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||David Enlow, Dean
From the Dean
We have just concluded an election cycle.
Thank you, most sincerely, to those who participated
in the nomination process, those who stood
for election, and those who have agreed to
serve. There is much work to be done for
the Guild, and all of us who volunteer hope
that our work together advances the cause
of great organ music in our region. What
a great cause!
In program news, what a treat it was to
have a chapter dinner with David Hurd at
St. Thomas's this past month. It is fitting
to end our season celebrating with one of
our distinguished members.
Your program committee is hard at work preparing
a season of events and programs for next
year that will build on our history of workshops,
classes, and performances for you, the chapter
Speaking of chapter members, did you know
that the NYC AGO membership has grown by
15% since 2012? We’re often told in
so many areas of musical life that the sky
is falling; that growth is at least one thing
to be grateful for.
With my best wishes for an enjoyable, pleasant,
and safe summer,
From the Sub-Dean
Your Program Committee is hard at work curating a thrilling
season of events for the 2016-17 season. Those details need
to be discussed, voted on and approved by the Chapter Board,
and then the contracts can be prepared, signed, and the full
details released to you, our members. It's a long and complicated
process, but we've been busy throughout the year working on
various parts of that process, and the year looks to be a particularly
In addition to the regular program year, we have another International
Performer of the Year Award due to take place in 2017.
As many of you know, the Chapter's grandest celebration of
all things relating to NYC and the organ takes place on Presidents'
Day. Please mark Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th February 2017
in your calendars and look forward to a fantastic weekend!
With my best wishes, on behalf of the Program Committee, for
a restful and productive summer!
of the Month
"I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls
are giving way."
||The Willis Organ at Blenheim Palace
(click on photo for specification)
A few weeks ago, Wendy and I were
guests at the retirement dinner of a University official. He
had a fruitful tenure, had done a great job, and people were
pleased with the named successor. It was a festive evening.
His wife was the hostess, and she had booked a swanky trendy
Brooklyn steakhouse for about a hundred guests. It was a beautiful
spring evening, and cocktails and hors d'oeurves were served
outside. And they served a fabulous meal with six entrees (Beef
Wellington, Baked Trout, Squid Ink Pasta, etc.) served "family
style" at nicely set tables. Perfect.
A six-piece jazz ensemble started to play as the food was
served and that was the end of conversation. There were speakers
everywhere and the volume was set at an ear-splitting level.
And the band played on... And the band played on... What were
they thinking? Were they afraid that someone would start rumors
about the guest of honor? Were they keeping us from talking
politics? It was awful. The hostess must have put out $30,000
to create the perfect event, and then ruined it with $7500
worth of music.
The Beatles were musical revolutionaries, thrilling and inspiring
millions of fans with their imaginative, thoughtful, world-altering
new forms. How long was it after the end of their ride that
we started hearing their music in elevators and supermarkets?
Most organists play some sort of voluntary before and after
a service of worship, and I've heard many complain about the
chatter from the pews as they do. Are we providing background
music, using deep expressions of the musical art to fill in
the spaces between conversations? Or are we cranking up the
volume, insisting that people sit still and listen?
Somewhere in all this is the magical medium. Organ voluntaries
should establish the tone, set the mood, prime the pumps for
the spoken worship to follow. A prayerful mood can be boisterous
and joyful, or quiet and contemplative, and the sensitive organist
knows what a given day or celebration is calling for.
The last thing an organ voluntary should be is an ego trip
for the organist. The organ is the ultimate paintbrush for
creating the spiritual venue for worship. Dip your brush in
the colors and paint something beautiful. The people will love
of the Month
"When I was a little boy, I told my dad, 'When I grow up,
I want to be a musician.' My dad said, 'You can't do both, son.'"
You Be My Neighbor?
||Click on the photo to follow link
to Cathedral of St. Sava where you can read about the history
and mission of the church, and contribute to the reconstruction
Sunday, May 1 was Orthodox Easter,
and 700 congregants celebrated Easter Worship followed by a
Holiday Lunch at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava
on West 25th Street near Broadway. A fire alarm was sounded
and firefighters entered the building around 7pm to find the
church interior fully ablaze. Many of us saw the comprehensive
news coverage of catastrophic fire and its aftermath. The stone
walls still stand, but the loss was complete.
The magnificent building was designed by Richard Upjohn in
1851, and served as the uptown branch of Trinity Church, Wall
Street. The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of America and Canada
purchased the building and its furnishings from Trinity Church
in 1942 for $30,000 and consecrated it as their Cathedral.
Following World War II, the Cathedral became the spiritual
home of huge numbers of refugees and immigrants from Yugoslavia,
and it has continued to serve as both worship and cultural
Following the fire, the congregation is worshiping at General
Theological Seminary on West 21st Street.
NYC AGO Organ Project shows the history of organs
in the building. The first was "voiced forcibly" by
Hall & Labagh,
and the second was a three-manual Odell tracker that included
a 32' Bourdon! That must have been a humdinger. The last organ
was also by Odell, built in 1922 with three manuals and 44
ranks. It had not been used for many years, and was listed
for sale in 2003. It was removed to storage, and is currently
It's unclear whether the building can be reconstructed using
the original walls, but it's certain that a great heritage
was lost that day.
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