Welcome to the
Saint Louis Chapter
American Guild of Organists!
Our Purpose is to . . . .
- promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles
- encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music
- provide a forum for mutual support, inspirational education, and certification of Guild members.
The AGO has 20,000 members in 348 chapters throughout the United States, Europe, Korea and Argentina.
Calendar of AGO Saint Louis Chapter Events
» come, and discover us at any of these events «
Saturday, March 14, 2015 (morning; breakfast) — Dr. A. Dennis Sparger, the 2014 recipient of our Chapter’s Avis Blewett Award, is well known to all of us as a local leader in the interpretation of the choral works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Saturday, 14 March at 10:00 at, we will enjoy Dr. Sparger’s presentation focusing on the Passions of Bach at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Breakfast will be at 9:00.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LOCATION HAS CHANGED
Due to a “St. Patrick’s Day Race” in downtown St. Louis, we have changed the location from Centenary United Methodist Church, and the new location is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Location (Google Maps): https://goo.gl/maps/MLRng
Monday, April 20, 2015 (evening; dinner) — Another of our local musical luminaries, Dr. Stephen Mager, will present a program entitled “Taking the Mystery out of Composition” at Bethel Lutheran Church in Clayton on Monday evening, 20 April at 7:30. For all who dream of composing, arranging and perhaps publishing music, this will be an informative evening! Dinner will be at 6:30.
Monday, May 4, 2015 (evening; dinner) — Chapter co-sponsor’s a recital by the duo-organist team of Elizabeth and Raymond Chenault on the splendid Casavant at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood. Dinner will be served at 6.30.
Monday, May 18, 2015 (evening; dinner) —
Our Chapter’s Annual Dinner and Meeting will be held at the Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard. Monday evening, 18 May at 6:30.
Thomas Herzer, Kantor of the famous Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, is touring the United States early this year to raise money for the relocation and rebuilding of a chancel pipe organ in the Castle Church (think Martin Luther in 1517 and his 95 Theses, as Europe prepares its 500th anniversary celebration of Reformation in 2015).
After six concert events east of the Mississippi, Herzer will present a final concert here in St. Louis May 18, 2015, following the American Guild of Organists’s 6:30 p.m. dinner meeting. The recital commences at 7:30 p.m.
The AGO has opened the free concert to the public. Herzer will play the newlyrenovated organ at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, 1805 South Eighth.
Thomas Herzer was born in St. Ingbert, Saarland, in 1976 and completed training as a parttime church musician in the Palatinate state church in 1997. Herzer began studying at the Evangelical School of Church Music in Halle (Saale) and spent an influential year of study in the United States at the University of NebraskaLincoln and a community internship at the Catholic St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2003, Thomas Herzer completed his studies in Halle, and since then has worked together with his wife, Sarah Herzer, at Lutheran Theological Seminary and at the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Their duties include the musical education of the men and women vicars of four East German state churches, as well as the management of the Castle Church’s music regular services and concerts.
Trinity’s historic pipe organ was built by the Pfeffer Organ Company for the opening of Trinity’s original church in Soulard in 1864. It was remodeled by the Kilgen Organ Company after the cyclone of 1896 into a more romantic instrument. The Schantz Company, Orville, OH, restored about 20 of the older ranks and added many new voices as well, widening its range and making the Trinity organ one of the largest church organs in the area.
Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, founded in 1839 is one of 14 founding parishes of today’s Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, headquartered in Kirkwood, MO. It’s second pastor, Rev. Dr. C.F.W. Walther was the Synod’s first president, as well as president of the early Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Trinity also founded the forerunner of today’s Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis. Walther, a theologian, composer and hymnist, is said to have played the original Pfeffer organ, some of which ranks remain today. Today Trinity is a large, active and diverse parish, serving the homeless in Soulard.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 (evening; no dinner) — as a Prelude to the Regional Convention, Sunday evening 21 June, the Chapter co-sponsor’s a recital by Christopher Houlihan at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Soulard. This will, undoubtedly, be a spectacular conclusion to our Program Year as well as a stunning pre-convention event! The recital will be at 7:00 p.m.
About our Chapter
» The chapter now known as the Saint Louis Chapter #633 of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) was originally chartered as the Missouri Chapter on October 23, 1911. In February of 1955, we officially became the Saint Louis Chapter. Saint Louis was privileged to host the 1948 AGO National Convention. The 1948 Convention was the first post-war convention and was organized largely by Dr. Howard Kelsey, former Washington University professor in the Department of Music in Arts and Sciences.
» Dr. Kelsey served as the University organist at Washington University for more than 30 years. During that time he established one of the naation’s first programs in historical performance practice as well as a nationally acclaimed program in organ. He supervised two-dozen PH.D. students, over a dozen Fulbright scholars, and scores of master’s degree students. He helped many of his students secure positions at major churches and universities across the United States and abroad.
» Mid-Winter conclaves were held in Saint Louis in 1956 and 1975. In 1985, Saint Louis was the site for an AGO Regional Convention. Saint Louis has also hosted two Pipe Organ Encounters (2006 and 2010.) The Saint Louis chapter has been selected as the site for the 2015 North Central Region Convention. Andrew Peters, pastoral musician at Second Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis has been selected as the convention coordinator.
» Our Chapter welcomes in membership anyone interested in organ and choral music. All are welcome without regard to his/her proficiency, experience, employment status or age. As we move into our second century, we welcome your participation, solicit your ideas and suggestions, and invite you to visit a meeting and program and join us in our love of organ and choral music. Our goal is to encourage individual expression, abolish the barriers of elitism and expand our chapter’s relevance to all of its members. I encourage you to be vocal about your observations and help us be responsive to and inclusive of all our members.
» As the Dean, I welcome you and look forward to seeing you at a meeting or program very soon. «
Soli Deo Gloria, Dawn E. Riske Dean, Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org