Vol .  62,  No . 1
September 2011

In This Issue
From the Dean
September Event
Call for Members' Recital Performers
Membership Renewals
Obituary: George Hall
Members from the Past
Can you Identify this Member from the Past?
Thinking of Taking the AAGO or FAGO Exam? Have a Look . . .
  Keith S. Tóth - Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists
  Keith S. Tóth, Dean

From the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

As I write this Dean’s letter, it is the day after Hurricane Irene passed through New York City leaving us fairly unscathed. It was a particularly hot and humid summer and one that also brought an earthquake! I hope that you have survived it all without harm or too much inconvenience and that the majority of your summer was enjoyable. The summer also brought changes to several benches in the city; distinguished colleagues have retired or moved away to new posts while other colleagues have changed positions within the city. The upcoming season promises to provide great excitement with programs old and new incorporating these many personnel changes.

In the July/August newsletter, Sub-Dean David Enlow provided us with an outline of the sensational program year that he and his committee have planned for the chapter. Kudos to David and his committee for this planning. The opening event of our chapter’s season will be a cocktail party and illustrated lecture on the NYC Organ Project by our own Steve Lawson on Monday, September 19, in the elegant surroundings of the library of the House of the Redeemer (formerly the Fabbri Mansion), at 7 East 95th Street. Cocktails will be at 6:00 with the lecture at 7:00. The NYC Organ project was created by Steve Lawson. It is a highlight of our chapter’s website along with being one of the foremost inventories of urban pipe organs in the world. The chapter is greatly indebted to Steve for his ongoing work on this project. I invite all to visit the website frequently to view the regular updates that Steve provides. Steve is also happy to receive information on organs currently listed or materials on organs for inclusion in this project. Please do contact Steve if you have such information.

A committee of the Board and chaired by the Dean has been at work over the summer reviewing the chapter’s operating procedures. This committee will present their findings to the Board at its September meeting. In the next couple of months you will be hearing more about these procedures and the process to approve them.

In closing, please accept my very best wishes to you as we all begin another season of hard work and great music. I look forward to seeing you at our opening cocktail and lecture on September 19.

Respectfully yours,

Keith S. Tóth

September Event

Library - House of the Redeemer - New York City (photo: John Rust)

Monday, 19 September 2011 at 6.00 pm
The NYC Organ Project

House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street
Cocktails (6.00 pm) and Illustrated Talk (7.00 pm) 

Explore some of the more fascinating local organs and their homes
with Steven Lawson, the author and guiding light of the NYC Organ Project.

John Conner, M.Mus, ChM, CAGO

Call for Members' Recital Performers

We are still looking for performers for the chapter's members' recital on Monday, October 24, at 7:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church (Austin-Glück organ). This recital will consist of music by Guilmant and Liszt as this is an anniversary year for both composers. A work of any length by Liszt or Guilmant for organ will be fine. Transcriptions are also fine.

If you are interested or have further questions, please contact David Enlow.

David Lloyd ben Yaacov Klepper   Arthur Lawrence, D.M.A., A.A.G.O.   Yvonne Sonnenwald-Melin

Membership Renewals

All individuals or organizations interested in the organ and choral music fields are invited to join the American Guild of Organists. The Membership Year is from July 1 through June 30. There are two easy ways to join or renew:

1. Pay By Mail. For those who prefer or need to pay by check or money order, simply click here to download the NYC AGO Membership Form. Print and complete the form, then mail it with your payment to the Registrar.

2. Pay Online. The NYC Chapter has implemented a new online system that accepts payment by credit & debit cards. Simply click on the appropriate "Pay online" link in the table below.

Please note that we use PayPal for online dues payments. PayPal is a secure and trusted site for online banking and commerce; all credit card information is completely confidential and unknown to us. Please be also aware that there is an added fee for all online payments.

Update Your Member Profile Online. The NYC Chapter maintains its membership database in Groupspaces.com. Chapter members will receive an email message inviting them to update their personal directory information online. Alternatively, chapter members may create a Groupspaces account at https://secure.groupspaces.com/auth/login to update their profile at any time. Once a member's Groupspaces account is created, they will automatically be recognized as a member of www.groupspaces.com/nycago. Please note that one does not need to create an account at groupspaces.com to be a member in good standing of the NYC Chapter; it is completely optional.

For further questions or assistance please contact the Registrar.

J. David Williams   David Enlow, F.A.G.O.   Find us on Facebook
  George M. Hall, Jr.
  George M. Hall, Jr.

Obituary: George Hall

George M. Hall, Jr.
 AAGO, MSM, died at his home in Greenwich Village on July 15, 2011 at the age of 86. George studied organ with Howard Kelsey, Russell Hancock Miles, Carl Weinrich, Sir William McKie, and Paul Pettinga. He also studied choral conducting with Sir William McKie at Westminster Abbey and at the Royal School of Church Music. He served as organist and choirmaster at Church of the Holy Apostles, Holy Name Church, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Staten Island, among others.

While at Holy Apostles his choir of boys and men performed concerts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as with the New York City Opera. A former Tuskegee pilot, George taught organ and choral conducting at Manhattan School of Music and Wagner College.

As a member of the AGO George served as Dean of the Staten Island Chapter and Registrar and Executive Board member of the New York City Chapter. He was chairman of the Young Artists Competition in Organ Playing in 1986 and 1988. He was a member of the St. Wilfrid Club, of which he was chair from 1992-93.

A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Holy Apostles, NYC on October 1 at 11:00 AM.

Philip James (1890-1975)
  Philip James, at work on the score of "Fanfare and Ceremonial" for band. Photographed by B. Perry, Aug 16, 1955, Francestown, New Hampshire. From "A Catalog of the Music Works of Philip James" comp. Helga James, 1981.
Members from the Past

Congratulations to Richard Alexander, Arthur Lawrence, and Rollin Smith who each correctly identified Philip James (1890-1975) in the last issue.

James was born in Jersey City, NJ, and was educated in New York public schools and at the College of the City of New York. His teachers include J. Warren Andrews, Alexandre Guilmant and Joseph Bonnet in organ and Rubin Goldmark and Rosario Scalero in composition. He was the organist for several churches in New York and New Jersey (St. John's Jersey City, St, Luke's Montclair, St. Mark's in the Bowerie) but is primarily remembered as a composer, conductor, and teacher at Columbia University and New York University, where he was head of the music department. He appeared as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony in Washington, and the NBC and CBS orchestras. He was the music director of radio station WOR, and was the regular conductor of the New Jersey Orchestra, Brooklyn Orchestral Society, and was the music director of theatrical productions by Winthrop Ames and Victor Herbert.

In 1932 he won the $5,000 First Prize of the National Broadcasting Orchestral Awards for Station WGZBX, an orchestral suite, which was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski. The following year he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He was also a member of the Century Association and the MacDowell Colony.

His anthem By the waters of Babylon, a dramatic setting of Psalm 137 was at one time de rigeur in the repertoire of most church choirs and it was recorded and performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

On May 17, 1970, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin marked the occasion of his 80th birthday with a recital of his works played by Rollin Smith and the choir sang his Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Come Holy Spirit, and O Saving Victim at Evensong and Benediction directed by James Palsgrove with McNeil Robinson as organist.

Can You Identify this Member from the Past?

. . . email the Newsletter Editor.


Thinking of Taking the AAGO or FAGO exam? Have a Look . . .

The repertoire requirements for both exams has been redesigned by the National Committee on Certification. The aim of the new requirements is to make the choice of repertoire easier and more flexible, while mantaining the standards of the Guild's certificates.

If you've been thinking of taking one of the advanced exams, but didn't want to learn all new repertoire, have a look at the new repertoire lists on the Guild's website: http://www.agohq.org/education/index.html (click on Professional Certification Committee and scroll down.)

The next chapter newsletter is the October 2011 issue. The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2011. 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 Christopher Jennings, Registrar.