 - C. Justin Smith
First Baptist Church
301 S. Davidson Street

10 - Henry Lebedinsky
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
301 Caldwell Lane, Davidson, NC

17 - Timothy Belflowers
Myers Park Baptist Church
1931 Selwyn Avenue

24 - Leon Couch
Covenant Presbyterian Church
1000 E. Morehead Street

31 - Larry Stratemeyer
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
1621 Dilworth Road, East

July 9, 2008

Congratulations to our successful exam candidates!

Certification is a very important part of the Guild; in fact, it's part of our mission statement. I would like to publicly congratulate the people in our region who successfully passed exams this past year:

Associate (AAGO)
Ivan Frazier, Northeast Georgia Chapter

Colleague (CAGO)
Marty Barstow, East Carolina Chapter
Robert Knupp, Jackson Chapter
John S. Palmer, Memphis Chapter
Joy A. Smith-Briggs, Northeast TN-Southwest VA Chapter
Casey Whaley, Independent Member

Service Playing (SPC)
Christin Baker, East Carolina Chapter
Mary E. Dixon, Southwest Florida Chapter
Glenda Fuhrmann, Western North Carolina Chapter
John M. Gentry, Atlanta Chapter
Thomas A. Ingui, Treasure Coast Chapter

For the certification requirements for 2009, please check out the July issue of The American Organist, or go to the certification page on the AGO website.

July 7, 2008

Region IV Annual Meeting

During the national convention of the AGO, held this past month in the Twin Cities, we had a wonderful meeting of our region. After a roll call of chapters (Nashville won with the most members present!), I introduced the seven District Conveners and two Regional Coordinators for our region, and thanked them for their work, along with the Regional Nominating Committee.

Our region was well represented at the national convention, with the following people: Cal Johnson was installed on the National Council as Treasurer and Councillor for Finance and Development; Jonathan Hehn performed a Rising Star recital; and Herb Buffington was awarded Third Prize and the Audience Prize at the National Competition for Organ Improvisation. In addition, the following people from our region presented workshops and/or recitals: David Arcus, Joby Bell, William Gudger, Wilma Jensen, Roy Roberts, Herndon Spillman, Calvin Taylor and Charles Tompkins. We are very proud of the talented people in our region!

I was pleased to report that registration for the Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) in Charlotte this summer is full. The Macon, GA Chapter will host our region's POE in 2009.

Roy Roberts, Co-coordinator of the January 2010 Mid-winter conference in Sarasota, spent time promoting that event. (Please note that this will take the place of our usual summer convention next year.) The Greensboro, NC Chapter is preparing to host the 2011 summer regional convention. And, of course, Nashville is gearing up to host the 2012
National convention!

Along with reminding those present about the International Year of the Organ, Organ Spectacular, the Annual Fund, the Endowment Fund, and Officer Report Forms, throughout the meeting I intermittently drew names for 6 different prizes. In order to receive the prize, the winner had to answer a question. Appropriately, the last question was this: Name one person in the AGO who has supported you in the past year. John, who had just been honored for passing the Guild's Service Playing Exam, answered that there were not one, but two people - those who had helped him (with free lessons and monthly classes) to prepare for the exams. We could not have ended the meeting more perfectly than with that example of what the Guild is all about - education, striving for excellence, and mutual support and inspiration.