March 2014 Newsletter

The Opus – March 2014 – PDF file


Our March program is an Improvisation Workshop with Richard K. Fitzgerald. I met Richard about a year ago through our mutual friend Richard Thompson (guild member). Richard is a world-class performer, teacher, and improviser—we’re very excited to have him in residency for the March program! He has requested to have a few volunteers to work with at the workshop. If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact me as soon as possible via the contact information listed at the bottom of this article. Also, if anyone would like to have a private lesson with him while he is in town, please contact me as soon as possible to schedule the lesson. It is important for each of us to take advantage of these accessible opportunities for professional development!

Richard has extensive experience in teaching, performing, and as a church musician. He is the Associate Director of Music at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. From 2003 to 2007, Richard served the Basilica of the National Shrine as the Assistant Director of Music. Other positions Richard has held in the Washington, DC area have been Church of the Resurrection (Catholic), Burtonsville, MD where he was the principal organist, and at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Silver Spring, MD where he was the director of music and organist.

In October of 2013 Richard won first prize in the 2nd Annual Competition in Organ Improvisation sponsored by the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, Richard taught organ improvisation at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, MD as part of the Resources for the Contemporary Church Musician course offering. As a doctoral student at Peabody, Richard prepared his dissertation on a method for organ improvisation pedagogy. Richard has presented entirely improvised performances at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (Wilmington, Delaware) and National City Christian Church (Washington, DC) and another all-improvised performance at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Layfayette Square (Washington, DC) on January 8th, 2014. Richard has studied improvisation with Ronald Stolk and has received coaching from Rachel Laurin, Peter Latona, and Jeffrey Brillhart.

Richard has published choral pieces with GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago, Illinois. His compositions appear in the Evoking Sound Choral Series, James Jordan, Executive Editor. He has received commissions and his work has earned him favorable reviews in such periodicals as The Hymn, Choir and Organ, Pastoral Music, and The American Organist. Richard’s Mass in Honor of Saint Bernadette, a setting for organ and congregation of the ICEL ©2011 translation of the mass, has been published on the Corpus Christi Watershed website.

An experienced recitalist, Richard has performed at such venues as St. Mary the Virgin Anglo-Catholic Church (Manhattan, New York City), the Princeton University Chapel (Princeton, NJ), The Franciscan Monastery (Washington, DC), The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC), and National City Christian Church (Washington, DC). In March 2008, Richard made a debut performance on Pipedreams (American Public Media) in a program entitled The American Muse in which he performed a work by American composer Kevin Daly.

Richard received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was a student of John Walker. He was awarded a full scholarship as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Music Theory at Peabody, where he assisted composer Dr. Joel Puckett. He holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. While at Westminster, Richard sang with the Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt.

Stephen Eros, Subdean

The Details
Event: Improvisation Workshop
Location: First Congregational United Church of Christ
6501 Wydown Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63105
Date: Monday, March 24, 2014
Time: Dinner – 6:30pm; Workshop – 7:00 pm
Host: Ron Hall
Cost: Dinner $10 with a reservation; $12 at the door
Reservations: Kathleen Bolduan (314-725-1251 or
Please confirm reservation by Wednesday, March 19th

From I-64 (East): Take the exit onto S. Big Bend Blvd. Turn left onto S. Big Bend Blvd. Turn right onto Wydown Blvd. Make a U-turn at University Lane. The church is on your right.

From I-64 (West) Illinois: Take Exit 34B onto Clayton Rd./Skinker Blvd. Turn right onto S. Skinker Blvd. Turn left onto Wydown Blvd. The church is on the right.

From the Dean…

Thanks to Wes Kassulke, Bruce Kraemer, and Norbert Krausz for hosting the “Belated Epiph- any Party” on January 20. Everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed a variety of delicious food and libation.

Thanks to Chuck Peery, MorningStar Music Publishers and the program committee for a very successful Choral Read Through at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on January 27, 2014.

The Elections for Officers and the class of 2017 of the Executive Committee will occur by mail and at the April 28, 2014 meeting at 6:30 pm at our Members’ Recital: Organ plus One at King of Kings Lutheran Church, 13765 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield, MO 63017, phone: 314-469-2224. The Nominating Committee timeline is to submit to the Executive Committee by March 1, its slate of nominees for officers and the Class of 2017. The slate will be communicated to the membership in March. Should anyone desire to submit a nomination petition for a member not included on the committee’s slate, he/she has until April 1, 2014 to submit a nomination petition for another candidate by obtaining the sponsorship of 5 members in good standing and submit the nomination petition to our Secretary, Cathy Cassy ( Ballots will be distributed by mail in April and at the April program as described above. If you have any questions about the process or need additional information, please contact Brent Johnson ( I encourage everyone to vote! We have historically not had a very robust participation in the election of Guild leadership. Please protect your right to complain and exercise your right to vote!

OPUS UPDATE – The OPUS printed newsletter is currently our primary method of reaching our membership. We also utilize the Chapter Website (, e-mail and e-mail blasts to communicate time sensitive material, changes in programs, or corrections

As I mentioned in the last Newsletter (February, 2014), there is an OPUS ad hoc committee considering digital alternatives to a paper newsletter. I have received only one response from my request for comments from the membership about your recommendations and preferences. I encourage you to contact me, Bill Wade at or by an unblocked phone at 314-258-2520, with your suggestions, preferences, and comments about the OPUS as it exists and the prospects of switching to an online newsletter. The final recommendations of the committee will be reported to the Executive Committee for action at the May Executive Meeting on May 12, 2014. Our current proposals include an online newsletter, periodic reminder postcards, e-mail updates and additions or changes to the upcoming schedule and the use of social media (Facebook and Twitter). Our current Facebook page is: (

GALA Benefit Celebration to honor Charles Callahan. Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:00 PM at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Mr. Callahan’s recital will begin at 7:00 PM and the GALA reception will follow at the Chase Park Plaza. The recital is free and open to the public. Tickets for the GALA Benefit Reception are $125 each and can be purchased through or by calling 212-870-2311 (ext. 4308) or e-mail – We look forward to welcoming our national leadership from AGO HQ who will be with us in St. Louis honoring Charles Callahan. $100 of each ticket will go to the AGO Endowment Fund. We have been asked to publicize the event to our chapter members, in our newsletter and on our chapter website. I can send you a display ad that can be printed and displayed at your church, school, or throughout the community. Our support will be invaluable to the success of this event. There are further details elsewhere in this newsletter.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Bill Wade, Dean

American Guild of Organists Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist Award
Recital and Gala Benefit Reception Honoring Charles Callahan

Friday, April 25, 2014, St. Louis, Missouri

Recital at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Free and open to the public.

Gala Benefit Reception following at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Tickets required, advance purchase only.

Gala Tickets–$125 per person ($100 tax deductible), includes preferred seating at the Recital and admission to Gala Benefit Reception. Space is limited. Gala tickets are on sale through April 18 or until sold out. The names of those who purchase tickets on or before April 1 will be published in the commemorative program book.

Gala Contribution–Support the Gala or “participate from a distance” by making a tax-deductible contribution to the AGO Endowment Fund in honor of Charles Callahan. All gifts made through April 1 will be listed in the commemorative program book.

Gala Advertising–Gala Commemorative Program Book Advertisement (half-page)
Half-page display ad, 7 x 4.75, landscape orientation, color or b/w: Price: $500, includes one (1) Gala ticket

Gala Commemorative Program Book Advertisement (full-page)
Full-page display ad, 7 x 10, portrait orientation, color or b/w: Price: $1,000, includes two (2) Gala tickets.

Gala Commemorative Program Book Advertisement (cover II, III, or IV)
Cover display ad, 81?2 x 11 (plus .25 inch bleed), portrait orientation, color or b/w: Price: $1,500, includes four (4) Gala tickets.

Please send press-optimized Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file with graphics and fonts embedded to:
Advertising deadline is April 1, 2014.

Planning for the 2015 North Central Regional Convention in St. Louis is underway. Here are some of the artists you can look forward to hearing at the convention:

  • John Behnke, Mequon, Wisconsin
  • Christopher Marks, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Anna Meyong, Lawrence Kansas
  • Thomas Murray, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Barbara Raedeke, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Gateway Ringers Bell Choir, St. Louis, Missouri

The 2014 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance Winner
The 2015 North Central Regional Competition for Young Organists Winner

In addition to hearing these musicians perform, you’ll have the opportunity to meet, talk, share, and learn from them as well. Watch you Opus Newsletter for updates on the schedule, locations, lectures, and clinics that will be offered at this convention, or visit the convention website at WWW.AGO2015.ORG. We can still use your support to help make this convention a success. Your contributions are welvome. You can contribute online through the website, or by making a check out to AGO 2015 Regional Convention and sending it to the address below. We can’t wait to see you there!

AGO North Central Regional Convention – June 22-24, 2015

Contributions to the convention are tax-deductible. For more details, contact Andrew Peters at 314-367-0367, Please send your contributions to AGO 2015 Regional Convention, Attn: Mike Kaberline, Treasurer, PO Box 140067, St. Louis, MO 63114-0067


Publish or Perish, Talk or Tumble, Change or Die
Installment III (Conclusion)

(Reprinted courtesy of the Committee on Membership Development and Chapter Support (COMDACS).

(Last month’s installment described the situation faced by the author, Howard Slenk, as he approached taking leadership of the Grand Rapids Chapter of the AGO)

Following these same procedures as Dean was very fruitful, and leads me to make the following suggestions:

  1. l. Talk, talk, talk with the officers of the Executive Committee, the Web-master, and the editor of the Newsletter.
  2. 2. Talk with the six Members-at-Large. Encourage them to welcome new members at your monthly meetings. By initiating a Buddy System, each Member-at-Large can shepherd a new member for a meeting or two.
  3. 3. Talk, talk, talk, if a meal is served. Ask the six Members-at-Large and the officers to each sit at a separate table, and encourage friendly interchange among everyone.
  4. 4. Encourage all members to talk about the guild to their friends and acquaintances.
  5. 5. Serve good food (and wine, when you can) at the monthly dinners. They promote camaraderie and stimulate conversation.
  6. 6. Talk, talk, talk with the persons who are full-time directors of music in the big downtown churches. They have budgets, and perhaps a concert series, and maybe even patrons. Ask them to schedule their concerts on the same weekend the chapter is meeting. With this system of piggy-backing, we were able to have at our meetings all within one season: Raymond Haan, Marilyn Mason, Janette Fishell, and Paul Jacobs. The following season included appearances at our meetings by Huw Lewis, Gillian Weir, Matsaaki Suzuki of the Japanese Bach Collegium, and Martin Neary. For a city the size of Grand Rapids, these are outstanding rosters, probably unequaled by any other guild chapters those two years. They were the result of TALK, TALK, TALK.


My oldest son is an engineer for the Boeing Space Corporation in California. He told me once that the plant where he works has as its motto: Change or Die. This was a very helpful motto to have when President Obama cancelled the space shuttle a few years ago, something my son had worked on for decades. He still has his job because he was prepared for change.

We have been told by our AGO leaders for a very long time, that our organization is shrinking. The statistics are pretty scary. We need change badly.

Our monthly journal needs drastic change. Do you realize that the format of the TAO is basically the same as that of the Diapason that I read when I was a teen-aged member of the guild, sixty-five years ago. Think of how often Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report have changed their format. Over and over again, sometimes much to our disgust. But people still read them. I don’t know about you, but I have little interest in our monthly journal. I am a visual person, and I find it unattractive, even with the new color. It doesn’t have to be glitzy, but it should at least change from time to time. One should have the feeling that one has when he picks up Time or Newsweek: THIS IS IMPORTANT, which he won’t have if a distant organ is pictured on the cover.

The formats of our regional and national conventions should change and have new types of presentations. Chapters should change the types of monthly programs we present, and not rely on simply repeating projects and workshops and lectures and recitals that we’ve heard before. Our chapter, for example, initiated a very successful Composer of the Year award, and devoted an entire meeting to the choral and organ music of that person. Each one of the four was a local person, but it doesn’t have to be. We also began an season-opening Guild dedication service involving all the AGO chapters of Western Michigan.

We should appoint young people to be our Members-at-large, to be our presenters, to be our local, regional, and national officers. Even though they are few, we should use the ones that we do have. Too many college and high-school students have said to me that when they attended a guild meeting, no one talked to them.

Promote audience-friendly organ recitals. During my deanship I wrote a lengthy editorial entitled “The Organ Recital in America,” which was a sharp criticism of the typical organ recital in our country. It was radical enough that I expected there might even be a letter or two to the editor in our monthly Newsletter. One member called me and told me she agreed with my point of view. I have several copies here if any of you are interested in reading it.

While I was working on this editorial, I ran some ideas past my daughter. She said: “Dad, I don’t understand it. You have this large and magnificent instrument. It’s an orchestra at your disposal. You play it with both hands and both feet. The organ should be WAY COOL. Why isn’t it?” You can read why I think it isn’t in this editorial.

In conclusion I repeat: Change or die. Take your pick. We love our profession. We love church music. We love the organ and the music for it. And we are under attack. It is a noble cause we represent. American Guild of Organists, PUBLISH—TALK—CHANGE. And please, don’t die.

Handchimes Available for Use by Church or School

The MO chapter of the Handbell Musicians of America has a 3-octave set of Malmark Choirchimes with reproducible secular/sacred music that will be available for the 2014-15 school year, at no cost except insurance coverage for that semester or year. The deadline for application is June 1 for placement by July 1, 2014.

These Choirchimes are hand-held, aluminum, pitched, percussion tube, struck by a clapper attached to the outside and are often used along with Orff instruments, handbells, keyboard and vocal ensembles. There are multiple tubes, matching keyboard pitches of three octaves of notes, so many students, young and old can play music together.

Please forward this information to the appropriate person overseeing your fine arts department for a discussion on the placement of this loaner set of Choirchimes in your school or church. This offer is available to all schools and churches in the state of Missouri.

Anne Miller
Handchime Coordinator, MO Handbell Musicians of America or 636-349-1817 for more information and an application packet

Upcoming Concerts


Saturday, March 1—7:30 p.m.—Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, McKendree University. Broadway Pops. Our annual promenade down the Great White Way! Music from West Side Story, Mary Poppins, The Music Man, and more. The Masterworks Chorale and Jazz Ensemble and The Masterworks Children’s Choruses. Dr. Stephen Mager, Music Director and Conductor. Tickets: adults $15 in advance, $20 at the door; children $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Phone orders: 618-236-0182 or by mail (see website for order form–

Sunday, March 2—2:00 p.m.—Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. St. Louis Brass Band, Dr. John Bell, Conductor. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Sunday, March 2—4:00 p.m.—Second Presbyterian Church Couts Music Series–Silent Movie: Safety Last! Romantic comedy from 1923 starring cinema legend Harold Lloyd as a young man trying to succeed in the big city to impress his girlfriend. The climax includes the famous scene of Lloyd dangling from the hands of a large clock. Organist Andrew Peters provides an improvised accompaniment. 4501 Westminster Place (at Taylor), St. Louis, Missouri 63108. For more information: Andrew Peters, 367-0366;

Saturday, March 8—7:00 p.m.—Webster Groves Christian Church Monmouth College Choirs. The Monmouth Chorale and The Monmouth Chamber Choir under the direction of Professor Tim Pahel have toured extensively both nationally and internationally. 1320 West Lockwood Ave. St. Louis, MO 63122

Sunday, March 9—2:00 p.m.—Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. Young Artists Competition Win- ners, sponsored by the St. Louis Music Teachers Association. Free of charge. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Saturday, March 15—8:00 p.m.—Cathedral Basilica Stile Antico–early music vocal ensemble. Works by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Morley, Thomas Weelkes, Robert White and John Taverner. $19.00, $29.00, $39.00. 4431 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108. Ticket orders: (314) 533-7662 or online, www.Cathedral

Sunday, March 16—2:00 p.m.—Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. Gateway Brass Ensemble: “Back to Bach,” celebrating the 329th birthday of J. S. Bach (March 21, 1685). Free of charge. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Sunday, March 23—5:00 p.m.—Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. Evensong–The Cathedral Choir. Free of charge. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Sunday, March 30—10:15 a.m.— Webster Groves Presbyterian Church—Worship Service. The Rosewood String Ensemble 45 West Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119 Contact: Shawn Portell, Director of Music Ministries/Sr. Organist 314-962-9210 x 3108

Sunday, March 30 –3:00 p.m.—Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church Gateway Brass Ensemble: “Back to Bach.” Freewill offering. 9450 Clayton Road, Ladue, MO 63124

Sunday, March 30, 2014—10:15 a.m.— Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Worship Service. The Rosewood String Ensemble 45 West Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119 Contact: Shawn Portell, Director of Music Ministries/ Sr. Organist 314-962-9210 x 3108

Sunday, March 30—3:00 p.m.—First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood The Bach Society of Saint Louis Chorus & Orchestra. Passion of our Lord according to St. John by J.S. Bach. The Bach Society Chorus & Orchestra are joined by six outstanding soloists including tenor William Watson as the Evangelist, baritone Stephen Morscheck in the role of Jesus, countertenor Jay Carter, tenor Lawrence Jones, bass Curtis Streetman and introducing soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg. The St John Passion provides a meaningful preparation for Lent with its dramatic representation of the Passion as told in the Bible in the Gospel of John. It is constructed of dramatically presented recitatives and choruses, commented by reflective chorales and arias, framed by an opening chorus and a final one, followed by a last chorale. Ticket prices range from $20-$40 and can be purchased online at Student rush tickets are available at the door for $10 cash with a valid student ID. 100 E Adams Avenue, Kirkwood, MO 63122.


Sunday, April 6–3:00 p.m.—Saint Paul UCC, Belleville IL Voices of Spring. The Masterworks Children’s Choruses, Dr. Stephen Mager, Music Director and Conductor. Tickets: adults $15 in advance, $20 at the door; children $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Phone orders: 618-236-0182 or by mail (see website for order form–

Sunday, April 6–p.m.—Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. A Concert of Newly Composed Music. Composition Students of Webster University. Free of charge. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Tuesday, April 8–8:00 p.m.—Cathedral Basilica St. Louis Symphony and Chorus, David Robertson, Conductor. Program includes works by Messain and Bruckner’s Te Deum. $24.00, $34.00, $44.00. 4431 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108. Ticket orders: (314) 533-7662 or online, www.Cathedral

Friday, April 11—6:30 P.M.—Palladium Saint Louis The Bach Society of Saint Louis and St. Louis Sings “A Bachanalia Fundraising Gala” with the theme, Turn Bach the Clock. The evening will begin at 6:30 with hors oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction.followed by dinner and musical entertainment by the Bach Society 2013-2014 Young Artists. Individual seating available for $150 ($100 Young Friends—under 40) at Tables of 10 or 12 also available. Information: Ex. Dir., Melissa Payton: or (314) 652-2224. 1400 Park Place, Saint Louis, MO 63104 (Near the intersection of Park Ave. + Truman Blvd)

Sunday, April 13—10:15 a.m. Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Palm Sunday Hymn Festival of Praise (Celebrating the new Presbyterian Hymnal – Glory to God) Worship Service—Chancel Choir and guest instrumentalists. 45 West Lockwood Ave. Webster Groves, MO 63119 Contact: Shawn Portell, Director of Music Ministries/Sr. Organist 314-962-9210 x 3108

Sunday, April 13–4:00 p.m.–Second Presbyterian Church Couts Music Series–Organ Recital. Andrew Peters closes the 2013- 2014 Couts Music Series with a varied program on the church’s 60-rank Schantz organ. Peters has won awards in several organ competitions and plays recitals across the United States. Program includes works of J. S. Bach, Hindemith, Joseph Jongen and concludes with the exciting “Finale” from Louis Vierne’s Third Symphony. 4501 Westminster Place (at Taylor), St. Louis, Missouri 63108. For more information: Andrew Peters, 367-0366 or

Sunday, April 13–5:00 p.m.–Christ Church Cathedral Shepley Program of Music and Art. Palm Sunday Evensong, The Cathedral Choir. 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103-2322

Sunday, April 20—10:15 a.m.—Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Worship Service—Lockwood Brass 45 West Lockwood Ave. Webster Groves, MO 63119 Contact: Shawn Portell, Director of Music Ministries/Sr. Organist 314-962-9210 x 3108


West End United Methodist Church, located in an urban setting in Nashville, Tennessee, is seeking a full time Minister of Music. Our church of more than 2200 members strongly supports a traditional music program that is nationally known for excellence. The music ministry, which provides music for the weekly liturgical services, includes adult choirs, handbell choirs, and children’s choirs along with concerts accompanied by orchestra and a variety of other worship services. All applicants will be seriously considered as the committee wishes to find the best fit for the position. Willingness for a long-term commitment along with ten years of experience and a Master’s degree are preferred. For more details or to apply, please go to All applications must be received by January 31, 2014 with an employment start date of August 2014.

Webster Hills United Methodist Church, St. Louis, MO is seeking an enthusiastic and creative Organist/Accompanist. We seek a person who can contribute to a dynamic music ministry that helps our church attract and welcome those into Christian worship, as well as empower those with gifts for music ministry live out the fullness of their discipleship. Primary responsibilities of this position include accompanying the music ministry during Sunday morning worship and special services throughout the year. Webster Hills United Methodist Church is a multi-generational blended family of God’s people who share faith and life together. Our community has been a prominent landmark on the corner of Berry and Lockwood since 1932. The organist/accompanist is a member of the ministry staff of the church, and is supervised by the Director of Music Ministry and the Lead Pastor. This is a 1/4 time position (10 hrs/week) paid monthly and guided by AGO salary standards. Weddings and funerals are considered above and beyond the 1/4 position. To apply please e-mail a resume and (3) references to: Live auditions will be part of the selection process. We will begin reviewing applications on February 20, 2014 until the position is filled.