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History of the New York City Chapter

The New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists was formed as a result of a petition approved by the National Council on October 9, 1950, to make the chapter independent of the former Headquarters Chapter. The officers of the new chapter, which had 745 members, assumed their duties on January 1, 1951. The first public meeting, a recital and service which included the installation of officers, took place on January 9 of that year at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) on East 31st Street in Manhattan.

The Chapter has been the host for several conventions: the 1956 National Convention (June 25-29, 1956); the 1958 Annual National Midwinter Conclave (December 29-31, 1958); and Centennial National Convention (July 7-11, 1996). Before the Chapter was organized, the 1935 National Convention (June 24-28, 1935) was held in New York City.

The Chapter's first newsletter, The AGO Times, began publication in 1959 as a listing of concert events. In 2003, the newsletter was renamed Double Open and made available in PDF format, allowing distribution via e-mail. In 2006, the newsletter was changed to its current format; the majority of the membership now receives the newsletter via e-mail. Archived issues are available on the Web site.

The International Performer of the Year Award was first granted in 1978 (to Robert Noehren) and has continued for most but not all years following; the award is considered by many to be the highest honor given to organists by a professional musicians' guild in the United States.

In March of 2000, the Chapter went "online" with its Website: www.nycago.org.

 

New York City Chapter Deans

1951–52
Carl Wiesemann *
1980–82
Frederick Grimes
1952–54
Harold Heeremans, FAGO, ChM *
1982–84
Walter Hilse
1954–56
Robert Baker *
1984–86
Louise Basbas
1956–59
Edward Linzel *
1986–87
Alec Wyton *
1959–60
Alec Wyton *
1987–89
Harold Stover
1960–62
Donald L. Coats *
1989–90
Skinner Chavez-Mélo *
1962–64
Charles N. Henderson *
1990–92
John C. Walker
1964–66
David F. Hewlett *
1992
Kent Tritle (interim)
1967–68
Frank Cedric Smith, ChM *
1992–94
Keith S. Toth
1968–70
Robert Arnold *
1994–98
Arthur P. Lawrence, AAGO, ChM
1970–71
Richard Westenburg *
1998–04
Stephen Hamilton
1971–73
Frederick Swann
2004–06
Christopher Creaghan
1973–74
John Weaver
2006–10
Frank Crosio, FAGO
1974–75
Robert MacDonald
2010–14
Keith S. Tóth
1975–77
Larry King *
2014–
David Enlow, FAGO
1977–80
Will Carter    
     
* deceased