V o l .  6 0 ,  N o . 7
C h a p t e r   N e w s l e t t e r
A p r i l   2 0 1 0 

From the Dean

With Easter/Passover behind us, I hope your schedule affords you some time to relax and recharge your musical batteries.

There are no chapter events scheduled for April, but it is time for us to consider the important business of chapter and national elections. Later this month, we will receive your ballot for the New York City chapter elections. In addition to the slate that was published in the March newsletter, there are several additional candidates who have been nominated by petition.

So, for the first time in many years the ballot will offer the membership real choices for future chapter leadership. Therefore, it is of vital importance that everyone participate in the voting process.

As the departing dean, I am gratified to see that so many people care so deeply about the New York City Chapter and its future.

On the national scene, please be aware that two New York City chapter members who are well-known to all, Dr. Stephen Hamilton and Keith Toth, are running for national offices.

Looking ahead, we have chapter events in May and June. A master class with Janette Fishell in May, and a dinner honoring Gerre Hancock in June.

We have received 28 applications for our POEA this summer which would fill us to capacity. Many thanks to sub-dean, Paul Murray, and the POEA committee for their extraordinary work on this project. There is only one POEA held nationally each year, so this promises to be a landmark event for our chapter.

With all good wishes,


Frank L Crosio, FAGO,



Next Chapter Event

Dr. Janette Fishell
Master Class on Bach with Janette Fishell
4 May 2010

Church of the Transfiguration
"The Little Church Around the Corner"
1 East 29th Street

Free to NYC Chapter members
$20 ($15 students & seniors)

Host: Dr. Claudia Dumschat
Dr. Janette Fishell is Professor of Organ at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, where she teaches applied organ and courses in the church music curriculum. From 1989 to 2008 she headed the Organ Performance and Sacred Music degree programs at East Carolina University and was Director of Music/Principal Organist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Greenville, NC. Her numerous compact disc recordings include performances of the music of Marcel Dupré, Petr Eben and J.S. Bach as well as duet literature performed with her husband, British organist Colin Andrews. Dr. Fishell is widely recognized as a leading authority on the organ music of Czech composer Petr Eben.

Performers are needed for Dr. Fishell's Master Class. Those interested in participating are asked to please contact Paul Murray by 15 April.

C. B. Fisk, Inc.
Gloucester, Mass. – Opus 92 (1988)
Mechanical key and stop action
3 manuals, 31 stops, 48 ranks. Click here for organ details.


From the Editor: Internet Resources

In the February issue I invited members to send in Internet sites they have found useful. I have listed them below together with brief descriptions. Feel free to send me your comments and other sites as they occur to you, and I'll make this a regular newsletter resource.

http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/ A composers showcase of new music. All genres represented, but you can search for classical and worship categories. Some free, but most are for purchase.

http://www2.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page An exhaustive list of choral music in the public domain in pdf format. Free. Like Wikipedia, material is submitted by users and occasional errors in notation appear, but this material is a lifesaver if you're stretching your budget these days.

http://mysite.verizon.net/gregg.patruno/concerts.html Our colleague Gregg Patruno has put together a cross reference listing of links to everything pertaining to organ and choral programs within a hundred miles of New York. A very interesting one stop site for your field trip needs, including lots of public transportation information.

http://www.imslp.org/ The Petrucci Music Library of keyboard music in the public domain in pdf format. Free.

http://theatreorgans.com/ Interesting materials and links from our "kissing cousins" in the theatre organ world. Lots of stuff you won't find in your typical browsing, unless you're already a theatre organ aficionado.

http://www.wikipedia.org/ The on line encyclopedia, in several languages, including up to the minute entries. Perfect for when you need that date or fact for your program notes or orders of service with a click of the mouse.

http://www.io.com/~kellywp/ The Episcopal Church lectionary, which is common with several denominations.

http://www.blockmrecords.org/ Quoting their website: Block M Records is a University of Michigan organization that promotes the vitality, diversity, and artistic excellence of the University of Michigan through recording, production, and dissemination of musical compositions and performances by our faculty, staff, and students. James Kibbie is represented extensively with works of Buxtehude, and the complete works or Bach. Some materials are free.

. . . and a practical internet/email suggestion from Chris Creaghan, our former dean:

It could be a good time to offer advice to anyone who sends out mass emails to use the "bcc" option rather than "to". That way privacy is respected, but more important, it's a security measure to thwart scammers from harvesting large groups of email addresses. I've received a number of homemade announcements lately with a long list of other recipients visible and it is a very bad idea to do so. Email companies like PatronMail don't do that.

POEA July 18–23

The New York City Chapter is sponsoring a Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced for teens this summer. The POEA is an auditioned, week-long summer organ institute for students in ages 13-18, who are currently studying organ at a level where a rigorous and comprehensive program is more appropriate. The POEA will begin on Sunday, 18 July and conclude on Friday, 23 July. Students will be housed at the Saint Thomas Choir School and will travel throughout Manhattan for lessons, classes, and recitals. We have received an overwhelming number of applications and members of the POEA Committee are currently adjudicating the recordings submitted by the students.

How can you help right now?
Would you be willing to make a financial contribution to support the POEA? While the students pay tuition to attend the POEA and the chapter receives a grant from AGO National, these only cover a portion of the week's expenses. Your gift, large or small, would be greatly appreciated. Please consider a gift of as little as $25 to support this special endeavor of the chapter.
Contributions to support the POEA are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Chapter Election 2010

The following persons have been nominated for Chapter offices. A separate email ballot will be sent in mid-April. Those who normally receive a hard copy of the newsletter will receive a hard copy ballot.


Neal Campbell
has since 2006 been the Director of Music and Organist of St. Luke’s Parish in Darien, Connecticut, where he leads a multi choir program for children and adults. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Manhattan School of Music, was formerly Organist and Choirmaster of St. Stephen’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, and was on the faculty of the University of Richmond. He has served the AGO in leadership positions in the Philadelphia, Richmond, and New York City Chapters, and was Region III Councillor on the AGO National Council from 2000-2006. He is eager to explore ways in which the NYC Chapter can cooperate with its neighboring chapters and expand its roster of dual members both in our immediate region and throughout the country.

Keith S. Toth, an organist, harpsichordist, conductor, and pipe organ consultant, is the Minister of Music and Organist at The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, a position that he has held since 1993. From 1984-1993, Keith was on the organ, harpsichord, and choral faculty of Western Connecticut State University and was Minister of Music and Organist at The First Congregational Church of Danbury, Connecticut. Keith was Dean of the New York City Chapter AGO from 1992-1994 and has served as a member of its Board in addition to being a member of numerous local, regional, and national AGO committees, a POE instructor, and also a frequent collaborator in chapter programs with the NYC Chapter. If elected Dean of the NYC Chapter, he would promote a strong and actively engaged Board that would strive to represent and advance with the highest possible artistic and professional integrity the various interests of the NYC Chapter membership.


David Enlow
is Organist and Choirmaster of the Church of the Resurrection on East 74th Street, a member of the organ faculty at the Juilliard School, and founding music director of the choral society Cappella New York. He received two degrees from Juilliard, following study there and at the Curtis Institute, and is a Fellow of the Guild, having won the FAGO prize and S. Lewis Elmer award. For the National AGO, David serves on the national committee on certification and for the NYC AGO as auditor and exam coordinator.

Daniel Kirk-Foster has since 1994 served as the Director of Music and Organist at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church (known as the Cathedral of the Bronx), and he performs as an organist and pianist in venues which have included Carnegie's Weill Hall (Artist International winner), CAMI Hall, Steinway Hall and Princeton University Chapel; he also performs frequently as a professional tenor with New York City choral groups such as the New York Virtuoso Singers, Musica Sacra and St. Ignatius of Loyola's Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series. Daniel holds degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Manhattan School of Music and has served as organist, professional tenor soloist and choirmaster in several other parishes such as Notre Dame, St. Paul's Chapel (Columbia University Catholic Mass) and Fordham University Chapel. He was the Executive Assistant of the NYC AGO 1996 Centennial Convention Steering Committee, and served on the NYC AGO Board’s Program Committee from 1996-1998. If elected Sub-Dean, he would work closely with the Board and the Dean to promote and advance the goals and programs of the New York City Chapter.



James Gregory, organist and professional singer, is the Director of Music at Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church and performs regularly with various New York ensembles including the New York City Opera, Musica Sacra, The New York Virtuoso Singers, the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Series at St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society for Universal Sacred Music, and the Bard Festival Chorus. A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts (organ & piano) and Indiana University (organ & music theory), he received a Fulbright Grant for organ study with Herbert Tachezi at the Vienna Musikhochschule and during his eight years in Vienna he performed extensively with the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, the Vienna State Opera, and collaborated frequently with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus. James is an active member of both the St. Wilfrid Club, having served as Secretary of that organization, and, since 2003, a member of the NYC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. If elected Secretary of the NYC Chapter AGO, James looks forward to executing the duties of Secretary as effectively and professionally as possible along with advancing the common goals and vision of the Chapter.

Mary Huff is Director of Children’s Choir and High School Choir at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and Associate Director of Music at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. She holds degrees from Furman University and Yale University. Mary served as secretary and an at-large board member of the NYC AGO and has planned and presented programs for the NYC AGO and Chambersburg AGO in Pennsylvania. In addition to filling her prescribed duties as secretary, Mary looks forward to easing the recent transition of the office of Registrar into two positions and revising the Operating Procedures.



F. Anthony Thurman has served as NYC AGO Chapter treasurer since 1996. Under his leadership, the chapter’s Centennial Millenium Fund was established with proceeds from the AGO Centennial National Convention; all chapter finances have been kept in good order through 14 chapter program years, two POEs, and a Regional Convention. Dr. Thurman holds degrees in organ from the University of Louisville and the Manhattan School of Music. He is Music Director at the Irvington Presbyterian Church, Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Director of Development and Communications at AGO National Headquarters.



Daniel Brondel is the Associate Director of Music at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where he plays Masses each week live for SIRIUS XM Radio, serves as the Associate Director of the Cathedral Choir, and manages the organ recitals series and the choral concerts series. In 2005, he founded the Cathedral of St. Patrick Young Singers. He holds a Masters Degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he was an organ student of David Higgs, and an improvisation student of Gerre Hancock and Rick Erickson. He used to be the Director of Music & Organist at nearby historic St. Malachy’s Church (The Actors’ Chapel). Having served two terms on the Board of Directors of Schola Cantorum on Hudson, he has first-hand understanding of the best practices of vibrant non-profit organizations, and with this experience he hopes to help the AGO increase its visibility and achieve higher impact in the community.

Steven E. Lawson is the Assisting Organist at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, a position he has held since 1997. Prior to this appointment, he was for ten years the Director of Music at St. Luke Lutheran Church in the Theatre District. Mr. Lawson is active in the New York City chapter, having served variously as Registrar (six years), Webmaster (chapter, 2007 Region II Convention and two POEs), and editor of the Concert Calendar. When not freelancing as a keyboardist or website designer, Mr. Lawson compiles information for "The New York City Organ Project," an attempt to document all of the organs ever installed in the five boroughs of the city.


Renee Anne Louprette is Associate Director of Music at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and Visiting Specialist in Organ at the John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University. She holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford and from the Centre d'Etudes de Musique et de Danse de Toulouse. She has served as Sub-Dean and Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter AGO and is currently serving as Auditor of the New York City Chapter AGO.



Christopher Jennings is Associate Organist-Choirmaster at St. James' Church Madison Avenue. He was previously Organist and Choirmaster at St. James' Church, West Hartford, Connecticut. He is a past Dean and Sub-Dean of the Bloomington, Indiana AGO and past Sub-Dean of the Greater Hartford AGO. Christopher lives in Morristown, NJ with his spouse, Brian Harlow.

Board Members at Large, Class of 2014:

1. Ted W. Barr is Music Director at Trinity Presbyterian Church (USA) in Cherry Hill, NJ, and Artistic Director of the Trinity Community Concert Series. He holds degrees in organ and voice from Western Kentucky University and Westminster Choir College, and has performed throughout the greater New York area, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, and in Germany. Mr. Barr served as services coordinator for the NYC AGO POE in 2006, worked for two years at AGO National Headquarters, and currently serves on the board of the Southwest Jersey Chapter. As a NYC AGO board member, he would bring his skills of concert planning, program administration, and fundraising.

2. Louise Basbas is the founder and executive director of Music Before 1800 established in 1975 and the Director of Music and Organist at Corpus Christi Church whose professional choir specializes in performance of chant, Renaissance, and baroque polyphony and commissioned new works. She was a board member and Dean (1984-86) of the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and a member of the Steering Committee for the Guild’s Centennial Convention in 1996. Ms. Basbas is an active advocate for vocal, organ and chamber music and, in particular, for early music. She is a member of the boards of Chamber Music America, Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS-NY), the Musicians Foundation and the Friends of Liturgical Music (Corpus Christi Church) and has frequently served as a peer panelist for funding agencies, including NEA, NYSCA and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

3. Bernadette Hoke is the Music Director and Organist of the First Reformed Episcopal Church where she directs a professional quartet. Ms. Hoke is a Collegue of the American Guild of Organists and was on the steering committee for the 2007 Regional Convention as the chairperson of hospitality. She is a former faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division and currently teaches piano and coaches chamber music at Convent of the Sacred Heart, and is the pianist and organist for the Dalton and Collegiate Schools' alumni choruses.

4. James Kennerley is Organist and Music Director at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square. He previously held positions at Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK. James is interested in expanding the AGO’s commitment to outreach, with particular emphasis on drawing younger listeners and players into the community.


5. Deanna Muro is Director of Music and Organist at St. Joseph's Church, Kings Park, New York, where she directs the Chamber, Teen and Children’s Choirs, and two handbell choirs in a parish of more than 5000 families. She is also a staff organist at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY. Ms. Muro has served two terms as Dean of the Suffolk Chapter of the AGO and has also co-chaired the annual Suffolk AGO Children’s Choir Festival for 18 years. She was a member of the Steering Committee for the 1997 Region II convention hosted by the Suffolk Chapter and has held the offices of Sub-Dean, Education Coordinator, and Grant Writing Chair. She received the Service Playing and Colleague certificates and has presented workshops and recitals at AGO events. Ms. Muro received a Bachelor's Degree in Music in organ and piano from Dickinson State University and a Master of Music Degree in organ performance from Kansas State University. Her organ studies have been with Elwood Brown, Mary Ellen Sutton and Walter Hilse.


6. Matthew Lewis is Organist and Director of Music at Church of the Incarnation in New York City, Organist-Choirmaster at Temple Israel in Lawrence, New York, and is Artistic Director and Conductor of St. George’s Choral Society. He is on the organ faculty of the Juilliard School Pre-College division since 1993, and is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Organ at Westminster Choir College. Matthew Lewis earned the doctor of musical arts degree at Juilliard; his teachers include Samuel Hsu, Jon Gillock, Robert Page, and Marie-Madeleine Duruflé. A NYC church musician for years, he understands the challenges faced by the professional organist, and how the AGO can help support, validate and stimulate this occupation.


7. Bruce Neswick is the Director of Music at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and Yale University, and he holds the Fellowship degrees from both the AGO and the Royal School of Church Music. Bruce’s activity within the AGO has included serving as a chapter dean (twice), as a regional councilor for education, as a co-chair of a regional convention, as a member of both the National Nominating Committee and the National Organ Improvisation Competition Committee. He has won three first prizes in organ improvisation, including at the Boston AGO national convention in Boston in 1990, and he performs under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.


8. Lee Ryder is an art director and designer who works extensively in the performing arts field. She began studying music at the age of five beginning with the piano, graduating to the organ, and then moving on to choral and vocal studies. She worked at Aeolian-Skinner for two years during college and also helped to install the organ in her church in Newton MA. When she's not busy running her own business, she runs Amuse, a small women's ensemble that she founded eight years ago. She joined the New York Chapter of the AGO about two years ago because she has never lost her love for the organ.

June Banquet Honoring Gerre Hancock
NYC AGO International Performer of the Year

The Chapter's final event of the season will take place on Monday, 7 June and will include an organ and architecture tour of Lower Manhattan, followed by a Dinner Banquet at Saint Paul's Chapel, Broadway and Fulton Street.

The dinner, co-sponsored by Trinity Wall Street, will include a performance by the Trinity Choir, directed by Steven Fox, accompanied by Robert Ridgell, and the presentation of the 2010 International Performer of the Year Award to Dr. Gerre Hancock, FAGO. The Schlicker organ at Saint Paul's was recently resurrected after being silenced on 11 September 2001.

The Dinner Banquet begins at 6:00 p.m. with Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres, followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. The cost of dinner is $75 for NYC AGO Members and $125 for others. Reservations must be made no later than Monday, 31 May and sent to:

Paul J. Murray
Church of the Holy Family
315 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017-2313
Please make checks payable to: NYC AGO

We hope that many chapter members and friends will plan to join us this evening for fellowship, music, and to honor our beloved friend and colleague.

  Roberta Bitgood, F.A.G.O., S.M.D. (The Diapason, June 1932)
Roberta Bitgood, F.A.G.O., S.M.D.

Members from the Past

Philip Baker, Donald McDonald, and David Higgs each correctly identified Roberta Bitgood (1908–2007) in last month's issue.

The photograph appeared in the June 1932 issue of The Diapason announcing her new position at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Miss Bitgood graduated from Connecticut College where she studied with J. Lawrence Erb before coming to New York to study at the Guilmant Organ School as a student of William C. Carl. She earned the A.A.G.O. and F.A.G.O. certificates while a student at the Guilmant School. Later, she earned the S.M.M. and S.M.D. degrees at Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music. While in New York she assisted Dr. Carl at First Presbyterian Church in New York directing the junior choir and the mixed glee club and playing for the Sunday School and weekday noon hour services. Later she was the director of music at First Moravian Church in New York where she was introduced to the musical heritage of that denomination and ultimately wrote her UTS thesis on Moravian Music.

After leaving the metropolitan area Dr. Bitgood held positions in Buffalo, New York, Riverside, California, and Bay City, Michigan, and traveled extensively on behalf of the Guild in various positions she held. In 1975 Roberta Bitgood made AGO history as the first woman and the first write in candidate to be elected president. She was a prolific composer and her anthems and solos are still well represented in the repertorie of churches around the coutnry.

In her "retirement" Roberta moved home to Connecticut and served as dean of the New London County AGO Chapter and as organist and choir director of the Waterford United Presbyterian Church.

Jerome Butera, Editor of The Diapason, graciously permits use of photos with the sole request that readers be reminded that if you would like to subscribe or receive a complimentary copy of The Diapason, write or call him at jbutera@sgcmail.com 847-391-1045.

Can You Identify This Member From the Past . . .

. . . now deceased?

Obituary: John A. Davis, Jr.

Although not a member of the NYC Chapter, many of us knew Jack Davis, the retired organist of the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and we are saddened to learn that he died on Thursday, March 18. His funeral took place on Wednesday, March 24 at The Reformed Church in Poughkeepsie where he was organist after his West Point tenure. A full obituary may be found here. Requiescat in pace.

The next chapter newsletter is the May 2010 issue. The deadline for submissions is April 15th. Material may be submitted to Neal Campbell, editor. Nine issues are published through the year on a monthly basis with combined issues for December/January, May/June, and July/August. To make changes in your email address or to subscribe to the e-newsletter, please contact Paul Sanner.