Revised and Approved January, 2012


The American Guild of Organists is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 in New York City, the Guild has grown to serve over 20,000 members through 330 local chapters in communities in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The fundamental purpose of the Guild, as stated in its Bylaws, is as follows:

  1. To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understand, appreciation, and enjoyment.
  2. To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
  3. To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
  4. To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.

Under the leadership of a seventeen member National Council, a network of volunteer committees and officials at the regional, state, and local levels directs the activities of the Guild. A professional staff at headquarters in New York City coordinates publication, administration and development activities of the organization. For purposes of administration and representation, the Guild is divided into nine geographical regions, and each chapter is assigned to one of them.

As a Guild official, you are responsible for contributing to the health and well being of the organization at large. All Guild Business should be conducted competently, equitably, and always with the fulfillment of the above listed purposes in mind.

The American Guild of Organists
National Headquarters and THE AMERICAN ORGANIST Magazine
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260
New York, NY 10115

Membership is open to all and includes professional musicians working the sacred music and education as well as clergy, students, amateur musicians, suppliers to the field, and dedicated supporters.

As both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards, to promote understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music, and to improve non-musical aspects of the working lives of its professional members. Guild sponsored activities include a series of examinations for professional certification as well as programs and an extensive list of publications, audiocassettes and learning resources for all levels of interest. The Guild sponsors competitions in organ performance and improvisation and in organ and choral composition. National and regional conventions held in alternate years, present the finest performers. THE AMERICAN ORGANIST magazine, published monthly by the AGO, is the most widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world.

Mission Statement

The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to enrich lives through organ and choral music.  
To achieve this, we: Encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music; Inspire, educate, and offer certification for organists and choral conductors; Provide networking, fellowship, and mutual support; Nurture future generations of organists; Promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and Engage wider audiences with organ and choral music.

Information about Guild publications, membership materials, regions and chapters, and certification may be found at

Recommended Chapter Operating Procedures

(approved by the National Council as amended in March of 2006)

Effective administration of a Chapter proceeds from first defining the tasks to be done and then seeing that authority is delegated to persons willing and able to accomplish the tasks. Chapter Operating Procedures help to clarify those tasks by providing job descriptions for the various positions and committees appointed by the Chapter. Chapter Operating Procedures also facilitate smooth Chapter operation by providing an enduring source documenting procedures and policies of the Chapter. AGO National Bylaws are a sufficient basis for most normal Chapter operations, although some Chapters find that adoption of a set of Operating Procedures eases management of affairs unique to a particular Chapter. While no Chapter is required to adopt its own Operating Procedures, formulation of appropriate Chapter Operating Procedures will take into account local needs and traditions that will vary from one community to another.

The Officers of the Chapter, beginning with the Dean, are the persons charged with seeing that Chapter business is properly and efficiently carried out. Most important among the Dean’s duties are assuring that volunteers are matched with tasks appropriate to their personal availability, interests, and skills, delegating authority that enables them to accomplish their assigned jobs, and encouraging their work with supportive oversight. Other Chapter officials required by the National Bylaws are those of Secretary and Treasurer.

Of the various optional offices the position of Sub-Dean may be most useful to a Chapter. Typically the Sub-Dean is the Director of the Program Committee. This office can provide experience in the Chapter that may prepare future Deans. While there is no formal expectation that a sitting Sub-Dean will be nominated for the office of Dean in a future election, such is the practice in many Chapters.

Standing committees can facilitate the smooth operation of the Chapter. Chapters may choose among the examples of Standing Committees given in the sample handbook on the AGO website or create others as needed to accomplish special program needs or administrative purposes.

All Chapter Operating Procedures must be in accordance with the National Bylaws of the Guild (, and must be submitted to headquarters for review.



On (this date), the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists do adopt the following as OPERATING PROCEDURES, which are in accordance and agreement with the National Bylaws of the American Guild of Organists, as adopted April 13, 1896 and amended through April 24, 2006.

SECTION I. NAME. The name of this organization shall be the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (hereinafter, “Chapter”), a subordinate unit of the national organization known as the American Guild of Organists.

SECTION II. STATEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSES. Article II, Section 1 of the National Bylaws is incorporated by reference, as if fully set out herein. Nothing in these OPERATING PROCEDURES shall be read, and none of the Chapter’s activities pursuant to these OPERATING PROCEDURES shall be undertaken or executed in a manner inconsistent with the fundamental purposes of the Guild.

SECTION III. CLASSES OF MEMBERSHIP. Article III, Sections 1-3 and Article VII, Section III of the National Bylaws are incorporated by reference as if fully set out herein. Besides the national dues, an additional assessment will be made for local Chapter dues, the amount to be established by the Executive Committee.


  1. OFFICERS. The officers of the Chapter shall be Dean*, Sub-Dean, Secretary*. Treasurer*. Registrar, Newsletter Editor, and Auditor. Nine (9) members of the Chapter shall be elected to the Executive Committee, according to the provisions of Paragraph 16 below. (*These officers are required by the National Bylaws.)
  2. DUTIES OF THE DEAN. The Dean shall be the chief executive officer of the Chapter, and as such, shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
    1. Preside at all meetings of the Chapter and Executive Committee when present.
    2. Nominate the Directors of all standing committees for appointment by the Executive Committee.
    3. Nominate, for appointment by the Executive Committee, a person or persons to fill vacancies that may occur as the result of death, resignation, incapacity, or removal or disqualification of any officer or duly elected member of the Executive Committee.
    4. Create, with the approval of the Executive Committee, committees and correlate the work of the Officers and standing committees.
    5. Serve as an ex-officio member of all committees, excluding the Nominating Committee.
    6. Submit reports at the general meetings of the Chapter, including issues and recommendations the Dean considers appropriate for consideration by the members of the Chapter.
    7. Carry into effect all directions and resolutions of the Chapter and Executive Committee and make such other reports to the Chapter and Executive Committee that the Dean deems necessary, or what policies of the Chapter or Executive Committee may require.
    8. Sign and countersign all contracts and other instruments for and on behalf of the Chapter pertaining to usual, regular, and ordinary affairs of the Chapter, as may be authorized by the Executive Committee.
    9. Serve as primary Chapter liaison with the District Convener, Regional Coordinator for Professional Development, Regional Coordinator for Education, Regional Councillor and Executive Director of the Guild.
    10. Remain in office for a term of two (2) years.
    11. Perform such other duties as are incidental to the execution of this office or that may be required of the Dean by the Executive Committee.
  1. DUTIES OF THE SUB-DEAN. The Sub-Dean, in the absence of the Dean of the Chapter, shall exercise all the powers and perform all the duties of the Dean of the Chapter. The Sub-Dean will serve as Director of the Program Committee (see SECTION VII below) and, as such, be responsible for planning the program for that year. This procedure assumes that in the interest of continuity, the Sub-Dean subsequently will be elected Dean. This is suggested procedure, but not mandatory.

The Sub-Dean shall remain in office for a term of two (2) years. The Sub-Dean shall perform other duties as are incidental to the execution of this office or that may be required of him/her by the Executive Committee. In case of the Dean’s death, resignation, or removal, the Sub-Dean will succeed to the office of Dean for the remainder of the Dean’s elected term.

  1. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY. The Secretary shall keep record books belonging to the Chapter and have custody of the minutes of the meetings of the Executive Committee and of general meetings of the Chapter. Such minutes of the Executive Committee shall include the names of those members who are present and absent as well as copies of the reports from all committees (including, but not limited to reports from the Treasurer and Registrar. The Secretary shall be the recorder of minutes of meetings. A summary of the Executive Committee meeting shall be published in OPUS. The Secretary may issue notices for all meetings of the Executive Committee, and make such reports and perform such other duties as are incidental to the execution of this office or that may be required by the Executive Committee. The Secretary may gather information about the Chapter and its activities each month and forward such information to National Headquarters for publication in The American Organist.
  1. DUTIES OF THE TREASURER. The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all financial records of the Chapter, and, as such, shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
  1. Supervise and have custody of all financial records of the Chapter and keep full and accurate accounts of the receipts and disbursements of the Chapter. These shall include
    1. Assets, liabilities, and fund balances
    2. Revenue and operating expenses
    3. Income and expenses for both Chapter and special activities, for example: programs, gifts/donations, P.O.E., concerts.
    4. All other financial records and documents deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.
  2. Cause all monies and credits to be deposited in the name and to the credit of the Chapter in such accounts and depositories as may be designated by the Executive Committee.
  3. Send to National Headquarters the portion of members’ dues required, according to the current dues structure of the American Guild of Organists as approved by National Council. Provide a list of paid members including their class of membership and dues category.
  4. Disburse, or supervise the disbursement of all other funds of the Chapter in accordance with the authority granted by the Executive Committee, taking proper vouchers to correspond to the disbursement.
  5. Prepare and submit such reports or statements of the Chapter’s finances and accounts as may be requested by the Executive Committee.
  6. Sign and/or countersign such instruments requiring his/her signature.
  7. Serve as a member of the Finance Committee.
  8. Perform such other duties incidental to the execution of this office that may be required by the Executive Committee.
  1. DUTIES OF THE REGISTRAR. The Membership Officer, or Registrar, shall be the custodian of the membership records of the Chapter, and, as such, shall perform the following duties and responsibilities:
    1. Collect all dues and deliver said monies to the Treasurer of the Chapter.
    2. Report to the Treasurer the names of all members who have paid dues, including information on 1) class of membership (voting member, chapter friend, subscribing member), 2) information on membership history (renewal, new member, reinstatement, subscribing) and 3) dues category (student, regular, senior, partner, etc.)
    3. Gather the information for the Chapter Membership Directory, copies of such information to be sent to the Treasurer and the directory editor. Copies may also be sent to the Newsletter Editor.
    4. Provide membership forms upon request, including to prospective members. This shall include the national membership application, national reinstatement form, and Chapter membership renewal form.
    5. Sign and distribute membership cards if used by the Chapter.
    6. On a timely basis, send Chapter membership renewal forms and dues statements to all Chapter members.
    7. Serve as director of the Membership Committee (see SECTION VIII below)
  1. DUTIES OF THE CHAPTER HISTORIAN. The Chapter Historian shall keep a copy of all Chapter programs, any published article concerning the Chapter appearing in a newspaper of magazine, any Chapter publication, and any book, score, or concert program submitted by a member of the Chapter. The Chapter Historian shall keep the history of the AGO Chapter in such a place that it shall be accessible to all members.
  2. DUTIES OF THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR. The Editor of the Chapter newsletter shall be responsible for gathering and publishing all necessary items and information for the benefit of the members of the Chapter. Such items and information shall include but not be limited to announcements of the forthcoming general meetings of the Chapter, upcoming Chapter program events, calendar of future programs and events, list of vacancies for church and synagogue musicians, letter from the Dean, and any other item of interest to the Chapter as may be deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee. Publication dates and deadlines are to be established by the Chapter. The Editor may work with the Treasurer of the Chapter to solicit and account for paid advertising for the Newsletter, or the Dean may appoint a member or committee to handle that function.
  3. DUTIES OF THE AUDITOR. The Auditor shall examine the books of the Chapter that are maintained by the Treasurer. This examination shall take place following the close of the fiscal year of the Chapter, which must correspond with that of National (July 1 – June 30.) The Treasurer shall submit all reports and receipts by July 31 and the audit should be completed by September 30.
  4. DUTIES OF THE WEBMASTER. The Chapter Webmaster shall have the responsibility for maintaining the Chapter Web site with the most current information possible. The Web site shall include, but not be limited to, the following: a full listing of Chapter events for the current year, contact information for Chapter leaders as determined by the Executive Committee; a link to the National AGO Web site, and any other information useful to individuals interested in contacting the Chapter through the Internet. The Chapter Webmaster shall forward the Chapter’s Web address to National Headquarters to enable interested parties to reach the Chapter from a link on the National AGO Web site.
  5. THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. The Executive Committee is the representative governing body of the Chapter. The Executive Committee conducts the business of the Chapter when the full membership is not present. The Executive Committee shall consist of all elected officers of the Chapter and all duly elected members of the Executive Committee. All Directors of standing committees and all District, Regional, and National officers who are members of the Chapter may attend Chapter Executive Committee meetings with voice, but no vote. Although invited to attend Executive Committee meetings, the Auditor is not required to do so.
  6. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS. The Executive Committee shall meet preceding the regularly scheduled general meetings of the Chapter in the months of September, November, January, March, and May. Meetings may also be scheduled for other times as shall be deemed necessary by the Dean. The Dean shall provide no less than fourteen (14) days notice of any meeting of the Executive Committee. A quorum of 7 attendees shall be sufficient to execute Chapter business. Attendance by Executive Committee members is expected at all meetings. At the discretion of the Dean and/or Executive Committee, two consecutive unexcused absences or three consecutive excused absences may be regarded as sufficient reason for replacing an Executive Board Member. (1-11-82, 3-8-82, 11-13-89)
  7. ELECTION OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS. The duly elected members of the Executive Committee shall be divided into three (3) classes elected in consecutive years. Each class shall have three (3) members, who shall each serve a term of three years. Each elected member of the Executive Committee shall hold office only for the term for which he/she was elected and shall serve until his/her successor is elected and officially installed.
  8. VACANCIES ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. Any member of the Executive Committee may resign from his/her position with such resignation submitted in writing, effective immediately upon its acceptance by the Executive Committee. Vacancies on the Executive Committee which may result from but not be limited to resignation or death of a member, removal of a member for failure to fulfill his/her responsibility, or an increase of the number of members of the Executive Committee, maybe be filled by appointment of the Dean. A person appointed to fill such a vacancy shall meet all qualifications to hold office and shall serve for the unexpired term of his/her predecessor, and until the successor has been duly elected and officially installed.
  9. GENERAL MEETING OF THE CHAPTER. The general meeting of the Chapter shall be held normally at the Annual Banquet in May. A general meeting may take place at such other time as deemed necessary, with the approval of the Executive Committee. Those members present shall be considered sufficient to constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.

SECTION V. DUES OF THE CHAPTER. The AGO National Council determines annual dues for membership in the American Guild of Organists. The Chapter shall collect and report membership dues according to these policies as embodied in the instructions issued annual from National Headquarters.


  1. NOMINATING COMMITTEE. The Nominating Committee shall consist of at least three (3) persons of whom only one may be a member of the Executive Committee. The Dean may not be a member of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall nominate one (1) or more candidates for each office and an excess of candidates for membership-at-large on the Executive Committee for those whose terms of office are about to expire. The slate prepared by the Nominating Committee shall be approved by the Executive Committee, recorded in the minutes, published in the newsletter, and announced to the general membership according to the schedule required by the National Bylaws. Additional nominations may be made by petitions signed by at least five (5) members of the Chapter in good standing and submitted to the Secretary within thirty (30) days of the announcement of the Nominating Committee. The slate of candidates prepared by the Nominating Committee and the names of any candidate duly submitted by petition are not subject to discussion or approval by the Executive Committee and may not be vetoed by the Executive Committee or any member thereof, including the Dean.
  2. ELECTION AND INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS. The annual election of officers shall take place via U.S. mail or at the April general meeting of the Chapter. A majority of votes case in person or by proxy shall be sufficient for election. The officers who are elected shall be installed at the May general meeting, and the term of office shall begin in July.

Section VII PROGRAMMING POLICY. All programs sponsored by the Chapter must have the approval of the Executive Committee. The date and costs of such programs must also be approved by the Executive Committee. Any organization wishing to co-sponsor a program with the Chapter should submit such a proposal, with the understanding that confirmation of the event cannot be given until it is approved by the Executive Committee. The PROGRAM COMMITTEE, of which the Sub-Dean is Director, shall be responsible for all programming by the Chapter, including but not limited to concerts, lectures, and recitals. This committee shall be responsible for proposing a program calendar and budget for the season to the Executive Committee, and carrying out the appropriate logistics and making all arrangements to insure the smooth coordination of Chapter events. The committee shall also assist the Dean in any capacity deemed necessary.

SECTION VIII. STANDING COMMITTEES. Standing committees may be formed by the Executive Committee as necessary for the Chapter’s efficient operation. The Dean has the power to appoint all standing committee Directors. Each Director has the power to appoint the members of his/her committee. The Dean will serve as ex officio member of all committees. Standing committees may include:

  1. Professional Certification Committee
  2. Operating Procedures Committee
  3. Competition Committee
  4. Directory/Yearbook Committee
  5. Finance Committee
  6. Hospitality Committee
  7. Membership Committee
  8. Nominating Committee (see SECTION VI)
  9. Professional Concerns Committee
  10. Placement Committee
  11. Program Committee (see SECTION VII)
  12. Subscription Series Committee
  13. Information Technology Committee

(A complete description of each of these standing committees can be downloaded in PDF format from the National AGO Website.)

SECTION IX. AMENDMENTS TO OPERATING PROCEDURES. Following adoption by the Executive Committee and approval of the Chapter, Regional Councillor, and National Councillor for Organization Concerns, these Operating Procedures and any provision thereof may be amended at any time by action of the Executive Committee. A majority of votes cast shall be sufficient to amend any provision of or add to these Operating Procedures. Any amendment or addition thereto shall be included in this document and added in numerical sequence in the order of enactment, complete with the date of such enactment.


The Avis H. Blewett Award may be given annually to a person who meets the qualifications set forth under the guidelines given below. The Award process will include approval of the recipient at the March Executive Committee meeting and presentation of the award at the regular May meeting.


  1. The nominee should have made a significant contribution to the field of sacred music in the metropolitan St. Louis area. Nominees may include church/synagogue/temple musicians, teachers, composers, or others. (Sacred music is defined as music that falls within the charter of the American Guild of Organists.)(1-2012)
  2. The awardee will receive an inscribed plaque or framed certificate. Guild Members will receive one year National AGO and St. Louis Chapter membership. Non Guild members will receive a one year subscription to The American Organist Magazine, and a one year subscription to OPUS. The format of the award may vary, as appropriate. (1-2012). A record shall be kept of the awardees and the status of their awards.
  3. Nominations are to be submitted by March 1 to a member of the Avis H. Blewett Award Committee (appointed by the Dean.) This Committee will select and recommend the awardee(s), if any. (1-27-92)
  4. The Executive Committee will approve or reject the proposed awardee(s) at its March meeting (5-8-89).
  5. The award may be presented annually at the May meeting. Current and past Avis Blewett Award recipients will be invited to the Annual Banquet as guests of the Chapter and their individual dinners will be provided at Chapter expense. (1-2012)
  6. All awardees will be listed in the annual Directory (5-8-89)

SECTION XI. MAILING LABELS. The fees for mailing labels are $20 for outside organizations and $10 for members’ use. The use of the labels is restricted to musical organizations and churches only. A waiver of the fee may be made at the discretion of the Dean or Treasurer. (3-14-94)


The St. Louis Chapter will pay no charge to the church for rental but may give a donation. for kitchen or custodial help. The donation amount is subject to Executive Committee approval. (11-12-84.)

SECTION XIII. YOUNG ARTIST COMPETITION. The chapter may, at the discretion of the Executive Board, hold a biannual competition in accordance with the rules of the Regional Competitions for Young Organists (available from National Headquarters.) The First Place winner will receive an award of $400, and an additional $200 if invited to return to perform a recital at a later date. Any recital appearance will be at the discretion of the Program Committee. The Second Place winner will receive an award of $100. The judges who request reimbursement for mileage will be given the current rate for mileage cost as identified by the Internal Revenue Service. (11-9-92).

SECTION XIV. CHAPTER BUSINESS VIA E-MAIL. The Executive Board may conduct Chapter business via e-mail (including tabulation of votes) provided that 1) the results of any and all e-mail votes be formally ratified by a quorum of the Executive Committee at its next meeting, 2) any issues prompting appreciable dissent be tabled until the next meeting (at the Dean’s discretion) and 3) all e-mail correspondence pertinent to a particular vote be preserved and printed verbatim to be included with Chapter records. (5-2006)

SECTION XV. REIMBURSEMENT OF CONVENTION FEES. Only the Chapter Dean may ask for or receive reimbursement of AGO Convention fees, and this reimbursement is not to exceed the cost of Convention registration fees. (3-10-08)

WHEREFORE, we the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, do hereby adopt the above and foregoing OPERATING PROCEDURES to govern the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, the first day and date mentioned above.